Christmas Fitness with Studio Three

You may feel like your current them song is: “It’s getting cold out there, so put on winter clothes.”  Brr it feels to early for Chicago to be so chill!  You may wanna hibernate through March but thawing out with exercise can bust winter blues and strengthen your immune system.  Annnd you don’t need to wait for all the Jan 1st resolution peeps to clog up the gym.

Throughout the next few weeks, we are going to share some of our favorite workouts from 2016 to get your 2017 to start strong.

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Do you suffer from repetative routine syndrome?

Studio Three can cure your boredom with some spicy variety.  Studio Three‘s tri-level fitness mixes up your workout mojo with a cutting-edge Peloton® indoor cycling, interval training and yoga studio.  You can double it, ensuring you get that stretch after a tense strength sesh.

So what is Studio Three really like?  

Well, first you can check out our initial visit here.  This go ’round, we branched out of our yoga pose zone and tried Studio Three’s Athletic Yoga with instructor, Sui Wen.  This 60 minute hot yoga class kept it’s promise of being athletic.  It felt like a mix of ballet inspired graceful moves blended with serious body weight sets intersperced with balance challenges.  Seriously, we have not tried anything like it before.  We wouldn’t recommend this class for students just starting yoga but…if you’ve been around the mat a couple of times, this class will summon your inner and outer strength.

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What else is offered?

After your class, you can refuel with Studio Three’s full service cafe with smoothies, juices, cold brew coffee to cool the sweat.  The cafe offers free wifi too so you can catch up on on the newest fit articles while you soak up all your hard work.

Looking to commit to a healthier lifestyle too?

Studio Three is kicking off a brand new nutrition 101 program.  From Jan 15-April 30, you’ll get an initial assessment, bi-monthly meetings with Precision Nutrition Coach, Dustin Hogue, live cooking demos, custom food lists and recipes.  This is something we’d love as most “programs” command what you can and can’t eat without considering diverse eating styles like veggie eaters or gluten free lifestyles.  Call the studio for more info and pricing!

Pick up your first class for only $13 bucks and work that snow bunny body with some sweet yoga, cycling or interval heat.  Have you tried Studio Three?  Tell us what you think in the comments!

 

*We were offered one free class at Studio Three in exchange for an honest review.*

 

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Your New Post Workout Snack: LUNA Protein Berry Greek Yogurt Bars

Rise and Shine, beautiful friends!  Working out in the morning can give you energy all day.  And who wouldn’t get out of bed for a new kick a#@ workout, free samples of the new LUNA bar flavor, a beautiful Chicago skyline view at the ROOF at the Wit and more.

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LUNA delivered just that with the launch of their new Berry Greek Yogurt Protein Bar and threw a fitty party that would make you break up with your covers.  LUNA’s new protein bar is a refreshing new flavor for those of you who doth not love chocolate (we know, some people are weird like that!) or people who want a breakfasty bite after an early workout.

Protein Bar Stats:

LUNA Protein is gluten free  and high in protein.  LUNA brand is one of our favorites because of their girl power focus and their promotion of positive initiatives for women here and abroad.

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LUNA Berry Greek Yogurt Bar is:

  • 170 calories
  • Protein filled with 12g soy/whey protein
  • 3 grams of fiber
  • Low sugar
  • Iron and Vitamin D filled (definitely a must to incorporate as we get older to prevent athletic injuries…more self care!)
  • Helps you more easily fit protein into your diet (especially for you veg heads like Monica or weird people who don’t like to cook meat like Kate)
  • Free of trans fat, partially-hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors or synthetic preservatives and non GMO

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And taste?  Kate isn’t a huge fan of protein bars in general and Monica is not crazy about sugar laden bars.  But the light yogurty coating and fruity filled flavor is a great combination.  It hit the spot after the crazy sweaty morning workout with Betina Gozo and Jeana Anderson.

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Nike Fitness Stats:

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Nike Master Trainer Betina Gozo. Photo Credit: Amy Boyle Photography

Chicago based rock star NIKE master trainer, Betina Gozo, and the motivating  Jeana Anderson Cohen from #asweatlife cheered us through a partner based HIIT workout.  Jeana Anderson Cohen’s concept, #SweatWorking, aims to get people in Chicago working out while networking and getting to know each other.  Betina ensured that we did by pushing our partners to their physical limits, making us feel stronger and more connected to each other.  We celebrated our successes with a LUNA Protein Berry Greek Yogurt bar.

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Photo credit: Amy Boyle Photography

Check our Instagram video post for the cool experience.  Also, go to the Nike Training Club schedule for more FREE workout classes with Betina and other Nike masters.  Sign up and bring your LUNA Protein Berry Greek Yogurt Bar.

You can make your own post workout berry bliss any where LUNA bars are sold!

Ladies, This Weekend in Chicago is for Brunchin’ and Burnin’

Yes, it’s Monday and we are already dreaming of the weekend.  Those lazy Saturdays where you roll out of bed, throw your hair into a messy top knot and meet up with your gal pals for a hearty brunch.  This weekend, twist up the routine by adding some blowouts and beauty goody bags to that brunchin’.  Join Kathy Ruda, HERFITNESS health and fitness blogger, in her quest to raise funds for AVON 39 and breast cancer awareness.

Are you Burnin’ to hear all the Brunchy details?

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*Currently all workout classes offered at Brunch x Burn are full but Kathy is looking to expand them.  Stay alert by following the Brunch x Burn event on Facebook, fit family!*

When: May 22nd, 2016, 1-3 pm

Where: Equinox Gold Coast, 900 N. Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL

Brunch: Fuel your day with healthy juices from JuiceRx and tasty pastries from Beatrix

Blowouts and Braids: Check the Brunch x Burn page for updates! Blowout Junkie will make ya look fabulous (um hello blowouts usually cost like $35 and up so this ticket is a steaalllll)

Benefits: You will feel like a charitable goddess as you shake your glossy blown out hair. Bring some cash to for the raffle table and prep yourself for a bounty of giveaways.  Each guest will also receive a free HERFITNESS goodie bag filled with healthy snacks & discount cards from sponsors (think free passes to Equinox, Kind bars and more).

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Cost: Only $15 and your donation goes directly towards to AVON 39: The Walk to End Breast Cancer.

Tickets! brunchxburn.splashthat.com or Follow Kathy on IG @kathyruda

Nutrition Gets Fancy With Curate Snacks

Us gals are always on the look out for new healthy and interesting grab n’ go snacks.  Call it the too busy syndrome or too curious syndrome.  Balancing full time jobs with our passion for blogging sometimes leaves us with … Continue reading

Yoga 101 @ Studio Three Chicago

Do you wanna know a secret?  We’ve been practicing yoga for years.  It’s what brought our friendship to fruition.  BUT! We’ve never taken a Yoga 101 class until now.

Studio Three’s new FREE Yoga 101 class offers a format that is accessible to anyone, from new yogis, to sweaty gurus (especially those who need patience practice).  So don’t be nervous if you’ve never ventured into this world of open mouth tongue out breathin’.  We checked it out 2 Saturdays ago and checked our assumptions at the door.

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First Impressions:

Studio Three’s yoga studio features linen covered decorative lamps (good for staring at in a hard pose), hardwood floors and natural light to induce relaxation.  Studio Three also features cycling and interval training in its other 2 studios.

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Attending your first yoga class can be intimidating.  You know, those people all stretching and showing off their wacky legs behind their head poses.  However, our teacher, Todd Rhoades, was bubbly, welcoming and accommodating to all in the room.  Luckily no one in our class was stunting either.  Todd is multi-talented and has a background in yoga, and dance.  This evident in his grace and ease at talking through poses.

Note: Emily DeBouver and Maggie McElhiney are teaching an “It’s Britney B*^#h” dance class on March 25th at Studio Three if yoga’s not your thang.

Format (may vary by teacher):

We began with pranayama practice, breathing in one nostril and out the other, sometimes feeling like a drowning hippo.  Prana what, now?  It’s a breathing practice for yoga to help you be in tune with your gorgeous bod.  We then moved on to sun salutations with an explanation and demo of each step.  Class may seem slow if you are used to quick vinyasa flow but we were sore after and learned a ton.  Classes can cover a variety of topics including etiquette, form, history and/or alignment.

Where: Studio Three, 648 N Clark Street
Chicago IL, 60654

When: Saturdays, 1:45-2:45 pm

Bonus: This Saturday, March 19th, is Yoga 101 with QUICHE AND MIMOSAS!!

Sign Up: First, sign up for an account. Next, schedule yourself!

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Already experienced?  Studio Three could appease many a yogi with styles from Forrest Yoga (from the amazing Allison English) to Hot Power, Flow, or challenging Hi-Def (integrated yoga and strength training).  We gots to go back and give another try another style.

*Update* 3/25/2016 Yoga 101 will morph into Power Yoga 101 for April.

 

Low Sugar Protein Bars: Luna Improved

A busy life calls for easy snacks.  We love having the option of something we can just throw in our gym bag and go.  What we don’t want is eating a nutrition bar that is basically a candy bar disguised as a health food.  We’ve been Luna Bar fans for years but were excited to find out they reduced their Lemonzest and Chocolate Peppermint Stick.  Both have 25% less sugar than before.  We received samples to taste test the evolution.

 

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Snack Bar Stats

LemonZest

Sugar: Reduced from 12 g to 9 g

Protein: 9 g

Fiber: 3 g

Chocolate Peppermint Stick

Sugar: Reduced from 12 g to 8 g

Protein: 8 g

Fiber: 4 g

What do we think?

Suga, we don’t miss you:

The low sugar bars actually taste better than before and there are no artificial sweeteners.

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Crumbly Cookie Style:

We also noticed a change in texture. Both tasted less dense and the oats were crumbly which was pleasing.

The ingredients are mostly organic and non-GMO.  Cliff Bar, the parent company, works with organic farmers and focuses on sustainability in their practice.  With under 200 calories and a boost of vitamin and minerals, these Luna bars can be included in a healthy diet.

Luna Bar is also releasing 3 new choco-riffic bars with only 5 grams of sugar and dark chocolate.  Dark chocolate is a major yesss because of its antioxidants.

Luna Bar flavor creations, Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate Chunk, Dark Chocolate Mocha Almond, and Dark Chocolate Hazelnut  are now available, each with 5 grams of sugar!

Which flavor tickles your fitness fancy? Do you have a go to flavor of Luna Bar that you already love?  Tell us in the comments!

20 Minute Toning: Ignite Fitness Review

Admit it.  Sometimes, during tough workout videos, you lie there huffing and puffing hoping your virtual teacher won’t catch you slacking.  That feeling is slightly guilty/awesome because you know this workout is challenging you.

It may seem that 20 minutes of fitness won’t do squat (HA!) but high intensity workouts can pack a punch for more energy and toning.  We received a complementary Blu-Ray copy of the Women’s Health Ignite workout starring Next Fitness Star winner Nikki Metzger to test its fit factor.  Nikki Metzger isn’t just some gym rat of the street.  She’s a Master Trainer and owner of BODI gym in Scottsdale, Arizona.  She’s not afraid to slap you with a bad @#s fitness routine.

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Ignite fires you up with 3 x20 minute stand alone (or get crazy and plow through all 3) workouts.  Bonus: An 8 minute bananas ab sequence in case you didn’t feel sore enough.

Workout Chapters:

BUILD

More of a traditional weights workout, but still maintains an interval format. Nikki demos the moves and sets before each change.  Free weight usage is optional, removing intimidation for the recently sedentary.

BURN

Guacs, this is a doozy.  Plyometrics take center stage for this cardio heavy chapter with crazy hard moves like the evil planky bear or real move name: Lateral Bear Crawl.

SWEAT

Your muscles will get HIIT from the front and the back with this 360 high speed interval routine.  Expect 45 second sets with 3 sets in each rotation.  Moves include modified burpees with a row added, plank walk outs and our Snapchat favsie: The Starfish Crunch.

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Workout Cheers

  • These 20 minute speed workouts torch calories and slow time.  You can fit this into a busy life!
  • Nikki’s lady crew each demo-ed a different move level for beginners up to bodybuilder lost your mind mode.
  • As a trainer, Nikki is approachable and encouraging.  Also, we like her fitanista style with 3 on fleek fit outfits to choose.

Workout Woes

  • 8 minute abs was like 8 minutes confused.  Transitions were too too fast so it was hard to follow where to move next.
  • Closed caption anyone?  This is 2016 so I am sure the fitness industry would want people with hearing issues to be able to follow along with verbal cues too.
  • Why do all workout videos have drum kit music created on a Casio keyboard for their background?  We suppose it’s necessary to appease a majority of viewers (?) but we think even keyboard cat could do better.

Final (Get) Cut

Extra Extra!  Get your 20 minute toning with Ignite here.  Not ready to commit? Check out a preview of Nikki’s training here.

Looking for other workouts?  Check out some suggestions from previous posts here.

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!