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!

 

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!

 

Meatless Monday Recipe Roundup: Sweet Potatoes!

Sometimes veggie cooking can get a bit boring so we hunt the interwebs for new ideas. With winter on our cold minds, our thoughts have been on fireplaces, s’mores, root veggies and anything toasty and easy….after all, cooking can be … Continue reading

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 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!