30 Day Challenge: Days 21-25

Jill showing us how it's done, yogalites style.

I am in survival mode. I just want to get through this. I am stressed, overwhelmed and exhausted. This 30 day challenge only plays a small part of that, but it’s impossible to separate your life from your practice. However, I am feeling that as I write this, on day 28. Days 21-25 were possibly the strongest of the challenge thus far. It’s funny how quickly things change.

Time to recap this leg:

Day 21 (Friday): Power Hour was back! I love this class, I love the 7pm time, I love the small room. And I love sister yoga surprises. Jill and her friend Cecilley showed up to take the Power class. Good times all around.

Day 22: (Saturday): Jill and I took advantage of the Riverdale Art Walk to enjoy free yogalites. A great class. You can read our review here.

Day 23 (Sunday): Joined JK for live music flow. Jen Slade was MIA, but Elyse was a nice sub.

Day 24 (Monday): Monday is time for new things, so I gave Full Moon Yoga at Yoga Sanctuary a try. I’m glad I tried, but harnessing the strength of the moon is not my thing. I had difficulty buying into the spiritual element on this class. Really, I should have known better — it was called Full Moon Yoga, after all — but what can you do?

Day 25 (Tuesday): Post-class late night Linseed. Planks made an appearance again. Linseed, what are you thinking?

We’re almost there. Only one more of these recaps to go. I’ve run out of insightful things to say.


Monday Miles: Marathon Training Week #4



This thing is two weeks away. The fact I’m running at all right now amazes me.

Let’s get right into it, shall we?

Monday: 5.1k in 40 minutes

I remember pretty much nothing about this run. I was tired and sore and got home too late to go to a yoga class. So I laced up the sneakers and got out there for a short recovery run. I didn’t last long, but I’m glad I got a few miles in.

Tuesday: Hot Hour @ Kula

Because I ran the day before, I felt comfortable taking a day off from running on Tuesday. My legs were feeling very stiff, and an hour with Linseed helped me loosen up. While this class is normally a 2 out of 10 on the difficult scale, my muscles screamed their way through this one.

Wednesday: 9.4k in

Another late run after a long work day. I did my usual long run East End route but mixed up the side streets in hopes to pass the 10k mark. I didn’t. Oh well, next time.

Thursday: rest

I woke up to rain and book club was that night. No running.

Friday: rest

Ooops. Again, a morning rain and evening plans. Oh, and laziness.

Saturday: Joga with Jana, 7.1k in 54:50

Joga was interesting. I recommend it, but know what you are getting into. By Saturday, I was worried about my weekly kilometre count, so I headed out in a snowstorm to rack up a few miles. It was slow and slippery, but it was done.

I still have yet to do a hill workout. This is not good.

Sunday: 6k solo, 9k PubRuns, 3k solo = 18k in 2:21:30

My favourite run of the month: pubruns! A complete recap of my monthly get-together with fellow book-loving runners (or run-loving book people) will be posted later this week, but I kicked off the planned 8k group run with 6 (slow) kilometres solo. I was soooooooore from joga. Unbelievably sore. And I went out on Saturday night, which is not the best pre-long run plan. But I’m stubborn and believe I can do it all! Who needs sleep? Or sobriety? The group met up at Broadview and Danforth for an 8k loop through Rosedale that was secretly 9k (thanks, Kendal). After some delicious brunch at Three’s Company (tomato soup, grilled cheese and salad — delicious!), I slogged my way through the final 3k home for two reasons: I wanted a 40k tally and I refused to pay the $3 transit fare.


Despite the chaos in my schedule, I’ve consistently hovered around the 40k per week mark. The double rest day, while not on the schedule, was probably for the best. But, if I ever want my weekly mileage to increase, that can’t become a regular occurrence. For week number 5, I’m keen to hit 50k. Let’s see if I can do it without killing myself.







Joga with Jana Vanessa


What: Joga with Jana, 75 minutes
When: Saturday at 10am
Where: Energy Exchange (698 Queen Street East)
Who: Vanessa Montenegro


After a lukewarm introduction to EnergyXchange, their Twitter master kindly offered Jill and myself passes to Joga with Jana. They thought that with all my running, Joga would be more my speed. I was skeptical. What kind of name is “Joga” anyway? It feels so contradictory to the history and tradition of yoga. But when I told Jill, the Balser yoga master, she squealed. “I love Joga!” I was a little more intrigued, but as any Two Fit Girls reader knows, Jill is insane when it comes to yoga. Who does an impromptu 30-Day Challenge anyway?


Their website is flashy. Be prepared.


We headed over on Saturday morning to check it out. Sadly, Jana was out of town and Vanessa was subbing in. This worried me — the class is named after Jana, after all — but Vanessa was perky, polite and constantly moved around the room.

Oh, and she wasn’t afraid to kick our asses.

Here’s the thing: Joga is HARD. I thought I was in shape. I really did. But Joga is all about working the core muscles. Planks, planks and more planks. When you’re done with those, let’s balance. On one hand. And twist. It’s basically an ab workout disguised as a yoga class.

And that’s fine. Joga has a definitive identity and a core audience — athletes. It’s a great bridge into yoga for those who want a little more oomph in their ohms or sweat in their salutations. (Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.) There was no attempt to falsely embed a spiritual element into this class. The class was fun, the teacher was grounded and I left exhausted.

It was refreshing to (slightly) mix up the run/run/yoga/run routine of the past few weeks, and to know there’s a great option out there for the next time I want to take my yoga practice to the next level.

But, oh boy, do I ever need to do more crunches. How else will I survive my next Joga class?



Take this class if: you’re looking for a killer core workout.




Hey Fit Girl: I want to get fit on the Danforth


The other day, Two Fit Girls got their first piece of reader email from someone who was not our mom (hi mom!). A pal, who shall remain nameless so you will not get the opportunity to judge her lack of athletic prowess, sent me this note:

Hey fit girl!

Can you make any recommendations for where a totally(really)-unathletic-non-sports-playing girl could join some kind of unintimidating class, maybe spin, to attempt some kind of exercise?

I’ve briefly tried yoga, and was not very excited by it, and a gym membership is a commitment I am not ready for. Are there un-scary spin classes, preferably along the Danforth? I need motivation!



I’m primarily a runner, so I asked a few other fit girls for some advice, did some internet research and asked a lot of questions. I ended up with these three options for you:


1) Spinning at Energia (164 Danforth Avenue)


What I like about Energia is that they provide options, but it is based on core, classic fitness. If you’re looking for some cardio, there’s spinning or running. If you want to do some weight training that’s not at all intimidating, there’s kettlebell. And if you’re looking to wind down, there’s yoga. Classes are only 45 minutes, so if you’re finding it to be too much, you can find solace in the fact it will be over soon!

Introductory fees: $10 for your first class


2) Rock climbing at The Rock Oasis (388 Carlaw Avenue)


You are one lucky lady, because Toronto’s best rock climbing centre is now at your doorstep. Leslieville is a short run away (or walk or bus ride) from the Danforth and rock climbing is the kind of work out that kicks your ass — but you don’t realize it until you are home and you can’t lift your arm. The walls are scaled for level of difficulty, so there’s no need to be concerned about looking like an idiot or your first run being too tough. The Rock Oasis allows you to grow as your skills and interest do. I recommend you rope in a friend and take their intro lesson together. Rock climbing can get pricey for the casual participant, but it’s the perfect outing to shake up your regular fitness routine.

Introductory fees: $35 for the Learn to Climb package


3) Hip Hop Yoga or Zumba Bootcamp at EnergyXchange (698 Queen Street East)


If you’re concerned about your lack of coordination or athletic prowess shining through, take one of these classes. Everyone looks ridiculous, and that’s the point. It’s about loosening up, enjoying your body and having fun. EnergyXchange has tons of crazy classes, including Joga Blast, Gravity Turbo and Pilates: Hardcore, meaning no two workouts would be the same. These classes will let you let go of any concern about yoga being too zen or dance classes needing too much coordination.

Introductory fees: Their Around the Club 14 Day Pass is $20 for two weeks of unlimited classes.


Good luck! If you try any of these out, let me know. We could always use a guest fit girl post. 😉


Have a fit girl inquiry of your own? Email erin@twofitgirls.com.



Om Sweet Om: Detoxing at EnergyXchange


What: “Om Sweet Om” Detox Cocoa Sundays
When: Sunday @ 3pm
Where: EnergyXchange (698 Queen Street East)
Who: Shauna Ireland


I’ve been skeptical of EnergyXhange, despite being so close to my house, because I hate their website. The sound effects and flash animation drive me bananas. They just feel so over-the-top and unnecessary for a website that’s for a gym.

I finally caved on Sunday. After my epic running weekend, I wanted a class that was gentle and relaxing, and it looked like their 3pm “Detox” class would fit the bill. My initial thought? Detox = restorative. As in, lots of sleeping masquerading as exercise.


Soooo pretty!


It doesn’t. The class was 75 minutes of gentle, easy flowing. Lots of movement and breathing. It was a tad more intense than the yin and hatha classes I go to. Shauna, the teacher was professional and soothing, but she spent most of the class up front, demonstrating the poses. As someone who does a lot of stuff wrong (Of course I can touch my toes! You want me to put my leg there? Just watch me!), I found this a bit strange. It’s a fine way to lead a class, but it’s not for me. I like my teachers to get a little handsy.


Even their hallway is pretty.


The best part? Shauna gives you a little head massage at the end. Then feeds you chocolate. Any place that equates health with chocolate wins points with me.

EnergyXchange is stunning and their class schedule is extremely creative. I’m just disappointed I didn’t save my Passport for one of their “Joga” or “Gravity Turbo” classes instead. I can’t wait to look like an idiot during “Hip Hop Yoga.”


Take this class if: you’re an experienced yogi looking for something more low-key than your regular practice.







Monday Miles: Marathon Training Week #2



This week was an exhausting week, but a productive one. Working out this much means I’m tired and achy all the time — but I sleep great! Again, I moved the training plan around to fit my needs (Tuesday’s running-to-yoga plan was so good I might permanently switch Tuesday with Wednesday). Thanks to a bunch of snow Thursday night, my jumping rope and hill training plans didn’t quite work out. But there’s always this week, right?!


At the beginning of the week, I didn't even own this fancy contraption. Now, I know how to use it! Impressive, right?


Here’s how week 2 of my marathon training broke down:

Monday: 60 minutes Moksha Yoga

A morning workout? Check! A yoga class? Check! Having a yoga-obsessed sister is helpful, they can guilt you into waking up at 6am to stretch in a hot room.

Tuesday: 6.2km in 44:00 minutes; 60 minutes Kula yoga

Tuesday was a workout breakthrough. Running to yoga is my new favourite thing.

Wednesday: 9.4km in 1:11:30

This run was a bit of a slog. After three straight days of yoga, I felt stiff. But I powered through — need to keep those kms up!

Thursday: rest

This was not a planned rest day (Friday was), but after a tough work day and an exhausting run the night before, it made sense to flip Thursday and Friday.

Friday: 6.4km in 45:38

Friday finally brought us WINTER! Snow was everywhere. I went out and bought a pair of YakTrax after reading a positive review on Run with Jess. I totally count that as a workout in itself. Shopping is physically, mentally and financially exhauasting.

Saturday: 12.1k in 1:40:26

Not the fastest pace, but when you add -20 degree weather and an icy and snowy trail to the mix, I’m just proud we finished this one. My pal B. guided me on a loop through High Park, through the Junction and along the rail line. I love how running gets you out into new neighbourhoods — and makes you feel like a badass when passers-by look at you like you’re insane.

Sunday: 7.0k in 54:08; 75 minutes “detox” yoga

On Sunday, I was determined to hit the 40k total for the week — and try out my new pair of YakTrax. I accomplished both, and discovered my second new favorite thing of the week: winter trail running. In the afternoon, I hit up EnergyXchange for the first time on my Passport to Prana for a “detox” class. It was more intense than I was hoping, but let’s face it: I was hoping to lie down for an hour and call it “exercise.” Expect a full review in the next few days.


My goals for this week? Simply to keep it up. Last week was a solid fitness effort and if I can keep that up until May, this marathon might not be so hard after all.