Fabulous at 50!

Worked on opening my hip flexors in runner's lunge during hot yoga.

Worked on opening my hip flexors in runner’s lunge during hot yoga.

It’s a bit of a misleading title (I’ve got a couple of decades to go), but I wanted to celebrate my 50th blog post.

I haven’t written in here as much as I originally planned. When I first started, I was all gung ho about blogging, but now I’ve come to see this as a mix of a personal reflection of my fitness journey and a chance to share about my varied exercise experiences to help others looking for some local reviews/promotions.

The FANTASTIC news is I have worked my way back up to a regular 3-4x week workout by attending a handful of classes regularly through the Leisure Guide and Yoga Public, so my exploring (a key part of this original blog) has gone down a notch.

Not to fear, as I felt inspired to post after venturing out into my new ‘hood to check out Images Fitness for Women located in sunny St. James. They are (still) offering a sweet deal on Groupon that I snapped up for hot yoga–$49 for 10 classes!

I participated in my first class one week ago exactly, and have been back once already! Monday night’s class was called “26 in 60.” When I asked the front desk gal, she said it was like a Bikram style class. “Oh no,” I remember thinking in my head. My least favourite form next to Ashtanga.

Luckily, it was not the drill-Sargent military-style Bikram class I had experienced before at other studios. In fact, I quite liked it! It wasn’t intimidating, the studio was hot but not so roasting that I was dripping sweat on my mat every two seconds, and the teacher was in there flowing/working on poses with the class. It was an 8:30 pm class, so it wasn’t too vigorous either, with lots of time for relaxation at the end. I slept like a baby that night.

I’ve returned for a hot flow class, which was your standard hot yoga class. The teacher, again, was great at getting in there to flow and then pausing to demonstrate more complicated poses.

That all being said, Images isn’t fancy pants. I’m not sure what’s up with the ice cold change rooms that require a portable heater, although it is nice to cool down in there after a hot class! You get what you pay for, which is a semi-decent studio (it’s got mirrors, which I like sometimes to check on form), some props and solid teachers. You need to bring your own mat, or I believe they charge a $3 rental fee for a mat, which seems a bit steep in my opinion. I’d recommend the class for the beginner to mid-level yogi, but the hardcore ones would probably prefer a more “serious” studio I imagine.

Like another hot yoga studio I’ve been to, this one uses a kettle to steam up the room, which I always find humourous. This one wasn’t nearly as blistering hot though, thank god. If my experience continues to be positive, I’ll probably buy a drop-in pass for some yoga classes since it is close to home (I love walking to and from yoga classes like I used to when I lived in Crescentwood!) and the prices are wallet friendly. I think a regular drop-in yoga pass lets you try non-hot classes too. Regular class passes are $60 for five, 10 for $110 and 20 for $180–a bargain considering I pay $170 for 10 at Yoga Public (but it’s such a great studio, so I consider it a little splurge for my health!)

So I’m curious friends, have you been to Image Fitness Center for Women? What’s your favourite place in the city for hot yoga?

 

Back to “school”

Body bar is just one of the many tools used to build strength in my 30/20/10 class.

Body bar is just one of the many tools used to build strength in my 30/20/10 class.

Most people think of September as “Back to School” month and in some ways, I can still relate to that feeling even though I graduated in 2005 and don’t have any kids.

September for me is like January, when fitness folks typically make a “New Year’s Resolution” to start a regular workout.

To update, I got married in the middle of June, which was also the last time of my last formal class. Yikes. I certainly wasn’t lying around while getting married; honeymooning in South of France; attending my sister’s wedding in San Fran; or while packing, moving and unpacking boxes from our apartment into our new house. But it’s not quite the same.

I kept (jokingly) threatening my husband that I was “ready to let go” once I got married. And while the signs certainly seemed to be pointing in that direction, I always knew that September would come around, my Leisure Guide classes would start and I’d get on track. Today, after a three-month hiatus, I returned to a 30/20/10 class.

And it felt good.

While so many parts of my life felt fulfilled, exercise was always there kind of nagging me in the back of my mind. I missed it.

My body felt weak, yet energized after today’s workout. My flexiblity is horrendous, but it’s motivating me to get back into practicing yoga.

I’m glad to be back in class!

 

Tip-top shape

coreMy arms are burning.

Yes, I know I disappeared again. The good news is (as you can guess by the above statement) I’ve been keeping up with regular workouts usually one or two times a week. This week I had three solid ones and as a result, I can barely lift my arms up without feeling sore. Since the new year, I’ve bumped up my body bar weight to 12 lbs, am trying power moves during the aerobics, and can literally feel myself getting stronger in the core area the more I go. It’s an amazing feeling and I hope you’re all on track with your own personal fitness goals! Did I mention I only have 34 days until my wedding? Yes, the pressure is on to be in tip top shape!

I’ve been mainly sticking to 30/20/10 classes through the Leisure Guide and the odd yoga class at Yoga Public. I’ve also been dropping in at Total Body Conditioning (TBC) classes through the Leisure Guide, but it has been hard on Thursdays with all the wedding planning appointments that seem to crop up on that day of the week. TBC are the classes I should be attending the most since they focus on building strength, which is probably my weakest area (although my flexibility stinks too). The class is an hour, where you’ll work with weights, a step, dynabands, body bars and your own body weight to tone those muscles (and leave you sore the next day!)

The teacher is super friendly and smiley, and has admirable muscles, so I think she serves as a good inspiration for the attendees. The class is usually pretty full since she does a good job and makes it a fun, welcoming environment. Case in point: at the end of the last session she gave all participants a 30-minute workout DVD for us to work on until the next Leisure Guide sessions started.

With all the fitness activity this week it got me thinking about this neglected blog. How are your fitness goals going? Any plans to power up your workout as we head into swimsuit season? (Dun dun dun…)

Break down into 30/20/10

Step right up and take a 30/20/10 class through the Leisure Guide.

Step right up and take a 30/20/10 class through the Leisure Guide.

Hello readers! I took a week-long break there as it was filled with after-work appointments and the like related to wedding and my regularly scheduled non-wedding activities. It feels nice to take a Sunday afternoon off to just sit back, write and reflect.

I thought I’d theme this post around a wonderful fitness class I am taking through the City of Winnipeg’s Leisure Guide. It’s called 30/20/10. Before I used to take all my Leisure Guide classes at Pan Am Pool, but now that I’m quite close to St. James Civic Centre, it has opened up some new class possibilities. After perusing the guide last fall, I decided to pick one weekly class (wanted to leave the rest of the week free for other activities) on Monday evenings right after work. The 30/20/10 class really appealed to me because it breaks down an hour into a full-body, complete physical workout.

For the first 30 minutes, you do a short cardio warm up & cool down, along with some step and/or ground aerobics. Then, for the next 20 minutes you do weights using either the body bar or free weights. Twenty minutes isn’t a lot of time, so you don’t get to hit every muscle or target one area in-depth, but the instructor does a good job trying to get you through the major ones. Finally, there is a 10-minute stretching session at the end, an area in fitness that is often ignored, yet so crucial to overall health. The instructor plays lots of upbeat music and she has an energetic, friendly disposition. And of course, she always demonstrates low-impact/power moves and mods of exercises for all levels. Love that!

I took this class for 10 weeks last fall and only missed one where I was on holiday. So far I’m 2/2 for this year and still love it. It’s not a particularly advanced class, but if you’re looking for an affordable, all-over body and fitness workout then I highly suggest keeping an eye out for this class in the Leisure Guide at a centre near you!  P.S. This class isn’t on the drop-in list, but the instructor does allow drop-ins if you have one of those city passes you’d like to use.

Happy 2013!

They say variety is the spice of life. And while I haven’t been working out on a regular basis 3x per week, I have consistently completed at least ONE workout each week (Pretty sure I met my fitness goal for 2012 at least, yay!) and many have been activities I have not blogged about on here before (minus the not-so-exciting workouts in my dull and tiny apartment gym). It’s my fault for not posting what I’ve been doing on the blog, but with a fresh year ahead, why not start fresh with a promise to update more regularly?

On a personal note, I updated the blog headline to reflect that I am now 30 years old and still budget conscious…although I will pay for quality and convenience if that’s what is going to get me active.

Use your body weight to build muscle definition during a TRX body blast class at Yoga Public.

Use your body weight to build muscle definition during a TRX body blast class at Yoga Public.

I’m also getting married this summer, which is exciting. This upcoming milestone and epic photo moment is providing me with extra motivation to get back into a 3x per week routine (at one point it used to be four times–I was pretty buff then for the petite thing I am.)

To kick things off, I spent about 45 minutes last night organizing my fitness schedule for January. I scheduled myself for a number of classes (they are my favourite as you can tell from my old blog posts) and think of them more as “appointments” that must be kept.

Last fall I signed up for 10 weeks of 1-hour long 30/20/10 classes through the Leisure Guide and only missed ONE when I was away on vacation. The time slot seemed to work with my schedule, so I’ve committed myself to another 10 weeks in winter/spring. (Expect to read more in a future post.)

In the meantime, I’m using a two-week unlimited voucher for Yoga Public. I started today with a 45-minute TRX Body Blast workout. I’ve taken TRX before elsewhere, but seem to have forgotten how to adjust all the straps properly and quickly, so I missed a few moves. Other than that I felt like it was a great, quick, full-body workout class that will definitely help with muscle definition and leave me with sore muscles tomorrow. (But the good kind of sore.)

Up next? A 45-minute hot yin class on Friday followed by a romantic skating date at The Forks or Assiniboine Park with my fiance. I’m excited to increase my workouts in the new year. And as always, keep it interesting with lots of variety, which is key to good cross-training.

So, fellow fitness fanatics, what are your fitness goals for 2013? It could be a goal to try ice skating, join a team sport or a 30-day yoga challenge–please share in the comments below!

Front kick, jab, uppercut!

Image

Get your kicks during a Group Kick fitness class at Shapes Fitness Centre.

Hello blog and readers, long time no write. The good news is that I haven’t been neglecting exercise since this last post and today’s. The bad news is that I’ve been failing to share those experiences on here. Well, today I felt inspired after stepping out of my exercise comfort zone and joining a cardio class for mixed martial arts and boxing at Shapes on Pembina (I had a 20 class pass from Dealfind). It was my first group fitness class there (minus a hot yoga class a few weeks earlier, but I’ll go again and report back some other time), and I picked it because I thought it would be good to challenge myself.

Turns out challenge is a good thing.

This Group Kick class rocked out to a super high energy soundtrack and cardio routine laced with punches, jabs, roundhouses, uppercuts, rhythm punches, scissor kicks, jumping jacks, leg lifts and more. Did I know what I was doing? Not really, but I walked in knowing that I wasn’t going to get it right as a beginner (and many props to the instructor for asking who was new, showing some basics and reassuring us noobs that it’s tricky to pick up at first.) I think my attitude of wanting try my best and pass if my body was ever saying “no” to something took any fear away!

I, along with all the other ladies in class, were sweating like bandits. And we all left with that post-endorphin glow after a good workout.

So, would I make this a regular part of my work out? Probably not, as I’m not much of a fighter chick and I like my cardio on the dance-y side, like Zumba. Am I glad I tried it? Yes! And I would attend that type of class here and there to mix up the workout grind. If you want an invigorating workout that also lets you blow off some mental steam (the instructor kept telling us to picture our attacker and aim, haha), then try it out! I could see myself attending again. Maybe I’ll actually be able to tell the difference between a roundhouse and side kick after a few more classes. Today, I was just focused on trying to keep up!

Have you ever taken a boxing or martial arts class before? What did you think?

P.S. Dealfind has a deal write now for martial arts by chance!

Goodlife Fitness wrap-up

Sun salutations were a big part of yoga-influenced classes at GoodLife Fitness.

Hi everyone! Sorry for my absence. My membership wrapped up at GoodLife Fitness on Nov 30 and I manged to sneak in a few more classes there, so I will quickly touch on those. I’ll also give you a brief update on my fitness status. Tomorrow? A post on some great fitness deals to be had in Winnipeg.

Last post I mentioned a high-intesity 30 mins cardio class. Most classes are actually an hour, so my mistake on that. I took yogafit, bodyflow, yogacore and a zumba class.

I honestly don’t remember the difference between yogafit and yogacore, but I think yogacore felt like a more traditional yoga class with lots of sun salutations and warrior 1 poses etc. Both yoga classes left me feeling stretched out and a bit sore the next day, which I always take as a good sign. Both classes had new age-y music playing in the background, which I liked. It seemed to fit the Goodlife “upbeat and happy” attitude that seems to prevail here. One evening they had a “member appreciation night,” and handed out a bunch of goodies from face masks to hand soap to conditioning treatments to class participants to say thanks for being a member. There was a food tray at the entrance as well. I thought it was a really nice touch.

The Zumba class was fun and it definitely got my heart pumping, especially since it went for a whole hour. I thought it would be short like the other aerobics class I took. Again, a great class to disguise the hidden working out benefits.

The bodyflow was a combo of tai chi (warm up and cool down), yoga and pilates. Traditional yoga/pilates teacher would probably cry sacrilege but I actually really like the variety of exercises in this class. I think there are benefits to doing all three, and this class totally takes advantage of that. I didn’t make it to Goodlife as often as I wanted due to it being kind of out of the way (I’m a bus to work gal now) and the class schedules not meshing with my work schedule, but overall I really liked this gym. I often shop at Superstore, so if I lived closer I would consider getting a membership here and knock two birds off with one stone.

I’ve purchased another wagjag voucher for Goodlife. I think for $22, this one comes with a personal training consultation, gym bag and again, a 30-day membership. I’m going to use it for the location near my work in the Canwest building so that I have a new place to write about and evaluate.

I feel like I’ve hit another fitness slump this month since the GL voucher expired. I’ve done lots of mall walking, which is awesome, but doesn’t quite make up for a proper exercise sesh. I do have a really austere, depressing fitness room in my apartment building that I used once, and will likely use again today for a quick 30-min jog on the elliptical. I renewed my Passport to Prana card and my goal is take a yoga class sometime between the 24th-Jan 2.

Also, if my mom has a guest pass to the Rady Centre (her gym of choice), then hopefully I’ll get to tag along to one of Todd or Max’s classes there–these guys are fun, lively instructors.

Here’s to plenty of health and happiness over the holidays. Stay tuned for my fitness deals tomorrow–you may even want to grab one as a last-minute gift!

First impression: GoodLife Fitness for women

Well, I’ve been to GoodLife Fitness for women (Sargent location, inside Superstore) three times now, which means it’s time for a review.

To start, the signup process with the wagjag voucher went smoothly although they did ask a tad too many questions for my liking (even the trainer who was signing me up complained a little). Still, I can understand slightly why they’d want to know what meds you’re on etc. in case you pass out. Special consideration might need to be taken into consideration when building a workout plan. We set some “goals” for my month there, namely that I wanted to get up off the couch and live a healthy lifestyle mainly. Bonus points for toning the bod.

My favourite part is the weight training section because there no men around! Strange as that sounds, I just feel infinitely more comfortable around the space and equipment without a male presence–who knew that it bothered me that much to begin with? They’ve got a quick and easy 20 minute training circuit on nine machines that pretty much work out your entire bod.

There are lots of mirrors to check on form and two mat areas for matwork/stretching–a must-have in my case where warming up/cooling down are a big part of the routine, and I also tend to pull out a stability ball around the mat area for various exercises. The club’s a good size and there are plenty of weight machine options, so I never felt crowded or like I was waiting.

Unfortunately, the same could not be said for the classes. I am a fitness class kind of gal but for whatever reasons my personal/bus schedule and these workout classes are not meshing AT ALL. And the one time I did set aside time for a class? It was 15 minutes late (the class beforehand ran super late)–ouch. Needless to say, everyone in the class was pretty annoyed. I took the cardio sport 30 min aerobic place, which basically kept me bouncing on my toes almost non-stop. I was sweaty and my heart was pounding by the end, so it did the job. The teacher was super fit as the entire class was kind of slugging it out by the end of it. I’d like to try another class. Most of them are 30 mins, some are 45 mins so it’s nice if you want a quick in and out experience or if you want break up an hour session with some guided instruction. There are several options on the class schedule and I’m looking forward to trying out some more.

Hop on one of many elliptical machines for a full-body, low impact workout at GoodLife Fitness.

Aside from weights and classes, there are rows of treadmills, bikes and ellipticals facing a row of TVs. This gets a thumbs down in my books as the more “modern” option is to have TVs installed on each individual machine (like at YMCA) so you can customize what you’re watching. I did a couple of 15-20 min runs on the elliptical until I got bored out of my skull.

The club has lots of amenities, including childcare, a registered dietitian, massages, tanning beds, a sauna (where is it?!) and pro shop. The change rooms are also nice and clean, which is also a good sign.

I wish I could comment on membership fees but the website doesn’t list them clearly, just intro offers like 14 days for $14 or three free visits. I’m sure I’ll get pestered with phone calls after my pass expires.

That being said it’s a pretty good little facility that doesn’t feel intimidating or scary. You can set up and keep track of your workouts on cards, hire a personal trainer and check the calendar for regular little events held at the club, like “girlfriend mingle” where you make plans to meet with friends there I presume.

As I have a few more weeks here I will be sure to update further as I try more classes.

In the meantime, here’s a link to teambuy where you can purchase a 10-class fitness pass to Lure Dance Fitness, 460 Main St. You can use the pass to take pilates, yoga or dance classes. Sadly, there are only three classes on the schedule, which makes it not so great if you required greater flexibility.

Back on the saddle

Boost your strength with an easy-to-follow weight training circuit at Goodlife Fitness.

I did it! I went back to the gym and worked out for a full hour! It felt pretty good I must say and overall, I was quite pleased with the experience at Goodlife Fitness on Sargent (on the upper level of Superstore). Some cardio on the elliptical, a good chunk of weight training and a bit of stretching got my body up and moving again. I’m sure I’m going to be quite sore tomorrow, so I’m going to hop in the bath now.

On a side note, I just wanted to post that Fantasy Pole Dancing (747 Talbot) is offering a 20-class pass for $20 throughdealfind. That’s just $1 a class–pretty awesome if you ask me. Here’s the link if you want to find out more.

Have a great night!

Back with a freebie yoga update!

Various forms of hot yoga are offered Yoga Public, which opens Dec 5 downtown.

I haven’t forgotten this blog, but I’ve definitely neglected it. My excuses are: I was on holiday and then tied up with a freelance project. But I’m not doing either of those things now, so the excuses have to end. I did manage to go out rollerblading on an absolutely gorgeous night this week, but that’s about it fitness-wise for me over the past few weeks! Urgh, I don’t feel good about it at all!

Well, I’ve got to madly rush to finish up using classes in my Lifestyle Pass before it expires at the end of Oct. I’ve got a couple for Moksha, so I’ve approached a yoga buddy friend to see if she’ll hit up a class or two with me.

While I was thinking about yoga, I remembered some buzz over Yoga Public, which I’ve heard is a designer yoga studio from the brains behind the luxurious and lovely Ten Spa. So, I checked out the website and they’ve got an opening date set! Dec 5. And if you sign up for a newsletter now by clicking here (scroll down in new window), you can try out a free class. They’ve also got an intro special of two weeks worth of classes for $35. I’ll be checking that out, thanks! They seem to offer various types of hot yoga only and there are some TRX classes, which I tried a bit with some free passes awhile back.

Anyway, I’m really looking forward to getting back into shape. It’s going to be painful at first since I’ve neglected it for a month now, but it’s something I need to do in order to live a healthy, balanced lifestyle. I say this as I’m drinking a mini can of coke by the computer and having just consumed two grilled cheese sandwiches for brunch. Hmmm.

A shopping trip to the grocery store is in order once my boyfriend returns. I’ve lined up a couple of new recipes (Jamaican Shediac Cape Curry & Pillsbury pizza dough chicken and vegetable pies) and I’m definitely going to stock up on some veggies and dip in the fridge to encourage healthy snacking. Speaking of which, I’m going to go grab some trail mix now!

I’ll update soon with more fitness deals as I find them.