Holiday Mania

Happy Monday everyone. Only eleven days until Christmas! This weekend Kevin and I attended two holiday parties. It was a great weekend of celebrations, but I’m a little tired from all of the fun. 🙂

Every holiday season brings holiday parties galore, shopping for gifts and endless amounts of food and holiday treats that are hard to resist. Personally I love the holidays, but I find myself so busy that it’s often hard to really enjoy the season. And of course there’s delicious food at all the parties that makes it so difficult not to derail from my usual diet.

My rule of thumb for controlling what I eat at holiday parties is allowing myself to splurge a little.  For example, I might treat myself to cookie after dinner, but skip the bread.  For me, I like to allow myself one treat a day, but otherwise stick to my normal diet. For times where I indulge a little too much, I make sure to hit the gym extra hard the next day. It’s definitely difficult to stay on track during the holidays, but allowing yourself to indulge here and there while mostly making good food and exercise choices is key.

Through all of the craziness, I try to keep my regular workout schedule, working out 5-6 times per week. Here’s an example of a 20 minute workout that targets the whole body in short amount of time. No excuses on not being able to fit this into your busy holiday schedule!

Easy 20 minute holiday workout (3 sets of each):

  • 12 squats with a kettle bell
  • 12 burpees with a jump at the top of each one
  • 60 second forearm plank
  • 12 lunges
  • 12 bicep curls with weight bar

This year I decided to think about my New Year resolutions including my health and fitness goals in November and December  instead of waiting until January. This way I can finish out the year strong (as my dad would say). I’ve also found that writing down my goals makes me more accountable and more likely to achieve them. I’ve also already set my goals for 2016, and encourage everyone to do the same. I hope everyone enjoys the next few weeks of celebrations and time with family and friends!

– A –

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 –