Friday, October 31, 2014

October Favorites + Moji Giveaway.

Happy Halloween! We're moving into a chilly day in Chicago, with talk of snow flurries. What!? I hope the trick-or-treaters are ready for me to greet them in a winter sweater later today instead of a scary costume. I don't know about you, but wearing a winter sweater seems like a scary costume to me right now! Anyways. I have a short list of October favorites to share today, ending with a giveaway for a new tool perfect for sore muscles - the Moji 360 Massager. Scroll down for more!

Favorite Run ~ Monster Dash 10k Race. A few months ago, my best friend from high school and her husband moved to Chicago and we have been having a great time running and spending time together. Last weekend, we ran a Halloween-themed 10k race, the Monster Dash. The race started downtown in Grant Park, and looped south along the lakefront path. It was an unbelievably gorgeous and warm day, and the race ended with goodie bags full of candy, with an apple thrown in for good measure.

Favorite Sip ~ Vander Mill Totally Roasted Cider. K and I randomly found out about this limited edition cider from Vander Mill during a recent brunch at the Rocking Horse bar in Logan Square. Intrigued by the description and the fact that the cider was on tap, we decided to split one. Delicious! The cider includes the flavor of cinnamon-roasted pecans, achieved by {you guessed it} steeping cinnamon-roasted pecans IN the cider. I can't image a better fall flavor for a beverage.

 {Image via Vander Mill}

Favorite Funny ~ This Ron Swanson quote. Enough said.

{From Buzzfeed; image via Flickr: nanpalmero

Favorite Running Tool ~ The Moji 360 Massager. Moji sent me their 360 Massager recently to test and review. This is the first product I've tried for pre or post workout soreness, and I think it's the perfect tool to use for tense muscles! I ran an 8-mile training run to prepare for the Hot Chocolate 15k earlier this week, and this massager was great for my sore legs. 

The Moji 360 is a massage stick that's easy to use, with a handle on either side. It includes two sizes of spheres, designed for different muscle groups. Larger outside spheres dig deeper into the IT Band, calves, quads, etc. Smaller spheres on the inside are good for the lower back and neck. Another thing I love about this company is the fact that Moji is a recovery and massage brand based locally in the Chicago area, out of Glenview, IL. Moji is also active in the local running community through CARA.  

In case you need a massager like this for your running or other fitness activities, I am giving away one Moji 360 Massager to a reader! This giveaway is open for U.S. residents only. The winner will be contacted on November 10th, and Moji will mail the massager directly from their office. For more information about the Moji 360 Massager, like the company on Facebook or follow on Twitter.

 {I was not compensated for this post and all opinions are my own. I received a free Moji 360 Massager to review and giveaway to readers.}

Monday, October 27, 2014

What is TRX? A Cross Town Fitness Experience.

I have a really fun workout experience to share tonight - my first go at TRX interval training! A few weeks ago, K and I attended a small group TRX total body workout class at CrossTown Fitness in West Loop. The class was led by CTF's Fitness Director Betina Gozo. "TRX" is a actually a training tool for classes, using the TRX Suspension Trainer - long straps that assist with a variety of bodyweight exercises. Think balance, core, and strength training.

CTF's take on a TRX total body workout during the class I attended included 45 second intervals over 50 minutes, switching between using a treadmill and using a TRX for a variety of moves. We completed squats, burpees, arm exercises, lunges, and more. I was sore for days after this class and I have to tell you it is one of the best interval workouts I've ever done. CTF has incorporated TRX in classes since opening last year.

After the class, I sent a few questions to CTF's Fitness Director to learn more about TRX.

What is the philosophy of TRX training? 
{An excerpt from the TRX website}
No part of the body is an island unto itself. Try to pick up a pen off the floor using just your hand. It's impossible. Even simple movements simultaneously engage the legs, core, shoulders, arms, and neck. The body is an interconnected chain of muscles. Every movement we perform is a whole-body movement. That’s why TRX Training uses tools and movements that challenge the entire body in every plane of motion.

What is the benefit of incorporating short runs in CTF's TRX class (an aspect I loved, by the way)? 
I incorporated the bursts of running in between the strength exercises to keep client's heart rate up and increase their metabolic rate so that they can burn more calories. 

How is TRX training beneficial to fitness vs. "regular" interval training?
The TRX incorporates resistance and cardio training with only your body weight. The TRX is a good training tool for your core. With certain movements, you may be focusing on certain body parts, but you are always strengthening your core and using your whole body. Since you are only using your body weight, every movement is scalable and you are less prone to injury. With some interval training incorporating weights, it is more likely you can injure yourself with poor form versus the TRX. Another benefit is that you can bring a TRX with you anywhere, with countless exercises to work with!

If you are interested in checking out CrossTown Fitness, CTF has an introductory "new client" pass available for one month for $80. Check out more info here!

{I was not compensated for this post and all opinions are my own. I attended an event at CrossTown Fitness that included a free TRX total body workout class.}