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?

 

Live and learn

After doing mat work, take a moment lie on your right side before pushing up into a seated/standing position.

After doing mat work, take a moment to lie on your right side before pushing up into a seated/standing position.

I’m happy to say that I’ve been doing multiple workouts each week since the new year. I didn’t make it to three last week as my 30/20/10 class was cancelled, but hey, two is till better than none!

My workouts will have to hold off until the weekend as I am currently recovering from some teeth extractions and I was told to sit on the couch and relax for the next 2-3 days–oral surgeon’s orders. Apparently if I get my heart rate up that can do something to my blood, possibly dislodging the blood clots that are oh-so-important to the healing process. So that means I have spare time to blog.

In my last few practices (and I will blog about those later–both some good and bad), I learned two new things about yoga (You really do keep learning no matter how long you have been practicing!)

1) After a savasana session, we are always told to roll on our right side. Why? I assumed it was because most people are right handed so it was easier to push up from that side of the body (silly me!) A teacher at yoga public recently solved the mystery. Our heart is on the left side of our body, so when we lie on our right, that allows the blood to flow freely down into the body from the heart.

2) Why do we lie on our side (with our right arm under head supporting it) before getting up? Again, a different instructor at Yoga Public explained that when we lie on our back during savasana or during mat work, the blood can pool up and around our heads. If we get up too quickly without letting the blood circulate, this can result in a light-headed, dizzy feeling. Lying on our side, again, helps circulate the blood evenly away from the head.

I will keep these tidbits in mind during my future workouts. I hope you were able to learn something new too! If not, thanks for reading and feel free to share any of your favourite workout tidbits.

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.

Two fab fitness deals

Group classes are included in the Good Life Fitness Wagjag deal.

The reason for my lack of posts is my lack of exercise. I think about it every day and am not quite sure how I slipped into a slump, other than a whole slew of recent big changes. Excuses are a waste of time though. It’s time to get back into fitness! So this week, I’ve made a promise to myself to use my Wagjag voucher and check out Goodlife Fitness on Sargent on Tue evening. I’m excited to get back off the couch. It’s going to be a little sore at first but our bodies have pretty good muscle memory, so I’ll be back in the swing of things before I know it.

In the meantime, for those of you who are looking for ways to stay fit as the temperatures start to plummet (shiver), there are two great deals out there on WagJag and groupon.

The first? $22 for an unlimited gym pass for one month at GoodLife Fitness for women, both the Sargent and McPhillips locations (you choose). I’ve tried out the mens/womens Goodlife Fitness once and my experience was ok, but I don’t like to make a defined opinion until I’ve visited around 3 times at least. I look forward to the women’s-only aspect of it, as sometimes I find the beefy dudes by the weights a little intimidating.

Secondly, yoga buffs will want to take advantage of a half-price yoga class pass at Images Fitness. I’m tempted to pick this one up as it’s right by my place. You get 10 hot yoga or other yoga classes for $55, a steal! The schedule looks varied and there are lots of options, so it definitely seems like a good option.

In the meantime, my 2011 Lifestyle Pass expires tomorrow. I just saw on facebook that the new ones are out, so keep your eyes peeled! There were a few more fitness activities I would have liked to take advantage of before it expired but I look forward to seeing what the new booklet has to offer. I did take advantage of a non-fitness deal and picked up a buy two get one free meal deal from Supper Central and I’m heating up the lasanga as we speak! It looks like a pretty neat concept for busy families/working folks like myself– have you ever tried it before? You can either get ingredients for meals assembled for pick-up or delivery w/instructions on how to make each dish, or you can go to there and assemble meal packs yourself (that come with take-home instructions) and save a $7.50 assembly fee. I think it’s a great idea as no food goes to waste, you don’t have to battle grocery store crowds, there’s never the dreaded “crap, I’m missing an ingredient!” moments, cooking directions are simple and specific, and the nutritional breakdown for each meal is available.

With that being said, I’m going to tidy up the kitchen and get a veggie side dish ready to go with the meal. Happy Sunday and pre-Halloween!

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.

 

Groupon yoga

Work on your triangle pose at Yoga North.

Just thought I’d sneak it in there quickly that Groupon is offering an awesome deal at one of the city’s most respected yoga studios: Yoga North. I attended a class there through Passport to Prana and was quite pleased with the instruction, my only gripe being that you can’t bring water into the studio. Hydration is part of the exercising process and it’s the only studio I’ve encountered thus far where water bottles are banned (I don’t remember seeing a water fountain in there either), so it baffles me slightly. I wish there was a little nook where you could sneak over to your water bottle for a drink away from the practice area, as I understand the studio’s efforts to avoid spills and accidents. Aside from that small blip, it’s top notch. There are two affordable options on Groupon: snag one month of unlimited yoga for $59 or a ten-class pass for $59. You save $5 more off the ten-class pass deal, plus it’s a more flexible option so naturally it’s the more popular choice. The deal is on for two days so there is lots of times to snap up a pass if you need to sleep on it.

I drove by the Zumba/Good Life Fitness folks at the cube stage on the way to a carb-happy Ukrainian lunch (oh, the irony!) and noticed the workout group was pretty small. The instructor was pretty lively and the folks who participated get brave points for essentially being the lunchtime entertainment for a small crowd that watched on as they ate their yummy lunches, like poutine from Smoke’s Poutinerie.

But I digress!

I didn’t swim at the lake this weekend, but I did squeeze in some tennis with family on Sunday evening and attended yoga in the park yet again last Thursday. Tomorrow I’ve got a tennis lesson and Wednesday I’m going rollerblading, so at least I’m getting SOME regular exercise, just not enough in my humble opinion. But I won’t beat myself up about and I’ll keep trying my best!

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!

 

 

Free yoga classes & $1 yoga classes

Now that summer has arrived, there are plenty of outdoor yoga classes to take join.

Just a reminder that there is a free yoga class taking place in Memorial Park today at noon. Read more here. I showed up a little too late (blaming it on construction traffic) to make it last week (the sky was dark and scary too), but my co-worker and I are ready to go today!

Also, if you’re looking for low-cost yoga classes, dealfind has them on 20 for $20 (reg $160) at Centered Yoga & Fitness in River Heights. Drawbacks? Well, classes are only Mon & Wed from 6:30-8:30. Also, you have to make an appointment before attending. Dropping in just so much more convenient, don’t ya think?

Also, a quick preview on some upcoming posts:

-Review of Sustainable Fitness TRX boot camps

-$5 outdoor yoga class next week led by Moksha Yoga

-How to score dozens of FREE yoga classes with the click of a button

-Free outdoor yoga & running clinics at Assiniboine Park on Sundays

And I’ve got tons more up my sleeve. Stay tuned and thanks for reading!

 

Back to boot camp!

My soon-to-be bike for comfy summer cycling!

I head back to my TRX suspension boot camp tonight. At least now I’ve been once so I know what to expect. I’m going to be extra diligent with stretching and drinking lots of water so that I don’t end up so sore.

Tennis lessons are also on the horizon for tomorrow, as long as it doesn’t rain. Fingers crossed. I have not played enough tennis this year.

I’m also going to pick up the beautiful bike pictured so that I can start cycling again! It’s been too long since I had a bike. Bikes are a big investment, but if you choose the one that’s right for your needs they are affordable when you consider the cost per ride. If you aren’t using it as a main mode of transportation then there’s no need to drop a large amount. My bike is free thanks to an awesome contest I recently won through St. Vital Centre. I’m so excited to get it!

On a final note, there are two boot camp/conditioning fitness deals out there that I’ll point out in case you missed them.

Groupon is offering 10 outdoor fitness classes through Lure Outdoor Fitness for $39 (reg $100). Classes are held at The Forks or Assiniboine Park as weather permits, so you get a nice backdrop! I’m not sure I’d gamble on paying for outdoor classes given the crappy weather recently, but I’m sure that when it’s nice out, it’s REALLY nice to exercise in the great outdoors. It looks like there’s a wide variety to choose from, including yoga, dance and cardio strength.

WagJag has a deal on with Advantage Conditioning (2020 Portage Ave) for a four-week boot camp (12 total) plus fitness assessment for $64 (reg $161). They are held outdoors, so workouts happen rain or shine. Also, it looks like you have to bring a fair amount of equipment, which I’m not really a fan of. One nice thing about the program is you get a follow up every four weeks plus an at-home regime. Now that’s going the extra mile!

What summer activities are you taking part in? Drop me a comment!