Moksha Yoga Teacher Training Day #14

Friday was day 14 and that means it was our second day off!

Jackie, Morgan, Krista, Mere, and I (hi, Jackie, Morgan, Krista, and Mere!) – I was staying in a Full House. No joke! – all drove to Santa Monica to take Bryan Kest’s power yoga class. I know, you’d think having a day off from yoga that going to yoga would be the last thing I’d want to do. But when you’re living (temporarily) in a city full of amazing and  well known yogis, you need to take their classes when the opportunity rises.

We arrived in Santa Monica, with the sun shining and the smell of the ocean in the distance. This moment reminded me of Cecilley (Cecilley, I miss you!). The studio was tucked away in a beautiful space on the second floor of a rather old looking building. But the space had character. Right away I was pumped to be there and even more excited I was not doing Moksha! Sorry, Mokshis. But after class I ate my words. Power flow doesn’t justify what Bryan had us doing. We focused on our own body weight and held challenging plank poses, lunges. Upper body strength, here I come.

Although Bryan’s instructions were intense, there was a softness to his tone. I’m going to hurt tomorrow. I love Bryan’s humour. Being able to laugh at yourself while doing yoga is a powerful tool to keep in your toolbox. Don’t take it (or yourself) too seriously. Bryan makes this easy and I can see why students have been taking is class for 15+ years!

Look at me! I'm such a yogi. Here I am in Bryan's studio!

Look at me! I’m such a yogi. Here I am in Bryan’s studio!

After class we all went to a favourite lunch spot of Morgans, Tender Greens where we ate lunch and drank all the lemonade we could bargain for. Then it was beach time! After several hours of soaking in the sun, we walked the streets and made our way to Real Food Daily for dinner. Delicious! Apparently the West Hollywood location is a good celebrity sighting spot. Thanks for the tip, Ted!

What a great day, but I am exhausted. 6:30am practice is going to come way to soon. That’s two days off down only one left to go. That is, if I make it to next Friday…

Women’s Self Defence @ Krudar

IMAG0444

What: Women’s Self Defence class
When: Saturday @ 11am
Where: Krudar Muay Thai (152 Augusta Avenue)
Who: Kru Darwin

Not only is Krudar the sweet spot to learn muay thai boxing in Kensington Market, but now they have Women’s Self Defence classes! How great is that? And if you’re even the slightest bit curious to take a peak inside or maybe if you’re feeling up to it try a class, every last Saturday of each month Krudar hosts an open house and all classes are free on this day. Free! Once I discovered a self defence class was on the schedule Anne and I jogged our way to Kensington to give it a go.

IMAG0442

For those who may not know, I had a rather scary in counter a year ago in December on my way to work one morning. I was pushed down from behind on a major street in broad daylight. I don’t want to scare anyone, but this experience left me quite shaken up for days afterward. I called the police when I got to work — after calling my Mom, Erin, and my roommate at the time, Shannon — I gave my statement to an officer (from the cop car!) who came to the office that afternoon. Literally hours later, I recieved a call from a dispatch officer telling me they have a guy in custody that matched my description. And what’s even crazier is that an identical attack was called in shortly after mine. Crazy! I was shocked and surpised how quickly this all happened.

They caught the guy he then pleaded guilty to all accounts and so the case was closed. But I was left thinking I don’t want to feel scared in my city ever again. I want to better prepare myself for another incident like this, should one ever occur.

(An important lesson learned: call the police should anything should happen to you, as minor as it may seem. Do it.)

So a goal of mine since then was to take a self defence class. Being an all women’s class everyone was on the same playing field – everyone had different expectations from what to get out of a class like this, but Kru did his best to touch on all the important things to keep in mind. He pointed out the effective ways to stop someone quickly, so you can then run away, using the heel of your hand, your fingers, and/or your knuckles. We then focused on protecting our faces from throws and punches while using the environment as a tool to defend your self. You never know what could be around to aid you in a tough situation. And lastly, Kru pointed out the most effective tool we have to defend ourselves and that’s our voice. Just yelling “STOP” at someone will make then stop, even just for a few seconds. This is an innate characteristic in us as humans to stop when told to stop.

During the class, Anne and I practiced attacking each other while the other protected themselves. We also had the boys of Krudar surprise attack us too. They were also nice enough to give us pointers and feedback.

IMAG0438

In the end, Kru left us with the understanding that all things said attacks are all different and we can’t walk around with fear. The mind needs to be strong before our physical bodies can protect us. Throwing a punch is one thing, but thinking the situation through and knowing how to react is how you’ll come out of any situation protected and unharmed.

I was so grateful that I wasn’t harmed last year when my attack happened. But even just the hour with Kru I feel better and more aware of what to do. There is a weekly class on the schedule, which will be twice a week once the numbers in class grows. The classes will then look at different situational attacks, what to do when the attacker comes from behind, and the metal strengthening involved. But as a fist time experience I was a satisfied client.

 

Krudar Round 2

IMAG0437

What: Muay Thai Boxing — Beginner’s class
When: Wednesday @ 6pm
Where: Krudar Muay Thai (152 Augusta Ave)
Who: Ryan Wilson

Remember back when, when Erin and I got to punch and kick each other because we were told to do it?! Well we both promised each other we’d go back for another visit in the New Year. Well, Krudar Muay Thai recently under went some major studio changes, relocating to a new (but rather close) part of town and adding new classes to their schedule. It was time to go back and check out the new space!

One of Cecilley’s New Year’s resolutions was to learn Muay Thai, I know, I was kinda surprised too, but I wasn’t going to judge. I thought it was great! And of course I knew the best place to learn. So as a promise to her (and myself) we both went to a beginner thai boxing class with Ryan.

I was excited to see the new set up, and with a personal guided tour from Carina (thanks Carina!) I was really impressed. Not only is this a sweet spot for boxing, but now you can spin, cross train, and kettle bell your day away. I love the set-up Krudar has. By paying a monthly membership, not only are you able to take any class you want, but you have open gym time allowing you to use the studio equipment as you please whenever you please. Although, fees are higher than joining a gym, at Krudar you’re joining a community. And that’s the benefit. It’s worth those extra dollars. And with a $10 intro class deal, why not try a class?

Our beginner class started off with very high intensity for the first part of class (as I anticipated from my last visit). We jumped rope, shadow boxed, ran on the spot, jumped around, kicked the air everything you can imagine, we did. Twice. Or even three times with count downs to 30. The cardio warm up is a work out on its own. But then comes the fun part punching and kicking. Ryan split the class the more advanced students from the beginners and took us – the beginners – to the basement for one-on-one training. Ryan changed things up this time around and the focus was on our kicks (sadly I didn’t get to punch Cecilley. Ha! Sorry Cecilley!). But Cecilley was the lucky lady Ryan demoed on before we all started kicking one another (but not hard, don’t worry). Getting the technique down first is the first step. Then it was my turn and Ryan demoed kicking me in the ribs and showing the proper balance with hitting your target.

After an hour and a half, we called it quits for the night. Another solid experience at Krudar, and another promise to return.

Krudar comes highly recommended! And if you do go, tell them Jill sent you!

 

Moksha Maple

Moksha Maple, we found you!

Moksha Maple, we found you!

What: Vinyasa Flow
When: Saturday, February 2 @ 1:30pm
Where: Moksha Maple (1480 Major Mackenzie Drive, Unit E8
Maple, ON
)
Who: Kyneret Azizo

 

In case you were unaware the littlest Fit Girl, our baby sister Anne, has decided to move to Toronto. Welcome Anne! Now that Anne has officially moved in, found a job, and has a few friends to hang out with, she needs something else to keep her busy. Naturally, Erin and I suggested yoga and running. But Anne was not having it. Some how joining the Toronto Roller Derby came to mind, but that’s a story for Anne to tell.

My last weekend in Toronto was coming up very fast, so Anne and I decided to make a trip to Vaughan Mills for a little shopping. How did this come about? Where Anne needed things to do I suggested she invest in a Passport to Prana to get to know the yoga studios in the city. It was an excellent time to buy because Passport to Prana was giving away a daily prize for those who bought or renewed their card. One day the prize happened to be a $100 gift card to Lululemon. Guess who won? Anne! So to get the most bang for her buck, I offered to drive us to the outlet store where Anne bought THE BEST purple tights and a running head band for me! Thanks, Anne!

Of course, because we drove all this way, I wanted to visit a new Moksha studio.

 

Anne is ready for some yoga!

Anne is ready for some yoga!

Our arrival to class was magical. The studio shone like a gem amongst a sea rocks. The colours of the studio were like the sea and the greeting we received was warm and inviting. The studio is two years old, but it still smelled brand new.

Our class was also very great. As soon as Kyneret began instructing rhythm and breath, I knew right away, from the tempo of class, she was a vinyasa teacher. But when she sang the ABC’s to our abs sequence (this was the first thing we did in class) I had my doubts for the moment. As the class when on I began to have a lot of fun. We powered through the hour building upon a basic sequence to more and more challenging poses. I liked Kyneret’s series and teaching style very much, and Anne did too.

If I’m ever out that way again I wouldn’t miss the chance to visit Moksha Maple again. Jackie, the studio director, made sure to invite us back. I will be back, Jackie and Kyneret, and when I do I will be a Moksha teacher too!

 

The last Yoga Unplugged hurrah

Me and Jess, ready to unplug some yoga!

 

What: Yoga Unplugged
When: Saturday, September 1 @ 4pm
Where: 889 at the Thompson (550 Wellington Street West)
Who: Lana Sugarman

Twas the last day of Yoga Unplugged and Jessica (my friend visiting from Edmonton) and I, well we wanted to gets our yoga on! It was the perfect day. The sun was out it was a warm day and I’m pretty sure the birds were singing as we headed to the hotel. It was just one of those days. You couldn’t help but feel happy. We were going to yoga – plus it would be the last time I could do yoga for free on the roof. And I wanted to share this experience with Jessica. She, however, had slightly different intentions for going to class. Given this was the last class and Lululemon gave away amazing presents to all the yogis who came out for the first class (as Cecilley and I can attest to), Jessica really wanted to take home some swag. Although her and I walked away empty handed, we did not walk away unhappy.

 

 

The class was packed, as expected, and we arrived extra early to claim a good spot. We chatted and waited as the roof filled up. The airplanes from the long weekend Air show were zooming overhead – the noises were booming! I was getting antzy as I hadn’t practiced in so long! Well I had practiced the day before, but when you have company – as I discovered the hard way – your body and routine are greatly impacted. Much more so than you think.

The last yoga unplugged was a Vinyasa Groove with Lana Sugarman. Lana was a gem. I haven’t taken a class with Lana before which can be a really nice change and surprise – taking a new class with a new teacher. Which is another reason the Yoga Unplugged summer series was amazing, you were guaranteed a new class style and a different teacher each week. So, no two classes were alike! Lana’s smile smiled like the sun, and although I had taken her for a very spiritual yogi (and there is nothing wrong with that!) I just personally don’t connect to yoga or to yoga teachers who practice with the spiritual highs of yoga on that level. But that’s totally okay. It doesn’t mean I won’t practice with a teacher like that. I just know what really works for me. Everyone’s got something that works for them and things that do not.

Given that, I was ready for yoga, regardless of the style of teaching. But one thing I wasn’t expecting was the work Lana put us through. It was a straight up vinyasa that was for sure. And I liked it! The groove of the drums helped with the flows and the onlookers from the patios and hotel rooms where all to familiar. I was in yoga heaven at the end of class.

 

 

I want to send a big thank you to Lululemon and the good community vibes they send out and preach. And to 889 for hosting such a fantastic yoga instinctive here in Toronto. More free stuff needs to happen and people need to take advantage of opportunities such as this. I will have my eye out for Yoga Unplugged round 2 next summer as should everyone else looking for things to do on a Saturday afternoon, whether you’re looking to do something for yourself or if your interested in trying something new. I tired Jock yoga for the first time ever. Remember? It was super great.

Don’t be shy and don’t be scared. These yogis won’t bite. They just smile very wide.

 

 

My 45 days at Kula

This is me at yogalites at EnergyXchange. But you get the idea.

If anyone from Moksha Downtown was wondering where I’ve disappeared to for the past two months, don’t worry. I haven’t been kidnapped nor have a fled the country. Answer #1: I was home in July for a refresh and real outdoors Digby adventuring, and for birthday celebrating (not mine or Erin’s but our mother’s)! And Answer #2: I’ve been practicing at Kula. I know! I didn’t think it would ever happen either: the day I bought classes at another studio. Shame on me.

After the few experiences I’ve had a Kula (some great, others not so much), I had very mixed feelings about the space. Right away, I knew it would not be a place I would practice at regularly. But once I let my guard down and began to warm up to Kula a bit, I forgave them for my awful Reiki experience and actually brought an intro special. Lucky for me it was on the perfect day — the day of the Bloor Street Festival — because my 30 day intro turned into 45 days! Lucky me indeed. Kula was celebrating their birthday on June 10th and to celebrate Erin and I went to class for free. One discovery I’ve made – Kula loves birthdays (as do I!) whether it’s theirs or yours, there’s free yoga for everyone!

As you know Erin and JK are Kula advocates and practice there all the time. Given how close I live to the studio — which was too prefect for those early morning 6:30am-ers — I should too. But I’m too attached to my Moksha and can’t break away from it. It’s the yoga I love. But I do love trying new places and a break from the heat and sweat is always a good thing. So the next 45 days would begin a new challenge: to stay away from MYD and only practice at Kula. I had an extra 15 days, I was planning to make the most of it.

To this day I still think of my first class with Christi-an. I fell in love. Her class was pure magic.

I made the effort to try all the classes on the schedule and try a class with every teacher. I did rather well with this, but found my schedule more accommodating to the times Jen Slade taught. Which wasn’t a bad thing. Jen is a singer and. man can she ever belt out a tune. She also has an incredible joyful personality and makes you excited for yoga. Just know with Jen, class will always a surprise. Her music classes and the Power hours were my favourites. Tuesday 10pm nighttime yoga with Lindseed was also very lovely, if you can manage to stay up this late. I also really enjoyed my mornings with Marinella. Nothing like a hot hour and a hard class to wake you up in the morning. And the days where I would do both were both fantastic and tiring.

I have to say when my 45 days were over I was very sad. I think back to all the classes I didn’t get a chance to do and this makes me even sadder. But I guess you can’t win them all. I would have done a 45 day challenge, if June 10th wasn’t the final day of my secret 30 day challenge. 75 days would have just been too much. Or would it?

So with that, I take back my sour feelings towards Kula and would recommend it to everyone. Whether you’re a new or experienced yogi, Kula offers a great variety of classes – hot, power, yin and restorative – you name it. You will find something that works to your individual practice. And with the overwhelming sense of community it really is a space for everyone to enjoy. Oh, and everyone should take a class with Christi-an and some point in your life. Trust me on this.

Thank you, Kula, for a fun and challenging 45 days. JK, I hope I made you proud.

A Barreworks Review

What: Barreworks Mixed Level
When: Sunday @ 10am
Where: Barre Works (625 Queen Street West, 3rd Floor)
Who: Paulina Witkowski

I did take a picture of the studio!

Remember my friend Tiffany? Yes, the crazy yin obsessed yogi (just like me) who convinced me to do my first 30 day challenge? Well, it just so happens she hasn’t been around the studio much these days. But nor have. I’ve become a regular at Kula for the month of July. More on that later! JK will be so proud of me and the positive things I have to say.

But Tiffany hasn’t been to Kula. Where could she have run off to? Well I got to the bottom of this and figured out where in the world Tiffany Astle went.

I’ve come to discover, Tiffany hasn’t been practicing yoga at all. Nope, Tiffany my friends, been cheating on Moksha Downtown with Barreworks! What? Oh my! But after my first introduction to the ballet style work out at the Extension Room, I honestly can’t blame her.

Even though the Extension Method class I went to was clearly not my most graceful of work out experiences for me. Let me tell you it was still a tough workout, despite the coordination needed to fluidly dance around. This type of work out requires your total body, every muscle in your arms, legs, butt and face. You lift your arms, kick your legs and point your toes and you’re told to do this while smiling. Ugh? Believe it or not smiling is a work out for your face. Go figure, no wonder dancers look so happy all the time. You can only imagine how intrigued I was by this Barreworks Tiffany spoke of. I assumed it would be of similar style and require the same amount of coordination that Jennifer demanded of me. But that Tiffany, she wouldn’t give up. She was so persistent on having me tag along for a class. And she promised there would be no dancing. Okay, maybe the occasional hop-step-hop-step sequence, but I could handle that much, at least I hoped so. For weeks, I had yet to go. Can you blame me, every time is saw Tiffany she would complain about how much she hurt or how badly the teacher kicked her ass that day. This doesn’t help with the convincing aspect, Tiffany.

Until one day, Tiffany and I finally scheduled an actual date outside of yoga, (see we really are friends) and this date would include a Barreworks class. Hey, where your first class is only $10, you really have no reason to not try it at least once, so I sucked it up and signed up for the Barreworks Mixed Level class. The bran new studio still smelled and shined of newness. It was even more beautiful when I actually entered the studio. It’s spacious, friendly, and the owner (a too cute older gentleman) couldn’t do enough for you. To my surprise, I felt right at home.

Barreworks as limited classes, four different types to be exact, but I guarantee each time you take the same class it will be different. Paulina was our teacher on that Sunday. No wonder it was called Mix Level because we covered everything. Every possible Barrwork exercise and we used all the different props at least a zillion times. This was another total body explosion! But not in a hard, “there is no possible way I can get through this” kind of way. I felt strong, silly and got a good sweat on that morning. And what I really liked, we were constantly moving. But there were breaks for water so don’t stress to badly. It’s meant to be fun remember. Yes, there is a serious component if you want to make it so, but for me, when I can see myself and see how ridiculous I look when I try to plie I cannot take myself seriously. Maybe one day with a little practice. Or a lot of practice. But until then, I would recommend Barreworks as a substitute to the gym. Go with a bunch of your girlfriends (sorry guys there were zero males in my class of 25-30) not to say that boys are not allowed at Barreworks, as I’m sure they are. I see Barreworks as the perfect fit recommendation for those people I see in yoga classes all antsy and disappointed because yoga wasn’t a hard enough workout. There are restful elements, like yoga, but you have work for that reward. You will sweat enough to work your whole body real good no matter your dancing skill or fitness level. Barreworks is designed for everyone – another major plus – I felt this about the space as soon as I arrived and I really appreciate that. You too, will have fun dancing and sculpting your body, that I can promise. Maybe go to a class that Tiffany is at. She will make it that much more fun. Trust me.

Take this class if: You’re on the hunt for a total body workout, you won’t dread going to.

Sister Act: CrossFit TO consultation

Erin demonstrating a reverse lift.

What: CrossFit consultation
When: Tuesday @ 1:30
Where: CrossFit Toronto (32 Logan Avenue)

Erin’s story:

Thanks to American Ninja Warrior, I am obsessed with all-purpose fitness. Bootcamps, parkour and crossfit seem to be all the rage. And if I want to not die during the Toronto Urban Warrior 10k, I figured it was time to give this kind of work-out a try. Then I learned that the CrossFit Toronto gym was a) close to my house and b) offered free consultation and a free first class. I was in!

Jill and I signed up for a consultation the day after we got back from Nova Scotia with no idea what to expect. It was the hottest day of the year, we were both exhausted from our trip and — let’s face it — neither of us do a lot of strength training or conditioning. Gillian, the trainer assigned to us, sat us down. We walked through our fitness routines, then she gave us a tour of the gym. The gym had a similar vibe to the boxing gym we went to a few weeks ago: manly, stuffy and sweaty, with lots of scary-looking equipment. But Gillian was there to convince us that we had nothing to be afraid of. She walked us through what a regular crossfit class was like: the routine is on the board; come early, warm-up, do the routine as fast as you can. When you finish, cheer those behind you on, cool down and get out. CrossFit is all about intensity.

After we had a better idea of what to expect when we take a class, Gillian showed us some basica crossfit moves: pole stretching, squats, push-ups, rowing, tricep dips, backbends, and the dreaded pull-ups. What I liked about this segment was that Gillian stressed form, form, form. It was beneficial to be walked through how to do a correct squat and push-up. That alone made the consultation worth it.

Once we got the basics down, it was time for our crossfit test. We were expected to finish the following in 5-10 minutes:

  • 500 metres of rowing
  • 40 squats
  • 30 situps
  • 20 pushups
  • 10 pull-ups

I loved the rowing even though my machine was broken and I just had to assume I was done when Jill was done. The first 20 squats were okay, but the last 20 were hell. And it was hard to keep my chest up and arms out. So tiring! The situps were easy, the pushups were okay — although I cheated and did pushups from the knees because I wanted to focus on form. Then came the pullups. I cannot for the life of me do pullups. In fact my pullups were so bad in the demonstration segment of the consultation, Gillian made me do ring rows instead. Jill, on the other hand, could do pullups like a pro. At least I finished faster than her. It’s all about small victories.

In the end, Gillian spent almost two hours with us, and it was just supposed to be a one hour session. She was patient, helpful and full of information.

What I liked about CrossFit was that it’s about useful fitness and intensity. What I didn’t like about Crossfit was the gym atmosphere. I’m not the biggest fan of using props in my workouts (this is true for yoga as well) and I’m into the dirty, industrial gym environment. That said, I could see adding crossfit to my fitness once or twice a month.

But Jill and I still have to take advantage of our free first class. Then I’ll know for sure.

 

Jill doing a pullup.

Jill’s story:

 

I liked CrossFit. I liked it a lot! I think what really sold me was the fact that firefighters and policemen and women train doing CrossFit. Which is completely understandable now that I actually know what it is.

My first introduction to CrossFit was through my old roommate Shannon. A colleague at her work convinced her to buy a Daily Deal or Team Buy or one of those things for a CrossFit boot camp. I couldn’t for the life of me understand why she enjoyed it, but Shannon was hooked. Then my buddy Ken (at Moksha Downtown) spent a day raving about how awesome CrossFit is. Oh my goodness, what is this CrossFit and why do people love it so much?! I was so confused. And also petrified. Isn’t CrossFit crazy intense, and scary, and involve people yelling at you? I hate all these things. I would clearly hate CrossFit. So I blocked it from my mind entirely. But, oddly enough, I still secretly wanted to try it.

And CrossFit is expensive. I can’t afford the membership Shannon was paying when she joined, plus the nice and calmness of the JCC is more my style. But like I said I was still intrigued. Then what really pushed me over the edge was talking to my friend, and yoga teacher, Rachael Kess who is now a CrossFit addict. Once and for all this had to happen! Lucky for me Erin, through her Urban Warrior obsession, discovered CrossFit TO.

Here I’ve foolishly thought Erin’s been racking up these freebies for us through the blog — our FitStreets class, this CrossFit TO consultation — turns out we weren’t invited because of the blog. Oh well. One day… this is my dream. But still these are free fitness things, people. So give them a try if you’re looking for things to do.

I was nervous for CrossFit, excited, but mostly terrified. Was a very large scary man going to make us throw tires around, do millions of push ups then run and sweat until we cried? To my surprise, we did none of those things. And Gillian was not a very large scary man. My versions of CrossFit were completely inaccurate.

To my surprise the setting was very welcoming. Where Erin did not like the super gym feel, I did. Maybe because I surprised myself by actually doing a real pull up. I feel that was my induction into CrossFit this day. I love the gym and love working out. But my biggest challenge is not knowing what to do. Gillian walked us through proper techniques of basic exercises that anyone can do at any gym, anywhere. But now I know “how” proper technique feels, it changes everything. CrossFit TO also didn’t reek of the stuffy gym feel that you get a most gyms. It felt tough and intense, but in a good way, like I really wanted to work. That’s always good because how many times do you drag yourself to the gym, not really wanting to go? I’m a victim of this too. With CrossFit the energy was contagious and not misleading. All very good things and reasons you should not be afraid to go.

CrossFit TO is sort of a mix between a gym and a studio. It’s designed for you to drop in for class and not necessary spend your time working out as you please. I get it because the mindset behind CrossFit is quick and rapid: a short workout but loaded with intensity. I’m not all about fast pace all the time, but I understand the benefits and probably should be working out more CrossFit style than I do. But the fact I’m not able to come and do what I want when I please is a bit of a set back for me. I get it though, I would live at this place and workout all the time if I could and I’m sure the people there would not want me there all the time (or other people like me).

Overall, my introduction to CrossFit was awesome. And Gillian could not have been more helpful. The attention she gave to Erin and I was surprising and extremely helpful. If anything, like Erin said, going just for the consultation is totally worth it. Learning new and proper techniques is good information to store and retain. For me it was the rowing I found tough, not the actual workout, but getting the form right. This slowed me down in the circuit we did. Yes, Erin was faster, but I did the pull ups, remember. It’s the little rewards, as Erin said.

Taking an actual CrossFit class will be a whole new challenge, but after meeting with Gillian, I feel ready. We shall determine if that’s true soon enough.

 

 

 

FitStreets Round #2

I was not this angry the whole work out, I swear! (Thanks to Andie for tweeting this pic!)

After a positive experience with FitStreets two weeks ago, I decided to buy a four session pass. Why? One, it was perfect for my schedule. Two, I really liked Andie’s fit philosophy. Three, I like the idea of supporting a young entrepeneur instead of a big gym. Four, it was less than $60, which is cheaper than most of the yoga classes I buy. So after Jill and I returned from our Nova Scotia adventure, I was back. This time, I was doing it by myself.

This Monday was a humid day and I broke into a sweat on my warm-up jog (okay, it was closer to a walk) over. But Andie was prepared: our route this time had two water stops, instead of one, and our pace was about 10 seconds slower per kilometre  — but the route itself was a little bit longer. Speedy, but manageable. (That might have more to do with Jill not being there and me being all whiny about my rolled ankle than the weather. But I’ll take it). I think Andie was in the Kula class Jill, JK and I took the night before, as she focused on legs. I have done more squats and chair lifts in the past two days than I ever have done in my life. My quads are burning.

FitStreets was easier the second time around, but I think that was just because I knew what I was in for, and not because the workout was less intense. I liked that Andie mixed it up — there were only a couple exercises we replicated, like tricep dips and squats. And I like the small group atmosphere. This time, it was just me and a guy named Steve (Hi, Steve!), which make the hour feel more like “hey, this is a kick ass run with friends” instead of “hey, I’m taking a class.”

Except Andie made us sprint. Three times. Sprinting is my all-time most-hated fitness activity. I guess what doesn’t kill you….makes you a better runner.

All in all, I’m really glad I picked up the extra FitStreets passes. And if you’re a runner looking to mix things up, I can’t recommend FitStreets enough. You’re first time is free, and if you don’t want to go alone, let me know! I’d be happy to come with you.

Now, if you exuse me, I need to go ice my quads.

 

 

Sister Act: FitStreets

 

 

 

What: FitStreets
When: Monday @ 6:30
Where: On the street! (But actually at the Integrative Health Institute at 46 Sherbroune Street)
Who: Andie

Erin’s story:

I don’t remember how I found out about FitStreets. Twitter? Andie’s blog? (Which you should all read, by the way. It’s great!). But as soon as I learned the first time was FREE, I was in. (Fit Girls tip: the amount of free and cheap classes in this city is insane, if you are looking for them.) Jill and I signed up for the 6:30pm Monday class because it was close to my house and the 6:30 start time was more manageable than most post-work classes. (How people can hit up 6pm classes right after a 9-5 shift, I will never know.) Jill and I met at my house and walked over. We probably should have ran, but we didn’t know what we were in for and needed to conserve energy. And we were still feeling the effects of our Muay Thai class the week before. Andie met us inside and was really welcoming and friendly. We signed a bunch of paperwork, and were off. There was one other student in the class (??) with us, a FitStreets regular.

We ran (fast!) down the Esplanade to a small park for our first top. Kicks and stretches. Then we ran (fast!) to the Distillery for some lunges and tricep dips. Then we ran (fast!) to Sherbourne Common to jump on things and to do push-ups. Then we ran (fast!) to another park for ab work. I think you’re getting the idea. At every red light, we did squats. Each running segment was between 2 and 10 minutes, at about a 5:30 pace, sometimes faster. Andie and Jill were off and running, chatting the whole way. I could keep up, but this class taught me two things: 1)I’ve been a lay runner since the Goodlife Half Marathon and that needs to change and 2) I need to turn these speed dreams into reality.

 

This is a tricep dip. I do not look very happy demonstrating it.

 

I really liked breaking up the running with strength training. I don’t get a lot of strength training in my fitness routine, beyond random bursts of “I will do sit-ups and planks EVERYDAY!” that last two weeks before I abandon them. And the frequent breaks meant I could work on running fast for short periods of time — something else I’m not used to and need to do more of.

We finished the class in just under an hour. Total run time: 24.11. Total distance covered: 4.5k. A solid first FitStreets effort, I’d say.

As soon as the class was over, Jill and I were talking about how we needed to turn our weekday runs into FitStreets runs. No more breaks! More planks and things! I hope it lasts.


Jill’s story:

 

FitStreets was so great! Who would have thought the idea of working out during a run, on the street, with no equipment or props would be so brilliant? You tell yourself now this sounds simple enough, but will you actually do it? Probably not. I sure didn’t, but I would try to convince myself I should do other activities before or after a run. But now I actually will. Or at least I’ll think more about what these other activities can be, since Erin and my FitStreets meet-up with Andie.

Andie was also super great! From the moment we arrived for our meet up, I knew it was going to be fun. The atmosphere, the vibe and Andie’s friendly personality made everything feel okay. I bet this girl can get away with murder. Imagine a friendly, sweet girl as your trainer. She’d tell you to drop and do a million push ups and you would becasue she’d be smiling at you the whole time. At least I would anyway. Andie made me feel safe, comfortable and excited. She was also so nice to chat with! Thanks for listening to me for pretty much the whole way, Andie. I hope I didn’t talk your ear off too badly!

I was so ready to get fit on the street! Ditching the gym is exactly what I’ve done since my half marathon training began. This was not by choice, however. It’s really hard to run, work out, and do yoga all the time. FitStreets taught me doing all these things is indeed possible. I wouldn’t be surprised if the JCC sent out a Missing Person ad for me. But that’s okay because I will be found on the street! Does anyone else think of Step Up 2: The Streets whenever you heard the word street? No? Maybe it’s just me.

I’m demonstrating the twisted lunge we did! Much more fun than tricep dips!

 

I kept struggling with the idea of what to do about my membership because I am someone who needs variety in my work out routine. If not, I get bored. Andie knew exactly how I felt and knew exactly how to carter to my short attention span. One reason I hate doing short runs is I can’t justify running 3 or 4k for 20 minutes and that’s my work out. No way, a work out that doesn’t last at least an hour seems dumb to me. And an hour plus work out in this heat? You’ve got to be kidding me! But, again, Andie knew what she was doing by including various body workouts into our run, not only did the hour fly by but the run was actually enjoyable. It’s genius!

After walking away from FitStreets that Monday evening, as Erin mentioned, our new running plan is to be just like Andie. She’s upbeat and lovely, but also made us work. I took to every instruction of hers like an excited little puppy. I just wanted to do it all and more.

Andie the Fit Geek was fast (if that wasn’t made clear by Erin) and the ideal trainer. We ran at a much faster pace than I probably would have done on my own, but again that’s where hitting the streets with a group and a trainer comes in handy. You will actually do all the things you say you will, and you will actually push yourself a little more knowing there is someone telling you what to do next. The route we ran was the perfect distance to complete all the park exercises — all those jump squats, the core work and leg lifts was tough — but not to the point of exhaustion. It was challenging, but in a way that left you wanting more. Maybe that’s Andie clever methodology?

Erin and I are not only making new friends (thanks Andie!) while being fit, we’re discovering there is so much you can do, in terms of keeping fit, in this city while on a budget. And you don’t need fancy things to do it. FitStreets is one of the best examples we’ve come across so far. I highly recommend it! FitStreets works for all and any fitness level, so there is no excuse not to try it at least once. And you’re first meet up is free! Okay, now there are zero excuses. Trust me, Andie will take care of you, and it will be fun. I promise!