Thursday, September 11, 2014

Youtside Fitness Club {A review}.

Remember that scene at the beginning of Bridesmaids, when Annie and Lillian are freeloading on a workout class in a park? I have a new workout class concept to share tonight that's available now in the Chicago area - Youtside Fitness Club. Register for a free class and this could be you this weekend {except for the crunches-while-hiding-behind-a-tree part...}


The new workout concept Youtside {meaning "you outside!"} launched this past spring in Chicago, with three locations in the city - Lincoln Park South, Montrose Beach, and Oz Park. There are also classes available in Elgin, with more locations coming soon. Youtside classes are held exclusively outdoors, year-round. Class attendees are asked to rank themselves as beginner, intermediate, or advanced prior to the workout. Everyone wears a colored jersey so the trainer knows how to adapt the workout to each person's needs.


I checked out a class last Saturday morning with a few friends, at the Lincoln Park South location. We met our trainer at a designated spot on North Avenue in Old Town, near the brightly decorated Youtside van. This detail is key, because the van securely holds your personal effects while you head to the park for the workout. Purses, keys, even my friend's bike were locked away for the hour. As you can see, everyone chose the same level {intermediate}, sporting bright blue jerseys.


The idea behind Youtside that makes it so unique is that the class involves social, group-based fitness. There were lunges, squats, planks from the steps of a monument, quick jogs, and activities like playing tag and leap frog. One thing I learned is I am absolutely terrible at "wheelbarrow" walks. It may be time to work on arm strength.


It was an absolutely gorgeous day for an outdoor workout. We moved to several different locations in the park, jogging or skipping in-between moves. The hour flew by, and my legs were sore for several days afterwards. It was one of the most fun workouts I've experienced in a long time. Since we were outdoors, every new move was heightened. Where would we do a plank next? Which monument would we run around?

My biggest question to Youtside after attending a class was this: what was the motivation behind an "outdoor-only" workout? The answer:
So many people in Chicago go from their 'work box' to their 'gym box' and don't get to take advantage of the beauty and motivation that outdoor workouts provide. By getting people out in the parks, the Youtside fitness formula takes full advantage of the outdoors, caters to all fitness levels and, most of all, uses innovative concepts and partner exercises to make the workout fun!
 

If you are interested in trying an outdoor workout, Youtside offers a free class for any first-time participant - no advance registration is required. Classes are available six days per week. Let me know if you try out a class!

{I was not compensated for this post and all opinions expressed are my own. Youtside contacted me and asked me to attend a free class to check out this new fitness concept. Chicago Jogger is not a personal trainer - visit your doctor before starting any fitness routine.}

Monday, September 8, 2014

Hot Chocolate 15k Training Plan.

Now that the second week of September is officially here, it's time to start thinking about training for fall races. The Hot Chocolate 15k/5k is coming up in just over two months {November 9th}!

I usually follow a 3x per week training plan for a race like this, for injury prevention and ease of scheduling. I run in events for fun and motivation, and I'll be honest it's generally hard to squeeze four decent runs into my weekly work schedule. However, I'm trying something new with this race and sprinkling in a few weeks with four runs instead of three. I'm also planning to lift weights or participate in an interval training class on a weekly basis.

I started week one earlier this evening with 3 miles. If you want to join the Chicago Hot Chocolate 15k/5k race this year, click here to register. Please enter the code ChiJogHat - registrants of the Chicago 15k or 5k race using this code will receive an extra in their race goodie bag, a Hot Chocolate hat. You will also help earn a free race entry giveaway to be hosted on Chicago Jogger - thanks for the support!


Speaking of chocolate, I have one more thing to share tonight. I made S'mores Bars this past weekend for a friend's barbeque, and I cannot rave enough about this recipe from Six Sisters' Stuff. I doubled the graham cracker cookie dough portion to make this in a 9x12 pan, and it could have used another jar of marshmallow fluff with no problem. Train hard, snack hard!


{I was not compensated for this post and all opinions are my own. I am posting information about the Chicago race for readers as part of the Hot Chocolate Blog Ambassador program.}