Whenever I travel, I try to squeeze in a class or two at a gym, spa or studio nearby. So, It was with the best of intentions that two friends and I agreed to take a 75 minute CorePowerYoga Fusion class while on a recent girls weekend in Chicago. Based on the online class description, this seemed like a good one to try. As a group fitness instructor, taking different classes at other locations gives me an opportunity to experience the workout as a participant instead of instructor and also inspires me to add new things to my own classes.
We soon found out that this particular class was a little more than we bargained for!
In addition to the core yoga and strength aspect, the workout took place in a room heated to 95 degrees and with added humidity! I had overlooked that aspect of the class description when I selected (and suggested we attend) it! I knew what we were up for with the yoga and strength portion but the added “Florida in August” climate made it much more challenging. And, since my two co-particiants and I are all in our 50s and with the inherent “sensitivity to heat” we were a little alarmed when we walked into the balmy studio. Not to back down from a challenge, we stuck it out (did I mention the first class was free?) and sweated off about three pounds of the previous evenings indulgences.
I’d also like point out that the studio was packed with mostly 20 and 30 somethings. So we felt pretty good about making it through the entire class, walking out on our own power and not passing out on the way back to the hotel. Once we recovered, we agreed that it was an amazing and challenging workout. I can’t speak for the others but I’d definitely go back – and next time I’d like to to try their basic Core Power Yoga class – as we started out with a pretty advanced selection!
I’d recommend this class to those who want a very challenging power yoga type of class. They do offer more beginner (and unheated!) versions as well. The staff and instructors were super friendly and the studio was clean and modern.
For studio locations visit: http://www.corepoweryoga.com
Though unique, this wasn’t the first class I’d taken in Chicago with friends. During a girls weekend last year, five of us ventured out to a Bar Method class. Again, we were among the older participants but there were a few more “over 40s” in the crowd and this class was done at a comfortable temperature.
Bar classes are all the rage and having taken both Bar Method and Pure Barre classes, I can assure you that they will definitely test your muscle endurance for all muscle groups – with a focus on lower body. The workout is low impact but will elevate the heart rate and aims to sculpt a lean, dancer’s body. Enthusiasts take the class several days per week. Instructors will make corrections throughout the class and it’s pretty fast paced and challenging. As with Core Power Yoga, there are studios in several cities nationwide.
Some other classes I’ve tried while traveling include “foam rolling”, cardio drumming using stability balls, water yoga, various cardio, strength and yoga classes and guided hikes. I’ve always learned something new and if nothing else, worked off some extra dessert or wine! Many studios will also offer a free class to first time participants if you ask.
If you’re not a class enthusiast but want to stay fit on vacation, I highly recommend walking, hiking or biking if the weather and terrain allow. I love to hike in Arizona and walk on the lakeshore in Chicago or any beach! The point is to move and be active!
And if you’d like to squeeze in a quick total body workout without leaving your hotel room, here’s an easy circuit training routine I use when traveling. Just repeat each exercise 16 times and repeat the circuit 2-4 times. No weights are needed and as a bonus, the entire workout can be done in pajamas!
Start with 2-3 minutes light warm up – marching in place, knee lifts, arm swings, etc to loosen up and warm up the muscles. Then start the circuit doing 16 reps of each exercise (unless otherwise noted).
- Jumping jacks – high or low impact
- Squats (feet hip distance apart, weight in heels)
- Push-ups (on toes or knees)
- hold plank 30 seconds on feet or knees. Elbows or hands. Alternate side planks if desired.
- Standing front kicks – alternating legs (16 each side)
- Reverse lunges (dips) – alternating sides (16 each side)
- Tricep dips – use chair or alternately tricep pushups
- Bicycles – elbows to opposite knees lying flat.
- Repeat 2-4 cycles
- Spend 5 minutes stretching: calf stretches, standing quadriceps (heel to glute), triceps, inner thigh, hips, etc and take a few deep breaths to focus and destress.
Here’s to staying fit while having a fabulous trip – whether business or pleasure, there’s no need to skip exercise and you’ll be glad you didn’t!