Paddle and HIIT the Beach with Crosstown Fitness

Wanna throw shade at your same ol’ summer workout routine? Join Crosstown Fitness and Chicago SUP for a blazing combo high intensity interval (HIIT) and Stand-Up Paddle Board (SUP) class on gorgeous North Avenue Beach Chicago this sunny season.


Crosstown Fitness, a HIIT training gym with 2 locations, West Loop and North side, houses some of the best trainers in the city and no class is ever the same. Chicago SUP is Chicago’s original Stand-up Paddle Board outfitter. They have 2 paddle ports on North Avenue Beach and Diversey Harbor.  This perfect partnership is 3 years strong and is still walking on water.

Betina Gozo, Nike Master Trainer and Director of Fitness at Crosstown Fitness, leads a sweaty, sandy and sizzlin’ HIIT sequence to heat things up before you cool it down with the calm cardio of paddle boarding. Betina starts class off with sand running sequences, such as short sprints, butt kicks and high knees. She then moves on to body weight training like bear crawls, push ups, or 1 legged paddle dead lifts. If you didn’t know, running and exercising in sand helps strengthen weaker muscles in the legs and is lower impact than running on pavement. Come for a few weeks and you’ll shore to be feeling like Sponge Bob Svelte Pants.


After you HIIT the beach hard, it’s time to paddle! Ok, so what is SUP? It’s a beachy blend of Surfing and Kayaking, where you stand on a wide surf board and use a single bladed paddle for momentum. SUP challenges your core, balance and is also low impact. However, with all these benefits, you may still feel a lil’ crabby about paddling for the first time.

Fear not! Chicago SUP staff are friendly and ready to help you feel like a fish in water. When we stepped up to the board, staff members gave an overview of the paddle parameters and techniques. They also loan out water proof phone holders so you can safely selfie your way through the waves.  Chicago SUP staff provide Baywatch like support, eyeing the tides by your side as you paddle. If you’re feeling shaky about your sea legs, you can always kneel or straddle the board to anchor yourself with more stability.


After you serenely sail around Lake Michigan and dock your board, drift into Castaways for a drink or chill at Green City Market in Lincoln Park to refuel with fresh farmer’s market produce. Your perfect summer Saturday is planned–you’re welcome!


Every Saturday, 8:30-9:30 a.m. (weather permitting) through October


Chicago SUP stand, North Avenue Beach Chicago. The SUP stand is south of the Castaways boat and the volleyball nets.

Sign Up:

Shell out $25 for a sandy bottom adventure or a 10 pack pass is $220! Members can get wet with sweat for free. Check out Crosstown Fitness website to purchase and for more package options.

Other High Tide Tips:

Wet to Wear? No shoes are needed for the workout. Wear a swimsuit or sweat wicking clothes that dry easily (*you may fall off your board*).

There are cubbies for your belongings at the Chicago SUP hut but don’t bring anything too valuable.

Finally, everyone wants to be at the beach ( Nikki Minaj says), so parking may be tight. You can access public transportation, park near Lincoln Park zoo, but come early to make sure you have time to score a spot for your vehicle.

*Thanks to Marissa Joseph and Dana Hartung of MJPR for hosting us and for the pictures of the event.  We were offered a class for review but were not compensated for our opinions.*







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.



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:


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.


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.


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.


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.

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!


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.

2013-02-10 14.31.28

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!


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.


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!


vfish designs gripsocks!