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?

 

Advertisements

Savasana in the sun and some great sporting sales!

Summer is the season for a plethora of outdoor group yoga sessions.

Wow, you know it’s summer when you are inundated with all sorts of notices for free exercise classes taking place in the great outdoors. Take advantage of the opportunity and try out a new activity/sport or save those hard-earned dollars for a future holiday. My schedule is quickly filling up with all sorts of fitness related events lately and the cost to partake is minimal.

To start, I just wanted to say that I took my sweet new ride out for a spin on Sunday. I rode my bike across Assiniboine Park and halfway down Wellington before turning around when my middle toes started to cramp. An ice cream break at Sargeant Sundae followed before heading home. So the ice cream may have negated any health benefits, whatever, it was still a blast. I’ll try to get some pics up of my fave insider’s sneaky shortcut into the park that local Charleswood residents have been using for years. Or maybe it’s not that sneaky…you tell me!

Tomorrow I’m going to Assiniboine Park again from 6:30-8:30 for a two-hour group yoga practice for charity. This gigantic Moksha Yoga “karma” class costs $5 and as long as the rain holds off, it should be an energizing experience. No need to pre-register either as my co-worker found out when she called for more info.

I’ve made plans to FINALLY play some tennis with a group of friends at my favourite free courts on Thursday that I mentioned before here. Also, I’m going to check out “yoga in the park” again that I went to last week.

If I were more of an early riser and still living at my old place, I’d totally go to fresh cafe‘s free yoga practice for all levels from 7-8 am on Thursday mornings. Instead, I’m going to my second session of “yoga in the park” put on by the Downtown Biz at Memorial Park at noon on Thursday.

And if you need more free yoga and/or running clinics in your life, join lululemon Polo Park’s facebook page for updates on their regular Sunday morning “Run. Yoga. Live.” event held on by the duck pond. The run is at 9 am and yoga is at 10:30. Apparently they are family friendly too–very nice!

There’s also a quirky exercise deal on Swarmjam for 10 jazzercise classes for $25 (reg. $75). Classes are only offered three times a week, which is kind of a bummer, but they sound like tons of fun.

Finally, it’s the time of year when summer sales start kicking into high gear. Sport Chek is having a giant summer sale on a lot of their summer sporting goods from bikes to tennis raquets to apparel.

Enjoy the great weather!

 

 

Sports sale!

I've got my eye on a pretty helmet like this one as part of Sport Chek's upcoming sale!

Ok, two more awesome sports deals out there that I stumbled on that I just had to share!

Starting tomorrow and for the next six days, Sport Chek is putting on their spend & get event — spend $100 get a $20 promotion gift card; spend $250 and get a $50 promotion gift card. Since I’m picking up a $300 bike, I can easily use that money toward purchasing a sleek new helmet and bike lock. The promotion applies to pretty much everything in the store. You only have until July 31st to spend the promo card, so keep that in mind.

Also, teambuy has a special for 12 beach body boot camp sessions from Sweatmarks for $19 (reg $197). The camp is circuit based, so expect a nice balance of cardio and strength training in there. The price and savings is super awesome for this deal. There are two locations: 421 Beaverhil Blvd and 2-1871 Pembina Hwy.

I followed through and did my suspension boot camp again. Man, what a workout. I’m sore again, but at least my quads don’t feel like death. It took several days to fully recover! I plan to attend one more session and then I’ll do a write up on Suspension TRX boot camps. So far my initial experience has been positive!

 

Boot camp update & Zumba deal

Join the dance party with a great deal on Zumba classes at Magic N Motion Studio.

Well, I just finished my first Sustainable Fitness TRX boot camp and didn’t pass out or throw up (which isn’t uncommon according to the friendly trainer, Ian), so that was awesome! I really like many elements about the class and am already looking to my next class (it’s the endorphin talking right now) on Wednesday. I won’t post more until I give it another try, but so far it’s a quality experience that both challenges while allowing people to work at their own pace.

I didn’t want to leave out today’s spectacular deal on dealfind.com. Already 541 people have purchased! You get 20 Zumba and Cardio Pump It classes for $20 (reg. $200) at Magic N Motion Studio. I have no knowledge and have not heard any buzz on the street about this studio, but obviously it’s got fans or curious ‘peggers interested! The deal ends in 8 hours, so hop on it. I’m going to pass due to its location, but the value really is incredible.

 

 

Mark your calendars: free yoga classes start soon!

Take advantage of free yoga sessions in Memorial Park on Thursdays at noon all summer.

Starting June 2nd, downtown dwellers and workers can take advantage of a free 45 minute yoga session at Memorial Park during noon hours each and every Thursday (except for rainy days). These lovely outdoor classes are put on by the Downtown BizFort Garry Hoteland the hotly anticipated Yoga Public studio. Like I mentioned before, classes are free but donations to the instructor are welcome. Now all you need to do is remember to pack your yoga mat and gear, and you’re set! What a great way to break up the work day. See you there.

P.S. I will definitely be checking out Yoga Public when it finally does open. It’s supposed to the “Ten Spa” of Winnipeg yoga studios. Can’t wait!

Two Practices, One Peg City Yoga Studio

Going with the flow at Peg City Yoga.

I’m currently taking a break from packing (it never ends!) and royal watching to jot down my thoughts about Peg City Yoga, a studio I’ve attended a few times through Passport to Prana & the Lifestyle Pass. Thanks to these awesome programs (read about Passport to Prana here), Peg City Yoga is one of my favourite discoveries.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Lifestyle Pass, it’s a $40 pass, that guides Winnipeggers to local businesses offering the best of the best lifestyle experiences from clothing to food to spa to fitness. There are great discounts to be had in this pass, from 2 for 1 for the hamam at Ten Spa to discounted fitness passes at places like Pilates Manitoba. For details on where to pick up this must-have coupon book, click here.

Back to the review, here’s a breakdown on this studio based on my few visits.

Who: Peg City Yoga

Where: On the second floor of a business on Osborne, 1/2 – 213 Osborne St (love the free parking at the back!)

Style: Took Flow Yoga and Slow Flow

Best for: Yogis comfortable with the basics will comfortably transition into slow flow. There isn’t a ton of time spent on demonstration, so it might not be the best choice if you aren’t familiar with proper form. Flow yoga is best for those who want a real challenge and invigorating workout. The studio is warm, but not hot.

Studio: Neatly tucked away on the second floor in an older building, this yoga studio ticks all the boxes in the cute, cozy and character catagories. The studio has a vintage vibe, as one can tell from the cool embossed ceiling. Plants and zen-like decor accents at the front of the room are pleasant touches.  The hardwood floors are nice, until you end up on a creaky spot. If you can find the sweet non-squeaky spot, it’s a lovely space to practice in.  The major pitfall is the itty bitty changing rooms that can’t accommodate an entire class. It’s cramped and crowded, so if you can, change at home where you won’t be elbowing your neighbour.

Vibe: Right from the intro at the front desk, the vibe is really laid-back and chilled, but make no mistake, the instructors and yogis are serious about their practice. Looking around during the class, there didn’t seem to to be any brand spanking new beginner types. Everyone worked at their own level of course, but I could sense that everyone had been doing this for awhile and appeared to be loyal to the studio judging from snippits of conversations. The instructors typically sign everyone in and were all really friendly and encouraging to new visitors to the studio, a must if you want people to return!

Cost: Used my Passport to Prana card/Lifestyle Pass. For non-cardholders, there’s a one-month intro deal for $59.99 and three months for $159.99 (seniors and students receive 10% off). Otherwise it’s a $15 drop-in fee, 1 month for $99.99, 3 month 279.99 , 5 classes $59.99, 10 classes $109.99, 15 classes $149.99.

Experience: I have mixed reviews on my practices, one of them because I was in a class that was too advanced. I was expecting a slow flow class, so I wasn’t mentally prepared for it. That being said, I heard grumblings in the change room and among my colleagues about the difficulty of that class, which was only rated at 2-star (beginning/continuing). My big gripe about the class was the lack of intention setting. After a quick warm-up, the class immediately launched into a side plank with a leg hovering. Two points of balance right off the hop? Not cool! Of course I kept shaking holding the pose and modified to suit my body’s ability. I felt frustrated and annoyed the whole class after that. Again, I looked up the wrong class so it was partially my own fault for coming in with different expectations, but I also don’t think that side plank, or many of the moves, would be considered beginner, which is how the class was partially labeled. Beginner options should have been offered, which they weren’t.

That being said, my practice previous to the frustrating one was incredible. The instructor passed out chanting scripts, something I had never done before. I did the “om” at the beginning and was just open to the chanting bit. Didn’t feel comfortable jumping in since I didn’t know the words or tune, but pretty much everyone else was into it. Everyone followed a series of flow moves after that at their own pace and it flew by. I’ll never forget how relaxed I felt at the end of that slow flow, where I practically melted into the mat after the instructor placed a blanket on everyone in savasana.

Overall I’d give the studio a pretty good rating though. I’d like to go back there at some point, but for now I’ve got more places to explore!

Up next? Brickhouse Gym fitness boot camp. Let’s just say I almost threw up after round one. Here’s hoping I get in better shape soon!

Three visits to YMCA downtown

Take a spin at the YMCA downtown.

Whew, long time no post! That’s because I’ve been busy sweating up a storm at YMCA downtown. I’m currently taking advantage of a free two-week trial as part of CBC’s Live Right Now promotion.

To sign up, all you have to do is print out your profile page (register on cbc.ca), present it to your Y location of choice and the YMCA staff hand over an application form to fill out. The card printer was broken when I went, but they were good about lending me a temporary card so that I could use the lockers.

My first visit was last Friday, where I did some work with weights. Navigating the massive three-floor gym & change room was a bit intimidating at first, but at least there’s lots to look at and it gives you a pretty awesome idea about all the activities available at this location.

Visit #1: I did my usual three laps of brisk walking around the track to get my heart rate up. It overlooks the rows of equipment on the second floor and the uber busy gym full of adolescent boys playing basketball. Next, I ventured into the male-dominated weights area (I think I was the only female there at the time!) and found a set of 5 lb weights, nice. I tucked myself into a little corner under the stairs where I found my old faithful, the bosu, and did a short series of exercises that left me quite sore the next day (my own fault for not stretching properly!) It was all fine and good, if a little cramped, except some of the people pumping iron around me were a little odd (ie. one guy making LOUD grunting noises  every time he lifted the barbell, and another guy who didn’t understand the concept of deodorant). As a car owner, I had to cut my workout short and rush back to the car before my parking expired, one downside to visiting the downtown Y…unless the Y offers free parking somewhere and I’m oblivious. Enlighten me!

Visit #2: Despite my extreme lack of motivation from “springing forward,” I bit the bullet and opted for some stretching and cardio on one of the elliptical machines last Sunday. They were really clean, modern and easy to use. I *LOVE* that most of them had a personal tv set attached to each machine. The time seemed to fly by as I indulged in Slice, CBC’s doc zone and the Food Network. The treadmills, stationary bikes, ellipticals, arc trainers etc. are all clumped together, which is a little uncomfortable at first (if you’re sensitive about personal space!), but once you get into your own zone it’s all good from there. When I was stretching before & after, I noticed there is a large supply of exercise balls, bosus and tubing that looked like they were in good condition. I think the gym could use a wee bit more space for stretching and some more mats, since it seems to be a popular area.

Visit #3: I decided to challenge myself and take a spin class (an instructor-led workout on a stationary bike where you pedal standing up/sitting down at various intensities) for my first time ever yesterday. I’ve heard they are murder and have always shied away from the sweaty, cardio-heavy workout, but this blog is all about exploring different fitness avenues. The Y staff were really friendly about pointing me in the direction of the class and suggested I chat to the teacher before starting. The instructor went through proper bike set up before cranking up the music to this invigorating workout. I’m used to taking classes in a separate studio at the gym, but here, it’s held in the main equipment area. There were definitely a lot of curious exercisers watching our class as we went. I took it easy on the tension at first, unsure of my personal cardio stamina. I lasted the whole class (a number of people clock out before the finish) and toward the end started really cranking up the intensity to match the teacher’s pace. She followed up with me again after the class to see what I thought, which was awesome. I quite enjoyed it (even though my rear is super sore today!) and would go again just to mix it up! I highly recommend trying it for some variety and if you want to sculpt your pins for the not-so-far-away shorts & swimsuit season.

Overall? Loving the Y so far! I’d like to try the pool this weekend. There is so much to do and membership is only $39 a month for adults. I’m also told the rate can be reduced if you’re a low income-earner, making it an excellent affordable fitness option in Winnipeg.

Leisure guide & discounted yoga/pilates pass

Registration for summer leisure programs starts Mon, Mar 14, 9 am.

Good news! I signed up for the YMCA downtown on Friday for my two week trial pass. It’s getting late, so I’ll save my impressions on that experience for my next post.

For this post, I want to just send two quick reminders:

1) TeamBuy.ca is offering a discounted 10-class package to Yoga, Pilates & More for $35 (Reg. $130). I’ve actually been there before (it’s in the south end of the city) for a $5 drop-in class open house and from what I remember, it’s actually quite cute. The first time drop-in rate is only $5, so take advantage of that if you want to test the waters.

The studio itself is not super massive, but it’s very clean, mod and the yoga teacher had a nice demeanor to her. I do remember there being some new age-y music in the class, which I had trouble not laughing at during savasana at the end. Anyway, if you’re out in this neck of the woods I’d recommend this studio. What I love about the schedule is there are other classes available, like Zumba and bosu to offer some variety. One downside is the schedule heavily favours 9-5ers…there aren’t any daytime/early am options if that fits in with your schedule better, so keep that in mind.

2) Leisure guide registration starts tomorrow! I typically sign up for one class in fall and one in winter. Since I am moving to a new neighbourhood soon and pursuing this blog, I won’t be registering tomorrow. That being said, the Leisure Guide is one of my favourite resources for fitness activities. The registration fees are affordable (my bosu class is typically under $70 for 10 classes, that’s less than $10 a visit!)

I would defo take a browse through the online catalogue (if you haven’t already) and pick something new…think of it as spring cleaning your workout routine. Some people find scheduling a regular class restricting. I find it assuring that I have this block of time reserved for exercise, so I KNOW it will get done. Tuesday is my last bosu/cardio class of the winter session and I made it for 10/10 classes. I haven’t done that for awhile! The kettle bell fitness course interests me as it’s supposed to be the hot new fitness toy. My bosu/cardio class is up for sign-up again, but I typically start tennis clinic on Tuesdays come May, so that’s it for that class.

Let me know what course you signed up for in the comments!

 

WagJag yoga classes & free YMCA pass

All set to try out YMCA Downtown through CBC's Live Right Now program

Unlike other group buying sites, WagJag appears to let their deals run for a number of days. There’s one for 10 yoga classes for $49 (Reg $130) at Winnipeg Yoga Shala that ends in a few days. It’s a studio I am unfamiliar with but am curious about trying. Has anyone ever been there? They’ve got a unique “MySore” program that encourages individual practice with teacher assistance and supervision.

If you’re hesitant to part with $49 off the hop, check the studio out for a mere $5 first class. There are new student specials (not sure if they literally mean student of a university or if they are calling members students…) that are pretty decent: $50 for one month unlimited (including MySore) and $150 for three months for the MySore program (Reg $375). Unfortunately, the $5 first time class does not apply to the MySore program–one month is $135.

My goal for March was to work out a dozen times this month. I failed last week by only going once (blaming a particularly annoying visit from Aunt Flo for that).

However, I filled in the paper work for a two-week free trial of the YMCA downtown through CBC’s Live Right Now program after work today. The pool looks great and I can’t wait to try some classes as well! It looks like there are lots of different cardio and weight machine options should I feel like mixing up my routine. Generally, I’m not a machine person but throwing them in the mix here and there works fine. I plan on heading for my first session tomorrow after work and then again sometime on the weekend to make up for last week’s laziness.

Hey, we’re all human so I won’t beat myself too much about skimping on the exercise this month. I’m determined to beat the never-ending winter blahs and this blog is just the motivation I need to make sure I keep to it!

 

 

Eight ladies-only fitness specials at Images Fitness Centre

Ladies only fitness deals at Images Fitness Centre

If you missed it in your inbox yesterday, there’s an excellent deal through Groupon for 10 yoga classes or one-month unlimited access membership at Image Fitness, a women’s fitness centre on Ness Ave. I like the all-women’s aspect, particuarly when it comes to the weights area. I always feel like a strange intruder with my mini biceps and 5 lb free weights around the congregation of big, beefy men pumping iron.

With this particular deal you can either choose a one-month membership to the gym (including access to aerobics classes) for $29 ($69 value) or a 10-class yoga pass for $49 ($110 value).

But wait, there are more deals to be had at this centre!

Ladies under 18 can get one month’s worth of access + 5 yoga classes for $59 (Reg $109), +18 ladies get the same option for $65 (Reg. $114).

Three months of unlimited yoga are available for $199 to members, $249 for non-members.

One month’s unlimited personal training is also on special for $399 (30 min session) or $499 (60 min sessions). I feel like there is more to this particular promotion than meets the eye, but since it’s out of my price range at the mo’ I’ll leave the adventure up to you to discover.