Summer is right around the corner. As Chicagoans, we look forward to this moment from August to May each year. We slay in the gym, choose more green smoothies (kale yeah) over Stan's donuts and have our favorite Class Pass studio's schedules memorized all in anticipation of that glorious city moment when the temps hit the 70s...and then the 80s...and then the 90s. Are you summer ready to hit North Avenue beach?
Let's be real. We're not always in the mood for a group fitness class or making a trip out to the gym. This is especially true if your only option is going after 5pm on a weekday (struggle is so real for all the 9-5ers). Don't let the obstacles keep you from getting to your fit body goal. Thankfully, we have amazing workout apps (Nike+ Training Club (NTC) app <3), printable programs (where my TIU and BBG girls at!) and a browser full of at-home workouts only a Google search away.
We all have our favorite home-workout moves that come up in those plans (love/hate relationship with Mr. Burpee). Here's 35-40 minutes of heart=pumping cardio and strength training moves that keep me goin'. Make time and be present. If you're feeling really antsy and just want to move throughout your day, you can break the workout out into parts. The point? Just move.
Sayonara excuses. Hello endorphins.
Still have some energy? Rest for 60 seconds and repeat.
Hardpressed is no joke.
It's amazing what the body can accomplish in 30 minutes. If you think you don't have "time" to workout, you should try Hardpressed. You're in, work your body out until exhaustion and then you're out and can get on with your busy day.
I love trying new workout classes and visiting new gyms/studios in Chicago; I was super excited when Jeana Anderson of aSweatLife told me that their next #sweatworking event would be a Hardpressed Conditioning class.
I didn't really know what to expect before my first class. Note to self: do not take pre-workout before Hardpressed. Your heart might explode. Lesson learned, Kathy. 😁
The small class was broken down into three groups, with each group performing three exercises on rotation (see photo above). Most of the exercises were 60 seconds on with 30 seconds of rest (felt like 5 seconds...). We would end with 30 seconds on and 30 seconds off to really exhaust our muscles before moving on to the next exercise. I savored every second of rest. If you think you're working out hard now, think again.
Her Favorite Exercises:
- TIYR Pulls
- Treadmill Sprints (around 10 mph)
- Battle Ropes
The assault bikes and sleds are what got me. I can honestly say I've never pushed myself that hard. But, it made me mentally and physically stronger and I can't wait to go back for another Hardpressed Conditioning and Hardpressed Strength class.
Love trying new classes but not ready to commit to your Class Pass subcription? Check out asweatlife.com for more #sweatworking events. 💁🏼
Photos by aSweatLife
Living in Chicago means less Vitamin D and more fluctuations in the weather than our bodies can sometimes handle. Combine this with stress, lack of sleep and poor nutrition and your immune system will feel it in return.
Food is one of the most powerful tools we have to help prevent disease and a healthy body begins with a healthy immune system. Food, in it's most natural state, is all the medicine we need. Over the years, I've stopped taking medications and all supplements and rarely get sick or have to visit the doctor. I can greatly attribute my health to my dedication to healthy, balanced eating.
Over 70% of your immune system is in your gut and what you eat forms the foundation of your health. Your immune system maintains homeostasis by defending against viruses and bacteria which can cause inflammation in the body, illness and disease. Nutritional deficiencies can impair immune function, increasing both the risk and severity of infection. Micronutrients are just as important as macronutrients!
Here are my favorite immune boosting foods:
Curcumin is the active ingredient in Turmeric, responsible for the distinct yellow colouring and the impressive list of health properties. Curcumin is anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-bacterial, detoxifying and amazing for digestive health. Turmeric has been linked to the prevention of cancer cell growth and management of inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, asthma, eczema and inflammatory bowel disease. It is a nutritional powerhouse, rich in manganese, zinc, B group vitamins and iron.
HER FIX: My morning detox drink before breakfast is: 2 tbsp organic apple cider vinegar, 1/2 cup grapefruit juice or freshly squeezed grapefruit, 1 cup water and a dash of cayenne, turmeric and cinnamon to kickstart my metabolism.
Studies have shown that ginger has potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. It helps to boost immune function and combat cellular damage. This gut friendly spice stimulates digestion, gut motility and bowel function, while helping to relieve bloating, cramping and nausea. A recent study also found ginger to be as effective as pharmaceutical agents in relieving PMS pain in women.
HER FIX: Add fresh ginger to a cup of hot tea or drink ginger-flavored Kombucha varieties ( I love GT's Synergy!).
Citrus such as oranges, mandarins, grapefruit, lemons and limes are an excellent source of vitamin C which helps maintain the body’s defence against bacterial infections. Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant utilised throughout the body. It is involved in tissue growth and repair, adrenal gland function, immune system support, iron absorption and stomach acid activation. Increased vitamin C requirements are observed in periods of stress for immune system support.
HER FIX: OJ :) I also love to buy cutie mandarins to snack on. They're great for a quick pre-workout carb source.
Carrots contain vitamin A precursors called carotenoids (Beta carotene) that help promote vision and support a healthy immune system. Carrots are also rich in vitamins B complex for energy metabolic, C, D, E, K, fibre, potassium, iron, manganese, copper, iodine, silica, sulphur, chromium.
HER FIX: Carrots and hummus. 😍
Garlic is also an immune system warrior, protecting the body from infections and illness. Garlic contains allicin, a potent phytonutrient that is great for cardiac health. It has been shown to help lower blood pressure, inhibit blood clotting and promote healthy cholesterol levels.
HER FIX: I love adding crushed garlic to my dinner recipe. It pairs well with rosemary herb chicken. Trader Joe's has a crushed garlic can that is super handy to keep in the fridge.
Matcha is the most nutrient-rich green tea in the world. The best matcha needs to be organic and ceremonial grade which is more potent in antioxidants. The antioxidants in matcha are beneficial in strengthening the immune system; green tea keeps the immune system running normally. Healthy immune systems are better at handling infections from bacteria and viruses. Drinking matcha can also make you feel relaxed, calm and happy due to the high levels of L-theanine. This is great for those with elevated adrenal levels who are prone to illness and becoming run down.
HER FIX: avo-matcha smoothie. check out my recipe in an earlier blog post.
Probiotics are live microorganisms (good bacteria) that reside in the gut. Probiotics support our immune system, aid digestion and assist with nutrient absorption into our bloodstream. Take probiotics and/or eat fermented foods. Fermented foods are naturally packed with probiotics that promote healthy gut bacteria. Examples include kefir, kombucha tea, yoghurt, miso, sauerkraut, kimchi and fermented vegetables.
HER FIX: I'm a newly converted Kombucha fan. It can get pricey but it's worth it for your body and health benefits. I would like to start making my own!