Cycling Craze

Happy happy Monday! We are both very excited to be reunited in Arizona in less than two weeks! One way we stay connected while living so far apart is by trying new workouts and discussing them afterwards. When we were both at MSU (oh the good ol’ days), we loved working out together during the week and really enjoyed cycling. We missed the feeling of both exhirilathon and exhaustion after an intense cycling class so we are back at it! Here is a recap of the classes we have taken in the past couple weeks.

Meg:

I recently joined Lifetime Fitness and am loving the workout classes that I am able to take there including yoga and cycling. There are two different formats of cycling classes that are available: studio cycle and evolution cycle. Studio cycle is a basic cycling class with a variety of music and instruction consisting of hills and sprints. Evolution cycle is upbeat with techno music and plenty of movement in and out of the saddle as well as some added upper body work with push-ups off the bike.

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I took my parents to their first cycling class a couple weeks ago and after telling me how challenging the class was, they asked to go back this Sunday! I am loving this Sunday ritual since there is no better way to start the week off than with a sweaty cycling class!

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After completing a  warmup, the instructor (who sits at the front of the room) dives right into class challenging us every minute we are there. Each class is different in terms how many hills and sprints sections there are. Typically the sections correlate with the music and ramp up during the chorus which I love. The class finishes up with a cool-down including some stretching. I am so glad I started cycling again, it is definitely a great workout! togetheratheart_cycling

Amanda: 

I’ve been on quite the workout class kick lately, trying a variety of different classes across the Valley. One of my favorites lately is cycling and I found a great studio in Phoenix that I’ve been frequenting on Thursday nights. I forgot how much of a butt kicker cycling classes are!

The atmosphere is similar to Soul Cycle, with a dark room, loud music and inspiring instructors. The class is 55 minutes and is a variety of hills, sprints, and jumps. The dim lighting and loud music really gets me in the zone and allows me to focus on myself, which I sometimes find hard to do in other class settings.

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My heart rate is usually around 160 the entire class and I’m drenched in sweat when I leave! On average I spin about 13-14 miles, and I’m constantly pushing myself to add more resistance and go a further distance each week.

I’ve been doing more weight lifting workouts so cycling classes are a great dose of intense cardio that I like to mix in 1-2 times per week. Workouts can’t get boring when you’re changing it up constantly!

We hope you guys have a wonderful week and are able to get some sweaty workouts in as well! Talk to you soon!

– A & M –

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Pump Up Your Workout

Happy Monday friends! We hope you enjoyed the weekend (and wonderful weather)! We thought we would start the week off with some workout motivation. Finding inspiration for a workout can be a challenge so we thought we  would share some ab exercises to get you started. We hope you can put these to good use, now get sweating!

1.  Tick Tock Plank (with bosu ball)togetheratheart_abworkout

Start in a plank position with forearms on the middle of the bosu ball. Bring right leg to the side tapping your toes and return to midline. Repeat on the left. That is one rep, complete 15. This exercise can also be done without a bosu ball by placing forearms on the ground.

2. Walk Upstogetheratheart_abworkout

Start lying down with either leg straight up towards the ceiling. Use your hands to walk up your leg crunching your abs and lower back down so hands are at the bottom of the leg. Complete 10 reps with one leg up and 10 with the opposite leg up.

3. Weighted Sit Upstogetheratheart_abworkout

Using a dumbbell weight (I use 10 pounds), start lying on your back with your knees bent, holding the weight with both hands. Assume a sit up position keep weight in front of your chest. Return to lying position. Complete 20 reps.

4. Boat pose crunches togetheratheart_abworkout
This one is for my fellow yogis! After holding the boat pose in yoga last week (killer!) I was inspired to turn the pose into a dynamic exercise. Begin in boat pose (pictured above). Extend your legs keeping your arms out to the sides and allowing your back to drop slightly toward the ground (without touching). Return to boat pose. Complete 15 reps.

5. Plank and twist togetheratheart_abworkout

Start in a plank position with your body in a straight line (make sure your butt is not sticking up or sagging). Bring your leg in towards your head and cross it over slightly to the opposite arm. Do one on each side for one rep. Do 10 reps at a decent pace to increase your heart rate.

6. Bicycles togetheratheart_abworkout

Sit with your weight back so you feel a catch in your abs and lift your feet. Your arms can extend above your head or rest on the ground next to your body for more support. Make big circles with your legs for 25 seconds. Take a few second break and switch the direction of your legs for another 25 seconds.

7. Oblique crunchestogetheratheart_abworkout

Lay on your side with your bottom arm on the ground slightly in front of you and your top arm with your elbow out and hand on your head. Pull your self upward using your oblique so that your legs and elbow come close and then lower back down. Complete 25 reps and switch sides.

8. Pulse ups

Lay on your back with your feet in the air and your legs as straight as possible. Pulse upward lifting your butt in the air, keeping your legs straight without swinging them. I like to pretend there is a wall right behind my legs that I can’t touch to avoid swinging. Do 25 reps.

As always, be sure to listen to your own body and modify as needed. What are some of your favorite go-to moves? We would love to hear from you! Have a great week, talk to you soon!

– A & M –

 

 

Full Body Circuit Workout

We hope everyone had a nice weekend! We both had relaxing and productive weekends, but they always seem to go by too fast. We spent some in the gym and want to share a workout circuit that targets all the main parts of your body (legs, glutes, arms, and abs). This can be completed as a larger circuit with less sets of each, or you can pick 1-2 parts of the body you want to focus on that day and do more sets to make a complete workout.

Legs

  • Step ups with weights: hold a light to medium weight in each hand. Step up onto a bench or high stack of steps using one leg at a time and returning back to the ground with your feet together. Do 12 reps as quickly as possible and switch legs.

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  •  Standing leg abduction (Inner): using a functional trainer set the pulley at a low level with a light amount of weight, securing the leg cuff around your ankle. Stand straight with slight tension  with your leg slightly to the side. Pull leg straight across the body until you feel a catch, then return to starting position. Do 12-15 reps on each leg.

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  • Standing leg abduction (Outer): using a functional trainer set the pulley at a low level with a light amount of weight, securing the leg cuff around your ankle. Stand with your body towards the machine with slight tension on your leg. Lift your leg to the outer side away from your body, keeping your body straight and core tight until you feel a catch. Return your leg to the starting position. Do 12-15 reps on each leg.

Glutes

  • Squats with kettlebell: stand on the ground or on top of a bench or step for a greater range of motion with a medium size kettlebell (I use 30 pounds). Spread legs slightly wider than hips distance apart and squat straight down holding the kettlebell in between your legs. Make sure your knees don’t go over your toes. The motion should feel like you are sitting in a low chair. Complete 12 reps.

  • Glute kickback: using a functional trainer set the pulley at a low level with a low to medium amount of weight, securing the leg cuff around your ankle. Stand with your body towards the machine and hold onto the machine for stability. Lift one leg straight up until you feel a catch while keeping your upper body as straight and controlled. Do 12-15 reps on each leg.

  • Squats and lunges with barbell: hold a medium size barbell (I use 30 pounds) across upper back. Start with feet a little wider than hips distance apart and squat straight down like you are sitting into a chair. Bring feet together and lunge straight forward with the right leg. Return back to the center squat and then do a lunge on your left side. This is one rep. Repeat 6 times.

  Abs

  • Russian twist-sit with your legs off the floor crossing at your ankles. Holding a weight (I use 10 pounds) between your hands, twist from your abdominals from right to left. That’s one rep, complete 20. 

  •  Crunch with stability ball- position stability ball under legs around the thigh/knee region assuming a plank position. Crunch your legs in towards your chest moving the ball with you. Extend your legs back out straight. Repeat 10 times.

togetheratheart_circuit  

  • Twisting plank- assume plank position on forearms. Keeping upper body still, twist hips to the right towards the floor and return to center. Repeat to the left. That’s one rep, complete 10.

Arms

  • Tricep kickback-stand with legs hip width apart in a squat position with upper body at a 45 degree angle. With weights in each hand (I used 7.5 pounds) draw arms in towards body bending at the elbow. Extend arms straight back and curl back in. Repeat 12 times.
  • Chin ups- hold weights (I used 10 pounds) down in front of legs. Bend arms with elbows outward bringing weights up towards your chin. Extend arms to return weights downward. Complete 15 reps.

togetheratheart_circuit

  • Shoulder press on stability ball-position ball under middle back, using weights (I used 7.5 pounds) hold arms at 90 degree angles on each side of body. Extend elbows pressing weights above body and return to 90 degrees. Repeat 15 times. 

togetheratheart_circuit

We hope you enjoy this full body workout. Please modify as needed and remember to listen to your own body. Keep the motivation going in the new year! Happy sweating!  

LTB at Pure Barre

Happy Monday! We wanted to share a little about our favorite group exercise class, Pure Barre. Pure Barre is a popular group exercise class that’s quite different from others we’ve tried. The class is a total body workout that targets your arms, seat, thighs and abs. It’s 55 minutes long and focuses on small movements that tightens and tones all over. The first time we tried a class in Chicago we could barely walk the next day!  Of course you start to get used to the burn and shake, but the class continues to be challenging as long as you’re pushing yourself. The class also varies each time as the instructor changes up the toning movements done at the barre.

TogetheratHeart_PureBarreWe did a little of our own LTB (lift, tone, burn) at our resort in Mexico in April!

During the class you use a small ball, tube, light weights, and some of the classes use velcro tubes (these are quite a killer). They also encourage you to purchase sticky socks which help you keep your balance as your rise onto your highest tip toes for some of the exercises. Pure Barre starts with a fully body warm up including a 90 second plank! Once the warm up concludes, it’s right into arms in the center of the room using 2-3 pound weights. It may not sound like much weight, but you really feel the burn as you’re lead through various isometric movements. After each toning section concludes there’s a stretch break to lengthen the muscles you just worked.  Next, it’s time to work your thighs. This is where the shaking starts! Both the thigh and seat sections use the barre in the room, and being former dancers we were both surprised when the barre work was totally different than ballet. After finishing up with thigh and seat work, it’s time to grab your mat and get ready for abs. Abs was the hardest part for us to wrap our heads around, as it’s a series of small ‘tuck’ movements that are hard to get used to at first.  Once you’ve done the class a few times, you start to get the hang of it and you begin to feel your waistline tightening with each tuck! After abs, there’s back dancing to finish off the class. You’re laying on your back in a bridge position, doing small tucks to get in some extra seat and thigh work before it’s time for a longer stretching session.

TogetheratHeart_PureBarre

We really enjoy taking Pure Barre once or twice a week to add variety to our workouts. The instructors are motivating and push you to do your best as they walk around the room and fix your form throughout the class. The high-energy music they play coordinates with each section of the class allowing you to close your eyes and focus on yourself for an hour. The retail in the front of each studio is an added bonus! We love sporting our favorite Pure Barre tanks and use our Pure Barre water bottles all the time. As we began to take barre classes more regularly, we noticed our bodies becoming more toned and feel stronger overall with each class. It definitely has kept us coming back for more! Lift, tone, burn baby!

togetheratheart_purebarre

Have a great week! 

– A & M –

Morning Ride at Soulcycle

We hope everyone had a nice weekend!

As we shared in our last post, we took a leap back into the cycling world and tried our first Soulcycle class in Chicago! The studio is new, and we couldn’t wait to try it when we found out they were opening a few studios throughout Chicago.

If you aren’t familiar with Soulcycle, it was started in New York as a unique alternative to group workouts. While our ride was 45 minutes long (it was their signature class), Soulcycle offers a variety of classes including an introductory class as well as longer rides. The class combines indoor cycling with quick choreography all along to a motivating beat.

togetheratheart_soulcycle

When we first arrived, we signed our waivers and got our cycling shoes (free for the first ride and $3 each time after). We have never clipped into a bikes with cycling shoes as we used to wear tennis shoes to cycling in college. We  definitely had a few laughs as we adjusted our bikes and got the hang of clipping in. The class started promptly so we were glad we arrived a few minutes early to get acclimated.

togetheratheart_soulcycle

Unfortunately they don’t allow pictures inside the studio, but we were a little taken aback when we first entered the room as the bikes are all very close together.  We found it to be motivating once the class started, as the close proximity of the bikes encourage you to feel the energy of riders around you.

The class was full of energy especially for it being a Sunday morning. We started with a sprint and a mix of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd positions (sitting, bottom off the bike with hips pulled back over the bike seat, and standing). The instructor stressed the importance of good posture and riding along to the music, and we could instantly feel ourselves getting the hang of it. Throughout the ride we continued to add resistance until we reached a steep hill which was the peak of the class for us work-wise.  We were sweating and felt our legs getting tired, but we were not giving up!

Just when we felt like we couldn’t climb any more, we started to slow down and the instructor announced it was time for the weights section.  Woo hoo! There were small dumbbells attached to the seat of our bike, and we quickly grabbed them and followed the instructor as he lead us through multiple arm exercises. The arm portion was combinined with crunches all while still riding at a slow pace. We could definitely feel the burn!

Once we were done with the weights, it was time for the last portion of the class. Although it was still challenging, the second half of the class seemed to fly by. We ended with some fast sprints in positions two and three.  It was helpful at this point to feel the people beside you and push yourself to keep pace with the other riders and the music. We finished the final sprints and the pace slowed as we were instructed to hop off of our bikes to do some stretching. We had a little trouble unclipping from the bikes, but I’m sure all new riders can relate.

togetheratheart_soulcycle

Overall, we found the class to be a challenging high-energy workout that was really unique. As we are both former dancers, we enjoyed the choreography aspect of the class and found that it helped the workout feel like less of a workout and made the 45 minutes fly by. We look forward to trying it again soon! Feel free to comment below with your experience with cycling and/or Soulcycle as well as any questions you may have for us 🙂 Have a great week!

– A & M –