After a brief hiatus my inner yogi has resurfaced. Nothing like a little standing splits or eagle pose to make you realize your balance is off. But two classes in, and I felt like I was back in the groove! Sometimes you need a little break to appreciate how much yoga can benefit your coordination, proprioception, strength and overall mental well being. In my quest for some variety here's what I checked out:
Barefeet Yoga: New to the West Loop, this heated studio is still growing expanding instructors and schedule. The owner Robin taught both classes I took called Turn It Updog and Hot Yoga. Turn It Updog was a faster pace flow set to pop and soul music. Definitely fun if you're in the mood for it! The Hot Yoga class was a simple Vinyasa flow that any level would feel comfortable taking. Classes are $15/class and price goes down as you buy more class packages. More info atwww.barefeetpoweryoga.com
Om On the Range: My favorite heated vinyasa yoga studio! Give me a nice long "OOOOMMMM" at the beginning and end of each of their classes. It really makes you focus and set your intention for an hour. Annie and Whitney are my favorite instructors (they laugh with you, not at you, when you wipe out trying an inversion). Check out the Bucktown studio www.omontherange.net. $15/class and $12/class for a package of 10.
Vessel Yoga: If you're not up for the whole heated yoga class, Margo Kellison has some terrific classes. With 3 different levels to choose from, Vessel Yoga is the perfect place to begin your practice. If you want a physically challenging class that gives meaning to your day, check it out! $15/class and $13/class for a 10 pack. Go towww.vesselyogachicago.com
Looking for something to shake up your outdoor workouts? Try the ElliptiGO instead of your bike for some quality time with nature. Highly recommended for athletes just getting over an injury with less impact on the body than running, the ElliptiGO can climb any hills you would attempt on bicycle. For an alternative when it gets cold outside, purchase the stationary accessory and workout inside at home. For the same price as an indoor elliptical it's a terrific option! More info on www.elliptigo.com.
What Muffin Top?
Okay, maybe that's not the phrase everyone likes to use, but we all know what I'm talking about. Whether you have a little excess on your abdomen, or for men the dreaded "love handles", everyone can use some work on the midsection. Even if you feel like your abs are perfect, these exercises can be used as a core warm up before cardio to get everything activated before you get moving.
1) Scissor Side Planks: Start in a regular side plank position, making sure to keep your hips up and square. Slowly raise your leg up and hold for 15-30 seconds. Repeat each side 3 times.
2) Medicine Ball Push Ups: With one hand on the medicine ball, lower yourself down so your arm is at a 90 degree angle and then push back up. If you want more of a challenge, roll the ball alternating hands between each push up. Do 3 sets of 12-20 reps.
3) Medicine Ball Obliques on the Bosu: This is one of my favorite moves, but really be careful how far your stretch back with the ball. Start with a lighter ball (2-5 lbs) and angle off to one side stretching back, then lift and extend over toward your opposite knee in an arc movement. Do each side independently for 15 reps. Repeat 3 times.
4) Stretch Back Crunches with Adductor Isometric: Hello adductors! This is a terrific exercise because it gets your inner thighs and lower abs more involved. Use one ball between your knees to squeeze and one ball to stretch back with arms extended. Lift up reaching toward your toes with your shoulder blades off the ground. Do 3 sets of 20-30 reps.
5) Bosu Side Crunches: The focus is your oblique muscles as well as your spinal erectors. Start side lying on the Bosu with the bottom leg bent, slowly side crunch up. Make sure just to stick to the range of motion that feels comfortable so you can really isolate those muscles. Do 3 sets of 10-15 reps on each side.
One of the top fitness trainers in Chicago for ten-plus years. With eight years of personal training and management experience at one of the Gold Coast’s most exclusive clubs, Stephanie started her own business in 2004. She moved to the city in 1993 to attend DePaul University on a tennis scholarship and graduated in 1997 with degrees in Fitness Management and Athletic Training. During her years at DePaul, she was on the Great Midwest All Conference Team, DePaul Athletic Board, Conference USA Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and Captain of the Women’s Tennis Team for two years.
Starting at a young age playing competitive tennis, health and fitness have always played a significant role in Stephanie’s life. Her goal with each client is to provide guidance to a healthy and active lifestyle... and when they are committed to feeling fit and staying fit, she knows she's acheived success.
Stephanie has worked with both professional athletes and the general public, focusing on such things as: sports-specific training, sports rehabilitation, Muscle Activation Techniques, bridal fitness, pre/post partum training, weight loss, marathon training, scoliosis and arthritis.
Ski Slide (or side shuffles) for 45 sec. to 1 min. Plank Ups on slide board or climbers (10-20 reps) Front Raise with yellow or green band (12-15 reps) Reverse Fly prone on stability ball (12-15 reps)
Forward Walking Lunge with 1 Arm Shoulder Press (30 reps total/15 each side) Low to Hi Cable Rotation (12 reps each side) Lower Abdominal Twists (15-20 reps each side) Overhead Rope Tricep Extensions on Stability Ball (12-15 reps) Tricep Pushdowns w/ Bar (12-15 reps)
Push Ups on Bosu (10-15 reps) Reverse Crunches on Ground (15-25 reps) Medicine Ball Stretch Back Crunches on Stability Ball (15-25 reps) Side Plank Holds (20-45 sec. each side)
Repeat each circuit 3 times
Alternating Arm Cable Chest Press (30 reps total) Oblique Crunches on Bosu (20-30 reps) Reverse Lunge/One Arm Shoulder Press Balance (12-15 reps each side) Jump Rope (1 min) Reverse Grip Lat Pulldown (12-15 reps) Seated Leg Curl (12-15 reps) Single Arm Bent Over Row on 1 leg (12 reps each side) Seated Adductor Machine (12-15 reps) Bicycle Abs with Upper Body Twist (20-30 reps) Prone Glute Extensions on Ball or floor (15 reps each side)
Repeat 3 times
Single Leg Squat Shoulder Press (12-15 reps each side) V-ups (15-20 reps) Side Walks w/ Circle Band (15 walks each side) Rope or Wide Grip Cable Row (12-15 reps) Step Ups (45-60 secs.) Side Planks w/ Hip Lift (12-15 each side) Incline Dumbell Chest Press (12-15 reps) Alternating Forward/Side Lunges (8-10 reps each side) Lower Abs Scissors (20-30 reps) Single Arm Rope Tricep Extension (12-15 reps each side) Cable Bicep Curls with Bar (12-15 reps) Squat or Box Jumps (12 reps)
Repeat 3 times
Alternating Cable Chest Press (12-15 reps) Bent Over Dumbell Row (12-15 reps) Plie Squats (15 reps) Decline Crunches on the Bosu (20-25 reps) One Arm Lateral Raise on One Leg (or balance on 1/2 foam, 12 reps) Lunge Jumps (16 reps) Side Bends on Ball or machine (15 reps each side) Lat Pulldown on Ball (12-15 reps) Dumbell Tricep Kickbacks (12-15 reps) Lateral Jumps touching cones or ground (20 reps) Bicep Curl with One Arm Hold (12 reps each side)
Repeat 3 times
Single Arm Chest Press on the Ball (10-15 reps) Alternating Oblique Crunches on Ball (20-30 reps) Single Leg Squats touching ground (10-15 reps each side) Pull-ups (10-15 reps) Cable Low Row (10-15 reps) Jump Rope (1 minute) Alternating Reverse Lunges w/ Bicep Curl (20-30 reps) Push-ups (12-15 reps) Prone Leg Curl (10-15 reps) Single Leg Press (10-15 reps)