Natural Yoga Mat Cleaner: Mat Mist

Ahh yoga class, the glow of the candles, the collective sound of OHM, the stinky sweaty scent on your mat…wait.  A smelly yoga mat can totally ruin your one shot of the day to unwind.  You want your mat to be so fresh and so clean but without all the chemicals.

Namastay on your mat with Mat Mist. Mat Mist is a new aromatherapeutic, essential oil spray created by Brooklyn, N.Y.­based yogi, Cassie Cosgrove.

Just spray it up, roll it up and your mat is good to go.

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We were offered 4 blends to spray after our Sun Salutations.

  • Lavender Sandalwood Geranium: Calming lavender preps the chill atmosphere and sandalwood adds energy to your inversions. We like to use this as a bedroom spray for easier sleep.
  • Thyme Douglas Fir: Get in touch with nature with the earthy scent of Fir.
  • Lemon Myrtle Peppermint Vetiver: Fresh citrus and cooling mint can warm up a cool practice.
  • Meditation: Breathe deep without the incense and make your home into a studio with this relaxing scent blend.

Mindful Mat Mist Ingredients (image courtesy of Mat Mist):


Mat Mist Musts-

Ecofriendly:

  • No need for wipes or paper towels (note: for a very dirty mat, like beach and park yoga, Mat Mist will not deep clean your mat)
  • Bottles are from recycleable PET

Anti-Germies: Each of the essential oil combinations included in the line are known for their antibiotic, antiseptic, antifungal, and/or antiviral properties.  All oils are therapeutic grade, distilled carefully to retain the plant constituents known for medicinal properties.

Yoga Studio Friendly: Scents dissipate quickly to prevent you from being “that yogi” who perfumes the room.

Community Focused: Mat Mist donates 10% of profits to good causes and charitable sustainability organizations

Multi-purpose: Use it as a room fresher, both in the air or on sheets or furniture.

Cost: Mat Mist products are sold in a 2 ­ounce  ($11) or four ­ounce (MSRP $18) spray bottle.  Mat Mist also offers a subscription opportunity (MSRP $75/2oz or $108/4oz) where you receive new special ­edition mists seasonally throughout the year. Get fresh in your practice at matmist.com.
*We received samples of Mat Mist for review. We were not compensated for our opinions.*

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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!

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.

 

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!

 

Nike and JW Chicago Fitness Showcase!

Ready to warm up this weekend? Join us for a heart pounding, music bumping workout with Nike and JW Marriot Chicago this Saturday, 12-2 p.m, to benefit the Children’s Miracle Network. Where:  JW Marriott Chicago – 151 West Adams Street Chicago, … Continue reading

Free Workouts in the New Year: Part 1

If you are living on a tight budget OR aren’t quite clear even where to start with jumping in the fitness “pool”, these fitness activities are free, fun and can guide you in the right direction to feel more calm, strong and the bomb in 2016!

Strength Training

If your goals include muscling it up or toning it down, these indoor, outdoor and online options can fuel your fitness fire.

Nike Training Club Chicago

Train with top Chicago fitness professionals in classes ranging from barre to HIT in addition to speed, endurance and long distance run training. Nike Training Club Chicago supported super fabulous events last year like Train with Hart, a 5K run with Kevin Hart, and #getouthere, a temporary Chicago river front workout facility to withstand the Chicago chill.  Need a little help sorting through your fitness goals? Sign up for an exclusive Resolutions Consultation with a Nike fitness pro and get athletic coaching advice for nada dollars.  Join and sign up for workouts here.

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North Face Mountain Athletics

Cold air, they don’t care.  North Face continues their free Mountain Athletics outdoor workouts Tuesday at Lincoln Park and Thursday at Millennium Park even in the winter.  If you are looking for a challenge, this is for you!

Each session, led by two The North Face trainers, prep you for outdoor goals.  Sign up here.

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Chicago Park District

Looking for something local?  Check out your nearby Chicago Park district building this week, January 2nd-10th, for free boxing, swimming, aerobic exercise and more.

Target Commit to Fit (with Adam Rosante and Idalis Velazquez)

It takes at least 21 days to start a habit so Target wants to bolster your fit meter with a free 21 day Commit to Fit workout program.  Adam Rosante, certified athletic trainer, and author of “The 30 Second Body: Eat Clean, Train Dirty & Live Hard” and Idalis Velazquez, founder of IV Fitness LLC and the creator of the PowerUP60 training method, power through with you by leading a series of Target Youtube videos for abs, cardio and strength.

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Dance

ARC Chicago

Join in a Dance Free for All January 5th-10th with the American Rhythm Center Chicago.  Classes ranging from Tap, Break dancing, African Dance, Bollywood, Afro-Haitian and much more are all free!

Dance Fitness with Jessica

These short, high energy dance routines are lead and follow style but still could be club ready with practice.  Jessica Bass starting a small group dance class in Knoxville, TN that expanded to hundreds of free Youtube videos in addition to a purchasable fitness program.  Lace up your dancing shoes and prepare to werk.

If you don’t have twinkle toe or muscle head genes, stayed tuned for Part 2 of our Free Workout posts: Yoga and Running!

 

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!