Friday, October 19, 2012

October News

Get Your Updog on Yoga Studios  

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 
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 $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 
A Change of Pace: The ElliptiGO
 Picture courtesy

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
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.
Side plank 
side plank2 
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.

med ball pushup

ball pushup
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.

bosu arc obl

arc obl2
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.

stretch back med ball

stretch back med ball2
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.      

bosu side crunch

side crunch bosu2

Sunday, August 12, 2012

August News

Congrats to everyone who ran the Chicago Half Marathon in July! Stephanie Dewald ran a terrific race representing Team PAWS Chicago.  Well done Dewald!

We would also like to wish our MAT client, Croatian ATP player Ante Pavic, good luck with his upcoming hard court season.  If you're a tennis fan, watch for him to climb the rankings! Go Ante!

The West Loop Fitcamp has one more month of classes in Mary Bartleme Park (corner of Peoria and Adams). Lars Petersen incorporates cardio, strength and agility into each class guaranteed to make you sweat! Fitness classes are Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 6am running through September. In addition, this year for yoga we have partnered up with Vessel Yoga. Margo Kellison and her instructors will be holding yoga classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7am, Fridays at 5:30pm and Sundays at 11am. Bring your own mat and water. Classes are 5 for $45. Sign up on If you'd like to try a complimentary class, contact me directly to reserve a spot.

Yours in Health,

Stephanie Turner

4 Must Do Leg Moves 

It's the same old excuse, "I can do upper body, but I don't have time for legs." I frequently hear this from my runners and triathletes. But it's not really the truth, most runners simply don't want to be sore from a leg workout. I get it, I felt the same way when I trained for marathons. But making time to a few exercises can increase your speed and performance level. Don't you want to feel lighter on your feet with stronger legs? It's simple and easing into a routine can make all of the difference. Here are 4 of my favorite exercises to you you started:  
1. TRX Single Leg Squats: Start standing with one leg off the ground and slowly lower yourself down to almost a 90 degree bend in your standing leg. Make sure you sit back and press through your heel as you return to a standing position. Do 3 sets 10-15 reps on each side.  
  trxsquat trxsquat2  
2. Standing Cable Hamstring Curls:  One foot is on the ground or standing on a block. Attach the other leg to the ankle strap on the cables, bend the knee to about 90 degrees with the foot relaxed, then return to the extended leg position. Repeat 3 sets of 10-15 reps on each side.
ham2 ham1
3. Cable Hip Abduction:  Forget the outer thigh machines at the gym! Your hips and knees are bent in those machines, which takes away from the muscles that you should really be working. The cables are the best for hip abduction and isolating the gluteus medius. Make sure you keep your hips square to the wall in front of you, with your leg straight slightly abduct your leg without hiking up the hips. Do 3 sets of 10-15 reps each side. 
hipabd1 hipabd2  
4. Lateral Lunge Touch: This is the perfect warm up exercise. You're working a little bit of flexibility through your adductors as well as getting your glutes fired with the lateral push off. Keeping the middle leg straight, alternate your right and left lunging with or without weights. Make sure you press through the heel to get more gluteal firing. Do 3 sets of 20-30 reps.
sidelunge sidelunge2  sidelunge3

The New Improved Foam Roller
Foam Roller
 Picture courtesy

How many times have you heard to roll out your IT band? And how many times have you not done it because it's too painful? Muscle Kneader to the rescue! Seriously. Made by a local company here in Chicago, the Muscle Kneader is the answer to your pain threshold issues. I've tried it myself and it is much less painful than using the original foam roller. With options for 3 different sizes, the extra cushioned roller makes a good travel companion and comes with a DVD full of exercises for every body part. If that's not enough, the company Foam Motion Fitness has announced that the Muscle Kneader will be in the official 2012 Emmy gift bags. Get it while it's hot! Cost $40. 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

West Loop Fitcamp is back!

We will be starting our West Loop Fitcamp classes again this summer in Mary Bartleme Park on Monday, May 21st!

When: Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 6am to 7am.

Where: SE corner of Mary Bartelme Park (on the corner of Adams and Peoria)

Bring: water, mat and towel

All sessions will be a full body workout. Get ready to sweat and have fun!
For more information contact Stephanie Turner 312.523.3131

Monday, April 16, 2012

20 Minute Workout

Sometimes it's not easy to get your full workout in, especially if you're under a time restriction. But if you can find 20 minutes, it's still possible to do a full body circuit workout. The best thing about circuits is that they keep you moving with little to no rest between exercises. Your heart rate stays up as if you were doing cardio. Check out this full body routine. All you will need is a stability ball and free weights!

1. Squat Jumps: A terrific way to do a cardio burst! Stand with feet shoulder width apart doing a regular squat and then exploding up as if you're reaching for the ceiling. Do 3 sets 10-15 reps.

sjump1 sjump2
2. V-Hold with Rotation: You can do this with weights in place of the medicine ball here. I wouldn't use more than 5-10 pounds. Sitting on your tailbone with your legs bent (you can extend the legs for an advanced position), rotate your arms from side to side. Make sure to keep your chest up so your shoulders are staying back. Repeat 3 sets of 12-24 repetitions.

vhold vhold2
3. Dumbbell Chest Fly on Stability Ball: Walk yourself out on the stability ball so that your head is resting comfortably. Using dumbbells starting with arms straight above you and elbows slightly bent, lower the weights down so they are even with your shoulders. Do 3 sets of 12-15 reps.
ballfly1 ballfly2
4. Single Arm Reverse Fly: This is one of my favorite exercises because it involves your whole core and can give you some great upper back definition! Remember to keep shoulders and hips square to the bench. Your knee will always be down on the same side you're doing your reverse fly. Squeeze that shoulder blade in toward the spine on each repetition. Do 3 sets of 10-15 reps each side.
1armreardelt1 1armreardelt2

5. Tricep Push-Ups: You can either do the modified version that's pictured or the advanced version with your knees up and your feet on the ground. The difference between these and regular push-ups is that your elbows stay close to your body. Remember to keep your abs tight as you lower so your lower back is supported. Do 3 sets of 10-20 reps.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Can Yoga Increase Your Risk of Injury?

If you didn't see the New York Times article about injuries from yoga, you should check it out. It has been a big controversy in the fitness community over the past few weeks. In a nutshell, the article presents the reader with the risks associated with yoga. Including but not limited to spine, knee and shoulder injuries, as well as certain positions putting students at risk for potential strokes.

Since I have been practicing yoga myself for 1-2 times per week, my clients have asked me for my opinion on the content of the article. I have to say I agree that there is significant risk when you take a yoga class, let alone a group exercise class. My position is that you are in fact in a GROUP exercise class. The instructors don't really know your body individually, so they shouldn't be adjusting you past your range of motion that you may or may not be able to achieve. We all have our limitations and usually we know what they are. For example, when I have trained someone, I know what they can and can't do. I understand what their limitations are because I have looked at their body using MAT (muscle activation techniques) and I am always keeping that in mind as we go through our workouts. However, we need to remember that is an individualized session (one on one), so it should be catered towards your personal needs.

So when my clients and friends ask me about taking a yoga (even pilates) classes, I tell them this: it is your responsibility when you take yoga (or any other classes) to say no or raise your hand at the beginning of class if you do not want to be adjusted. When you chose to take classes like that, you need to remember the one thing that it's about...leave your ego at the door! It's not what you do, but how you feel when you do it. Ask it making you stronger? Is it helping your balance? Are you challenged or are you overwhelmed with the thought of even getting into a pose? If you feel overwhelmed, then you should know what to do...try to come to terms with your physical limitations. If you feel like something is going to hurt or injure you, then it may be possible. You know your body the best!

And once again...leave your ego at the door. I do, and that's why I will keep doing yoga.


Monday, January 9, 2012

Getting Ready for Ski Season

Here's hoping that they actually get some snow out in Colorado before I hit the slopes next month! With that said, I have started my core and leg training for the trip. Nothing trains you better than being out in the mountains, but there are some great moves you can do in the gym to improve your performance for skiing and snowboarding.

1) Ski Slide Lateral Lunges: Stand with one leg on the ground and the other leg on the slide (you can also use the Val-slides for this move). No weights needed here until you get used to the range of motion. Keeping most of your weight through the foot on the ground, slowly slide your leg out to a comfortable position, then using the leg on the ground, pushing through your heel, work your way back up to a standing position. Do 3 sets of 12-15 reps on each side.

slide1 slide2

2) Lateral Bosu Jumps: Start with one leg on the bosu and one leg off the ground. Push off and jump laterally to the other side. Use the bosu to push off and get more height in your jumps. Do 3 sets of 20-30 reps.

Lateral Bosu Jumps
Lateral Bosu Jumps

3) Pushup Push-offs: One of my favorite moves! If you tend to fall snowboarding, this will prepare your upper body. You will need a stable bench or Smith Press for this exercise. If you have any issues with your shoulder, you should skip this one. You can do this exercise on one leg or two (two legs is actually tougher). Start on one leg with the bar set to the second lowest setting. Let yourself fall to the bar catching yourself with your arms and pushing yourself back up to your starting position. Do 3 sets of 8-10 each side.

Pushup PushOff on Smith Press
Pushup PushOff on Smith Press

4) Single Leg Squats: Yes, I know you've seen these before on my newsletter, but they are the best! Stand tall and bend from the knees and hips keeping the foot flat, reach for the ground with both hands and then return to your starting position. Do 3 sets of 12-15 reps on each side.

ssquat1 ssquat2

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Fit Up 2012 Personal Training Deals

Are you ready to make some changes for 2012? We've got the perfect personal training packages to make sure you commit to fitness for 2012!

To sign up call 312.523.3131 or go to

Redefine Yourself

3 times a week $715 for one month ($55/hour)

3 times a week $1378 for 2 months ($53/hour)

3 times a week $1450 for 3 months ($50/hour)

Lose It Tone It

2 times a week $540 for one month ($60/hour)

2 times a week for 2 months ($57/hour)

2 times a week for 3 months ($55/hour)

Jump Start

1 time a week $260 for a month ($65/hour)

1 time a week $496 for 2 months ($62/hour)

1 time a week for $720 3 months ($60/hour)