Giveaway: Hydrate your Summer with Propel Fitness Water

Summa Summa Summa timeeee…time to sweat!  Have you ever ran in 90 degree heat because you threw caution into the lack of wind?  You definitely need to replace those lost electrolytes to avoid muscle cramps and quick fatigue.

With 9 flavors, Propel Electrolyte Water wants to keep your summer humming with a prize pack!  Take the “What’s Your Flavor?” Quiz to see if you’re more of a bubbly blueberry pomegranate or competitive cranberry lime.

Get thirsty for these prizes:

  • A sweat replacing pack of Propel Electrolyte Water flavors
  • Cool it down with a Propel moisture wicking yoga towel
  • Throw shade with Propel Sunglasses
  • Class up your fitness class with a Lululemon gym bag

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Here’s our fit flavor (no wonder, we are a 2 girl fitness blog!):

Kiwi Strawberry
“You’re more of a social butterfly than a hardcore competitor when it comes to fitness.  A fun workout takes priority over the amount you sweat.  You like group workouts like Zumba, kickboxing or barre with lots of upbeat tunes, or a walk in the park to catch up with a friend.  Of course, looking good while working out is always a priority – you never forget to match and accessorize”.

 

Once you’re all quizzed up, comment on our blog on what your flavor is to win this balanced bounty!!  Winner will be picked at random and announced by 8/15.

 

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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!

 

Tips for Trekking Your First Trail Run

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Now that Race-tober has come to a close, we’ve had a chance to reflect on all the “firsts” we’ve experienced this month: Monica ran her first 10K, Run 10 Feed 10, Kate took her sister to her first 5k, a very rainy yet triumphant Monster Dash and one of our most memorable races, our first trail run with the The North Face Endurance Challenge at Kettle Moraine State Park.  The North Face went above and beyond in sponsoring us, not only giving us sweet race gear before the race, but also surprising us with a backpack full of running essentials once we made our way to our hotel.

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For anyone who has been running 5Ks for a while or would love to just get out in nature more, we think a trail run could hit both those spots.

Here are some things we learned from our experience:

These shoes were made for trailin’

Invest in a pair of trail shoes.  Your feet will thank you for your generosity.  When we first received our North Face Ultra MT trail shoes, we noticed how stiff they were as compared to our norm runners.  A wise friend explained that trail running shoes and more hearty with more tread so you have better grip and can withstand stepping on wily rocks and sticks that may try to block your path.  These shoes are also waterproof to withstand wet and muddy trails.

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Climbing every mountain 

The environment of trails can vary from run to run.  You may find well groomed trails, wild overgrown ones, or paved trails in your travels.  You may find you require more stamina and time to trail run than what you’re used to so don’t feel discouraged if you are slower paced than your average pavement jaunt.

Dress to impress–the wilderness

The weather the day of our trail run was not exactly what you would expect for early October but Midwest weather is like Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates, ya never know what you’re gonna get.  Chilly and brisk was the name of the running game for our race day.  Keeping in mind that we were going through the woods, we wore layers.  For rain, try a light or medium weight rain jacket, like The North Face Women’s Venture Jacket.  Trust us, don’t wear your poncho to run unless you want to sweat like a wild hog as you swish through the wilderness.

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And some advice from the trail running pros!

Runner’s World: 21 Quick Trail Running Tips

Active.com: 9 Trail Running Tips for Beginners

Trail Runner: The 10 Commandments of Healthy Running

Ready, set, go!

You can still take on the North Face Endurance Challenge in California, Washington D.C. and New York or try an Illinois trail run if you’re our neighbors.

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Still trail shy?

The North Face offers their free Mountain Athletics training sessions every Tuesday and Thursday in Boston, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and Washington D.C. to help you prep for your next ski jump, rock climb, run or crazy jazz hand competition…whatever your goal may be.

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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Fit, Free and Fun for Spring

Finally!  Events are starting to pick up and Chicago is bringing it’s S game.  Super. Spectacular. Spring.

We are so excited to share some of our secret spring events this week to put that sprang back in your step.

Tuesday April 14th (Lincoln Monument) and Thursday April 15th (Pritzker Pavilion) and every Tues, Thurs in April

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North Face Mountain Athletics

We got our first taste of Mountain Athletics at the kickoff event at the end of March on a clear 50 degree day and man, we didn’t know what to expect.  Our duo of personal trainers explained that each week focuses on a different body area all while integrating the core.  We went through a series of intervals all using our own body weight.  Exercise sets can be modified to fit your level of fitness which makes the workout approachable yet challenging.  We loved the partner exercises so bring a pal and get ready to sweat.

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Tuesday 4/14 (and Tuesday nights each week)

BENDER FLAVOR LAB

Calling all house heads slash yogis!  Bender Flavor Lab serves up a hot serving of unique fitness and jams each Tuesday at the Lab Dance Studio.  Each week holds a different theme and DJ set but always gives you snacks and water in an urban street art styled loft space.

Bonus: Free Cone Day at Ben and Jerry’s on Tuesday 4/14!

Wednesday April 15th

Big City Blonde and Goldplaited presents a trivia and pampering event: “Blondes vs. Brunettes”.  Get competitive, red heads and dark locked people can rock the trivia too.  Participants can win glam make up prizes, indulge in styling and make up tutorials from Goldplaited, and obvs flex their hair color knowledge.  We need to study up!  Rsvp here.

Friday April 17th (through Sunday April 19th)

Pure Barre is is partnering with Real Simple for a “Beauty & Balance” Weekend April 17-19.  Stop by any of the participating locations to take a “Pure & Simple” specialty class.  To register for one of these special classes, please visit the local studio page and find the “Real Simple’s ‘Pure & Simple’ Class” on your studio’s schedule and click “Sign Up Now.”  New clients are welcome to try a complimentary class using the promo code “REALSIMPLE” – make sure to select the “Real Simple Class” option and enter this promo code upon checkout.

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Saturday April 18

It is time to Live Out Loud Everyday with Lole Activewear.  In celebration of the new Lole Southport location, they are having a grand opening party and fashion show brunch across the street at the Yoga Loft located at 1350 W Newport.  The store is directly across the street at 3434 N Southport Ave.

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image borrowed from Lole

Lole Spring/Summer Collection Preview Fashion Show
Doors Open:  10am
Show Time:  11am
Mimosa’s and brunch from Kitchfix, a $15 Lole voucher, and a Goodie Bag.  $10 Ticket donation going to CTF Children’s Tumor Foundation.

Jump Away Calories at Sky Zone

Ok 80’s babies, sing it with us.  Sky Zone will make you “Jump, Jump”!  Yes, now Kris Kross is in your head, suckers.

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We had the distinct pleasure of bounding on over to a trampoline haven at the newly opened Sky Zone in Elmhurst, IL, our Chicago neighbor to the West.  Jump-a-whaaa?  It’s basically a warehouse full of tramps (the hoppy kind, people) set up for your child-like nature…and children, if you have them, of course.

When we arrived, we felt a little nervous about the thought of trampling small children with our lack of coordination as we saw them running into the building.  Sky Zone has a pretty sweet set up, however, to make sure adults and kids leap with ease.  Sky Zone has scheduled jump times to reduce crowding and several jump arenas with different activities.

So what ya do when you get there?

First, we signed a online waiver, grabbed our cute pink sky socks (in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month) and stopped by the snack bar to get some water.

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Jump Tip #1: You don’t need to pay for water.  There are water fountains (uh duh, why didn’t we look earlier?).  There is no slushie fountain, though, so you will need to pay for that Blue Rasberry Slushie craving you have.

We started our jumpsperience at FOAM ZOOOOONE with some very inept flips into a big pile of orange and blue foam cubes.  There’s a monitor in each area directing flip traffic so you can belly flop, front flip, or just slide down the trampoline on your face into the pit…as one of us did (heheheh).

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Jump Tip #2: Wear Jump appropriate clothing.  Half shirts, low riding pants and thong panties may be a bit too revealing as you claw your way depths of foam helllll.  Seriously, its a struggle getting out of those cubes!

Next, we moseyed over to the open jump dome and were surrounded by all ages of jumpers.  The coolest aspect about open jump is that its organized chaos.  The dome is divided into personal trampoline squares so jumpers can have their own private trampoline dreams without being tackled by a fellow participant.  As we jumped back and forth between each other’s squares, we noticed how dang hard trampolining is.  We burned calories, sweat and didn’t even feel like we were working out until our legs revealed their shaky nature once we left the dome.

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Jump Tip #3: If you use the Sky Zone lockers, put your key somewhere safe!  Ours jumped right out of our pocket and left us with a $10 locker key replacement fee.

Finally, we tried out WNBA aspirations at Sky Slam, the Slam Dunk section.  One of us, the tall one with hops aka Monica, enjoyed the area, while the other, the shortie, got kicked out for trying to dunk in the kids line.  Kate can’t slam dunk and now it’s been proven by cold hard evidence.

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Sky Zone visitors can try their hand (or legs) at Ultimate Dodgeball.  We just didn’t feel like getting smacked in the face by 8 year olds so we skipped out.  Fitness classes are also available for those who want a dedicated low impact/high calorie workout without all the rug rats running about.

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Final Jump Tip:

Sky Zone is affordable (fitness classes are only $10 and open jump is $15), fun and will make you fit!  Check out the class schedule and open gym times here and hop to it!

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Run Life: Must Have Gear for Newbie Runners

Chiorganicgirls may have briefly fallen off the face of the earth due to Kate’s wedding festivities but we are back…and better than ever due to the lack of wedding stress!  How did we survive and de-stress during all the bride and maid of honor hub bub this summer?  Exercise, of course!

We took it to the mild weathered streets of Chicago and stretched our running legs along park and lake paths.  One of the big problems we face with outdoor running is where the hell to put your keys, wallet, run jams, snacks, mace and so forth.  Your sports bra is an option for hiding stuff but, dang, it sure gets sweaty in there.

Then comes a product that frees your arms, and bra and shoes (guys you know what I’m saying) from the burden of keeping your stuff secure while you bounce about.

The DBelt!  Okay so the name is funny but what it does is D-liteful!

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Kate snagged the DBelt and never let go (as Monica didn’t want to wear Kate’s sweat anyways).  The DBelt is a wide cotton-spandex blended belt that sits comfortably around your hips or waist (depending on your preference).  Includes 2 zip front pockets, and a velcro closure, there is plenty of room for multiple credit cards, keys and your phone.  Not only did the DBelt travel around Kate’s waist to multiple 5k practices and the big show, the Energizer Night Run, but it also made it’s way to her honeymoon in Costa Rica and on the EL train to yoga class.  Quite the world traveler!  The DBelt is a must have fitness fashion item but also makes a nice purse alternative and a sneaky way to hide your valuables from robbers!

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And care is quite D-simple…ok we stretched on that one.

Handwash
Do not dry in heat
Do not dry clean
Do not iron

See!  You don’t have to use that stupid iron…and we kinda perm press washed it on accident and it came out ok (shhh…).

Is your interested Deepened?  Well Dive in!  (Sorry about all the D jokes…we had to do it).

You can purchase your DBelt online here!

Or if you are a lucky person who lives in Florida, then you can get it at POWER HOUSE gym, 6900 Okeechobee Blvd, West Palm Beach FL 33411.

So let’s go lie on the beach in Florida with our Dbelts!!  Who wants to buy our flights?

 

Bound 2 Get Fit 4 NYE

Not sure if your family baked you 3 tins full of holiday cookies and marble cakes, but ours did.  We are so over sugared from this past week that a fridge full of carrots seems like a refuge.  Luckily, you don’t need to wait til the new year to strengthen your resolve and boost your healthy habits.  Chicago seems to know we all probably overdid it (in true Midwestern style) and has some limited time hot deals to get you back on track even before you even squeeze into your NYE digs.

Addicted to Glazed and Infused Donuts?

Groupon is offering a limited time only deal of a 3 or 7 day juice cleanse for our fave freshy-fresh juice bar, Peeled.  Info on the efficacy of juicing research is mixed but proponents say it clears toxins from the body, delivers vitamins instantly and eliminates cravings.  We haven’t tried the cleanse but love their made-to-order smoothies, juices and raw foods.  Try the Bright Pink juice, with dazzling pear, pineapple and ginger, for a first taste.  Must haves: Motivation to say goodbye to solid foods!

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Peeled Juice “Bright Pink”

Are you a Challenge Hound?

Bar Method may look like a dance in the park but we have seen our male friends quiver in the class.  If you have never stepped up to the Barre, you can join the Bar-lution Challenge.  Take 21 classes in 30 days from January 6th through February 4th to win!  Prizes during last year’s competition included Bar Method socks, tanks, DVDs and a membership for one faithful attendee.  Beyond the goodies, your body will look fantastic.  We lost inches, gained flexibility and strength during our challenge foray last year.  Must haves: grippy socks, knee length pants and a steely determination.  Hot tip: The Wicker Park Bar Method has free parking for you driving folks.

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Looking to Beat the Treadmill Blahs?

Consistently voted as one of the best gyms in Chicago, i.d. gym has a small personalized environment and a schedule chock full of original exercise classes.  Ever flown in the air in a hammock during yoga?  How about pushing a tire around to get a pre industrial revolution physique?  Classes like Fly Yoga and the Caveman Workout may renew your fitness fire.  I.d. gym is running a membership special until the end of December so hurry up and lunge in to the deal.

For those who want to get back in touch with their naughty side now that Christmas is over, Flirty Girl Fitness, an all women’s gym with a focus on bringing sexy back, has class packs on sale as well that could mix up the boring basics of gym rat life.  Getting a mani pedi with your package ain’t half bad either!

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i.d. gym fly yoga

Overwhelmed by Health and Fitness info?

Personal training may be a way to wade through the mass of fitness trends out there.  Score a deal on a free consultation with our North side trainer extraordinaire, Sabri Xhaferi, to get the feel for it or jump right in with a package deal.

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Sabri Xhaferi, certified personal trainer

With all this sweating, what about a swell new workout outfit to make you feel footloose at the gym!?  We just discovered a cut and affordable spot for just such a task, vfish.  What else do we wanna try in 2014?  TRX, HIIT, Bollywood Groove, Pure Barre, Cheerobix and more to test out just for you!

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vfish designs gripsocks!