Health

Unique Yoga Classes in Chicago this Summer

Yoga in Chicago

With the International Day of Yoga coming up on June 21, I thought I’d compile a list of all of the interesting places to do Yoga in the city of Chicago!

 

1. Yoga at Millennium Park – free

Every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from June 2-September 1, Millennium Park hosts a free yoga class in the lawn at Pritzker Pavilion. The Tuesday and Thursday classes begin at 7:30am and run until 8:15am. On Saturdays, yoga is at 8am – and a few other classes are hosted as well: Pilates at 7am, Strength Training at 9am, and Zumba at 10am.

 

2. Yoga at Lincoln Park Zoo – $20 (register online ahead of time)

Between April 29 and September 30, Lincoln Park Zoo hosts classes multiple days of the week. They have Happy Bodies Yoga, Power Vinyasa Yoga, Vinyasa Yoga, Parent and Toddler Yoga, and Meditation Mondays. In addition to yoga, you can take Running & Conditioning Training and Interval Circuit Training. You can find the full schedule here.

 

3. 360 Sky Yoga – $15 (register online ahead of time)

On Saturdays from 9am – 10am, bring your mat to the 94th floor of the John Hancock Building! This class sells out every week, so make sure you check out their schedule and get your tickets ahead of time! The price of registration includes a ticket to the 360 Skydeck, so you can stay after and look around. I’m attending class on June 30, so let me know if you’re going, too!

 

4. Hip Hop Yoga at City Winery on June 23 – $25 (register online ahead of time)

City Winery is hosting a 60 minute hip hop yoga class called “Warriors & Mimosas”. There will be two classes on June 23, and if you miss them check back to their website! I think I’ve seen it listed a few times here and there. After class they serve mimosas and have a raffle for goodies! Register here.

 

5. Sunrise Stretch and Yoga Cruise – $35 (register online ahead of time)

Every other Sunday between June 17 and August 12 from 8am – 9am, Chicago’s First Lady Cruises will be hosting a 45 minute yoga session, followed by a 15 minute boat ride! It’s very likely to sell out, so get your tickets here!

 

6. Sunset Yoga at Navy Pier – free

So this one I hadn’t heard about until a fellow bbg’er named Jenn brought it to my attention! This sunset yoga class is at the City Stage in Polk Bros Park on Tuesdays, and goes from 7:30pm until 8:30pm. The park is right near the lake, so the view is awesome! So you can start your Tuesday off with yoga at Millennium Park, and end it with yoga at Navy Pier 🙂 More info and schedules are listed here!

 

All of these events are BYOM (bring your own mat)!

 

Do you know of any other cool yoga classes happening in the city this Summer? Are you looking to switch up your workout routine? Check out what I’m doing here!

 

Unique Yoga Classes in Chicago

PWR by Kelsey Wells: Week 6 Review

PWR by Kelsey Wells Review

Hi! It’s Megan – and I know my way around the weight room (thanks to Kelsey Wells).

 

About six weeks ago, I began an exercise program called PWR (available in the Sweat App). You can read more about my journey up to this point in my previous post: “PWR by Kelsey Wells, Week 1 Review”. I first want to say that I am so thankful to Kayla Itsines and her fiancé Tobi for creating the Sweat App and BBG workouts. (If you’re not sure what BBG is, read about it here). They have given me the tools to become a much happier and healthier version of myself. I am now on my 55th week of working out regularly, and I could not be more thankful. Having said that, I am not one for jumping (I used to cheer, tumble, dance and run track – these joints ain’t what they used to be). I am now so grateful to Kelsey Wells for developing this gym-based workout program that has made me comfortable in the weight room.

 

This post contains affiliate links with Amazon.com. If you purchase through the link below, I will make a small referral commission at no additional cost to you. My opinion of the product is unsolicited and all truly my own. I purchased the product for my own use, and am just sharing my recommendation with you!

 

What these last 6 weeks have taught me

I really enjoy lifting weights! One thing that I was concerned about moving from cardio-like movements to weight lifting, was if I would still reach my target heart rate. I can fully attest to this not being an issue! According to my Fitbit Blaze, I have even burned more calories per session than I was toward the end of my last round of BBG. This is probably because I was becoming lazy in that last round, but tomato, tomahto.

 

In the beginning of PWR, I was a little uncomfortable if I was the only woman in the weight section, but now I honestly don’t even notice. My gym is extremely busy after work, so I try (try) to workout in the mornings, but… that doesn’t always happen. That’s a goal for me for the next six weeks.

 

Finally, one thing that I really enjoy in PWR vs BBG are the muscle groups I’m working out. I am so happy to be doing workouts targeting my back and triceps, because I didn’t feel BBG did enough of that. However, I did enjoy BBG’s ab days a little more. With regards to ab days, Kelsey says:

 

I train abs just once a week, if that! But what many don’t realize, is that if you are using correct form, you are actually training your core each and every workout!! 👊🏼⚡💪🏼

 

Kelsey Wells

Okay, I have a serious boss-lady-crush on Kelsey Wells. She is constantly showing that muscles are feminine, and you shouldn’t be afraid to be strong. She is very open about her anxiety and mental health, and how she is able to rise above with diet and exercise. I should also mention she has the most adorable little boy, and she’s not just #bossladygoals but also #momgoals. You can check out her website here, and I’d recommend following her on Instagram! @KelseyWells. She posts a lot of additional workout videos on her Instagram page for days when you don’t have time for a full PWR session, or you’re looking for an additional challenge.

 

A few more things

Because I had never really worked out with weights in the past, I always thought it was funny that people wore weight lifting gloves. I would think “oh, so strong!” and laugh to myself. I’m a jerk for that. I bought my first pair of weight lifting gloves because I really don’t want rough hands, and I’d highly recommend you get some, too! My hands would burn for hours after the first few weeks of weights without them. I bought these on Amazon for $14.59 (with free shipping), and I really like them! They also come in purple or black.

You should have different shoes for leg day than for all other workouts. The support of leg day shoes will even help you with your form. They should be extra comfy!

 

Are you doing PWR or BBG (or wanting to)? What are your thoughts? If you have any questions regarding BBG or PWR, email me or leave a comment below!

 

Pin for later!

 

PWR by Kelsey Wells Wk 6 Review

 

 

PWR by Kelsey Wells: Week 1 Review

Hello! As a follow up to my previous post about BBG – I wanted to write about my experience with PWR by Kelsey Wells! As some of you know, BBG is a 12 week, at-home resistance-based workout. There are three 28min sessions per week that you follow along in the  Sweat App. The Sweat App is subscription-based and includes 4 other programs: BBG Stronger, Body and Mind, Post-Pregnancy and PWR.

I’ve personally completed 4 rounds of BBG by Kayla Itsines, 2 rounds of BBG 1.0 and 2 rounds of BBG 2.0. I began finding BBG 2.0 to be extremely repetitive and I was lacking the motivation to keep going. Enter: Kelsey Wells PWR. Last Monday was my first PWR Workout, and here’s how I feel about it:

BBG vs PWR: The Structure

All 12 weeks of BBG have three resistance workouts, an optional Challenge, 3 LISS sessions, and 1 optional HIIT. PWR weeks 1-4 have three resistance workouts, with an optional arms + abs session, 3 LISS sessions with an optional HIIT. With PWR, after week 4 you increase the resistance workouts to include a required arms + abs, with the option to add an additional abs session. That’s 5 resistance workouts, if you include the optional abs sesh. Starting Week 9, you reduce the cardio to only 2 times per week, and have another optional resistance workout you can complete. Follow me? So Week 9-12, you have 4 required resistance workouts, with 2 additional as an option.

BBG vs PWRr: The Workouts

As someone who had not done a resistance workout in awhile, BBG was amazing. It doesn’t require a lot of equipment, so you can virutually do it anywhere. It’s also not very intimidating because you don’t have to worry as much about form. The resistance workouts include burpees, push ups, lay down push ups, mountain climbers, and something called commandos, which I was completely new to. They were pretty hard for me as a beginner, but I started on my knees and eventually was able to do them the “right” way. Seriously, proudest moment of my adult life. I even came home and showed my husband, I was that proud (lol).

PWR is definitely gym-based. A lot of the exercises require machines and equipment, although I was able to complete an arms + chest session in my home-gym. The app has videos to show you correct form, which is great. One thing I wish the app demonstrated is how to set up the machine. I find that sometimes I am looking at the contraption trying to figure out how to adjust it for my height, etc. If you’re not a beginner like I am, you probably don’t need this. However, the gym I go to I’m pretty much the only woman in the weight room, and although I’m gaining confidence from my first week, I’m still pretty intimidated. Hopefully in my next PWR Reflection Post, this will change!

Bbg vs Pwr: The Number of Burpees

PWR > BBG on the burpee front! I loathe burpees. My joints ain’t what they used to be, and I’m prone to get lightheaded when doing burpess (probably my diet). In the first week of BBG, assuming you complete 2 laps per round, there are 80 burpees in week 1. Not to mention jump squats. UGH the JUMPING. PWR Week 1: 0 burpees.

My Week 1 PWR Review:

I love it! The weights have me feeling so strong, and seeing more definition already. I enjoy the workouts, and I like the structure. You can tell that Kelsey has put thought and reasoning into the workouts. I’m sure Kayla did the same with BBG, but it’s nice to know you’re activating your muscles, doing pyramids, supersets and burnouts. It makes me feel more knowledgable than the beginner I used to be. Something I’m still getting used to is scheduling about an hour for PWR, especially if there is a wait for a machine. I’m pretty used to working my schedule around a 30 min workout, but that will come with time. Having said that, 7 minutes into BBG I’d be thinking “Kayla! Are you trying to kill me?!” but by the time I’m thinking that during PWR, it’s almost over. So that’s nice. And finally, PWR has me focusing on muscles I just didn’t even think about during BBG workouts. Namely, my back, chest and tris. If you’re deciding between another round of BBG or PWR – so far I’d highly recommend PWR!

If you’re thinking about starting BBG or PWR and have questions, leave me a comment or email me!

Tips for Surviving Your First Round of BBG

Weights at the Gym

I have just finished my fourth round of BBG (Bikini Body Guide) today, and let me tell you – it has not been easy! I’ve taken weeks off because of the flu, vacations, pure laziness… but the key is to get right back to it! I know, I know. If I would have told myself this a year ago I would have rolled my eyes, too. But the thing is, that’s the “secret sauce”, DON’T QUIT.

Now that I told you everything you need to know, you can go out and do it! Right?

If you don’t know what BBG is, it’s an acronym for Bikini Body Guide (an embarrassing name, so you’ll never hear me call it that). The program was designed by an Aussie named Kayla Itsines and her boyfriend, Tobi Pearce. BBG is a 12 week at-home workout program with 3 resistance workouts at 28 minutes each. A 28 min session is split up into 4 rounds of 7 minutes. Each 7min round consists of 4 workouts (typically 15 reps each) and you do as many laps as you can. You get about 30sec to rest between each round. Outside of resistance training, you have 3 LISS sessions (LISS is Low-Intensity Steady State Cardio, Kayla suggests walking a quick pace at an incline for 35-45min on the treadmill while watching Netflix), and 1 HIIT session (High-Intensity Interval Training, think 30 sec sprint / 30 sec rest intervals). You can download the Sweat app in the app store, and it’s about $55/3 months or $20/month. The app has videos to show you how to do the exercises, a calendar to help you plan your workout week, and a timer for those 7 min. Recently they’ve added a few all-gym workouts (BBG Stronger and PWR by Kelsey Wells), a yoga program by Sjana Elise, and a post-pregnancy program (also by Kelsey Wells).

BBG has worked well for me because I’m one of those people on the treadmill saying “Okay, 20min left. That’s 10min 2 times. Which is 4min 5 times. 4min is practically a song. So only 5 songs, then I’m done!”. Don’t get me wrong, I had attempted BBG Pre-Training about 4-5 separate times (4 weeks of resistance workouts that prep you for BBG 1, not even at actual BBG intensity). I would even pay for the 3 month option thinking that the money I spent would be motivation to keep me going. I don’t want to waste $50, right? *insert eye roll* Then one day, I decided just to try it again, but with a different mind set. So HOW do you find the motivation to stick to BBG?

  1. You don’t.

    Okay, if you’re only going to workout when you’re motivated, that’s like, once a month. The key is to develop discipline. Make it a habit! Especially when I first started, I would make myself do abs on Monday morning, arms on Wednesday morning, legs on Friday morning – LISS after work Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday (the best TV shows are on after work, and my gym had TV’s on the treadmills). They say it takes 28 days of consistency to build or break a habit. I don’t know how much truth there is to that, but it doesn’t hurt to try. It’s only 28 days…

  2. Remember, it’s only 28min out of your ENTIRE day.

    28min is too short of a time to take a nap… so what could you possibly be doing that’s more important? (Naps > everything). Sometimes when you’re doing the workouts it feels like 2 hours, but in reality… it’s less than a half hour! And it’s only 3 times a week. You don’t have to sacrifice anything. Some of the workouts don’t even require equipment, so if you’re feeling max lazy, put on your favorite tv show and do abs in the living room. I’ve done that plenty of times. Plus half of the ab workouts you do laying down! Pro Tip: save abs for when you’re feeling extra “laid-back”.

  3. Along those lines, it’s only 12 weeks!

    I’m not going to lie, in the beginning 12 weeks felt like a lifetime. But just like everything else in this post – if you split it up it’s really manageable. I had to start thinking about it like “3 workouts a week, for 1 month, okay that sounds doable.” Then at the end of the month I would reflect on how manageable that actually was, and at that point you’re seeing a bit of progress so you’re willing to go on to the next month. By the end of the second month, you should be seeing decent progress, and you only have one month to go! You’ve already passed the halfway point, no reason to stop now. By the end of the third month, you’ve done some of the hardest workouts you’ve ever done in your life but, it’s done.

  4. You will be so proud of yourself.

    If you haven’t picked up on it yet, I was super out of shape when I started BBG. I actually met a few girls at my gym who were doing BBG and it was funny to see the girls who were completing their first round of BBG who had made it a goal just to finish, versus the girls who had maybe done a few rounds and reaching week 12 was not a big deal. The week I finished my first week 12, a girl at my gym had finished week 24, and I was beaming I was so excited, and she was so nonchalant. Which is awesome and I hope to be there some day, but even four rounds later I’m so proud when week 12 comes around.

  5. The BBG Community.

    The BBG Community has been huge for me and my “motivation”. If you’re on Instagram, just check out some of the BBG hashtags and you’ll see countless women supporting eachother, sharing their stories and progress photos, giving tips, etc. It’s so great! A few of my go-to hashtags when I need the desire to workout are: #BBGProgress # BBGTransformation #KaylasArmy

The long and the short of it is: make BBG work for you. I’m kind of lazy, so I had to change the way I viewed the workouts. Now I actually enjoy it! I will be starting PWR next week, and I plan to write about my experience doing that versus BBG 1 and 2, so stay tuned! If you’d like more information on BBG, or the Sweat App in general, check out www.Sweat.com or leave a comment!

How I’m Combating the Winter Blues

I’m pretty sure I live in Chicago, and not Greenland – but maybe I’m wrong? It’s almost the middle of April and we are having a pretty intense winter storm right now. It’s so bad, that the Cubs cancelled their Home Opener! What?! Needless to say, the Winter Blues are working overtime this year and I’m doing my best to combat them. Read below to see how, and if you’ve got any good tips, make sure to leave them in the comments!

Make the Best of It

I realize this makes me sound like a traitor, but honestly the best way to not feel miserable in any situation you can’t control is to realize it, and make the best of it. I’m trying to wear my comfy winter sweaters and cute boots (for what I hope is the last time until fall…), and just accept it.

While at the Same Time, Prepare for Spring!

One perk of it not feeling like Spring? You can totally put off Spring Cleaning. I am a list-maker, which is also a great way to procrastinate btw. Instead of actually doing any Spring Cleaning right now, I make a list of where I want to start, and go from there. This makes my mind think that Winter will eventually end, but also allows me to stay in my pj’s on the couch.

Plan Events for the Next Few Months

I personally always need something to look forward to. It helps me feel like my monotonous winter days will eventually break. I’ve now bought tickets to 3 concerts between now and Labor Day, have 2 vacations lined up, and a list of free Chicago activities I’m planning on going to. It helps me see the light at the end of this icy tunnel.

Pamper Yourself

Relax. Get a massage. Read a book. Go to the gym. Drink your water. Put on a face mask and grab a glass of wine. Since we just planned so many warm-weather activities, who knows when the next “Me Day” might happen? Enjoy being trapped indoors by spoiling yourself!