Motivational Music Mondays: Oye Como Va (Santana)

Nice warm up groove.  Happy Cinco de Mayo!

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Fitness Adventures: 6 Reasons Why Pole Fitness Is Awesome

Pole Fitness

 

I am a part of a wonderful Facebook group called The Fit Girlz Clique. If you don’t know about it, go  to Facebook and getchu some! It is a wonderful community of women who encourage and motivate either through pictures, words or both.  The page always has great challenges and fitness events that are always changing and seem fun.  For my first event with this group, I decided to join a Pole Fitness class.  It was held at 8 am on a Saturday at Good Gyrrl Studios in the Bridgeport Arts Center on the South Side of Chicago.  The instructor, Coach Robin of Alpha To Omega Wholistic Therapeutic Services is fantastic and I want to tell you why this pole fitness class was awesome.

1. This class was located in the Bridgeport Arts Center which is a huge warehouse/loft style building on the South Side of Chicago near US Cellular Field/The Cell/Comiskey Park. It mostly houses artist lofts, but also hosts another gym and a poetry lounge to name a few.  The outside has a really nice courtyard area with a mosaic lined walkway and a big silver horse which goes along with the courtyard. I’m not gonna lie, me and a few others got a little turned around finding the actual studio but when we got there, we found the Good Gyrrl Studio to be cute, not too girly and sensually decorated with leopard print, velvet covered seats and four poles in the middle of the room for the pole fitness class.  I also saw some hula hoops and weights so I am sure that other interesting courses are taught there and since a few of us (yes, me too) forgot our mats, there were several mats available for our use.

2. Some of us were a little late, but once we got there, we found Coach Robin ready to go. She got us warmed up, was detailed and informative in her instruction and made the workout accessible for everyone. On another note, girlfriend has some serious pole skills. I was in awe and quite impressed. i learned quite a bit in that one class, such as the use of a product called “tack” that you can rub on your hands and in my case, on my inner thighs to keep from slipping on the pole.

3. I love a challenge which is why I chose this class.  The challenge of pole fitness is first a test of your body weight strength. We worked our core, upper body, inner thighs..outer thighs..every.thing. No weights, only using the pole for support. We learned a few basic spins, one was called The Cradle, as well as how to a Handstand. This workout was fun and no joke!

4. The ladies that participated in this class were wonderful, open minded and even though I had never met any of them before, were some of the friendliest women I have ever met.  We all had varying levels of fitness ability, but we all were there to exercise and experience something new.  Because of the different things taught in this class, some people found some new found ability, others found flexibility and we all caught a little sexy cuz, well, frankly we all were to begin with.

5. I loved the music!  I am a huge Prince friend and one of the warmup songs was “Sexy Dancer”. From the first few bars of that song, I was all in for the rest of the class.  We also took a musical interlude break when Sugar Hill Gangs Apache (Jump On It) came on.  If you know that song, you know the dance that Will and Carlton from the “Fresh Prince of Bel Air” did. Yes we did it. And it was glorious.

6. The pole is your friend.  If you take a class like this, you must remember that. It is there to support you and help you do fun, amazing spins that you did not think you could do. And don’t think that because you are not your ideal weight that this is out of reach for you.  If you want to do it, go for it.  You might find something that you didn’t know was there.

There you have it. Despite some light inner thigh chafing and some soreness the next day, I am totally and completely in love with Pole Fitness and will enthusiastically do this again.

Feel fitty!

XO,  Amber

Fitness Adventures: Yoga In Mississippi

YogaMiss

I am freshly back from my fabulous road trip visit to the Big Easy-Nawlins, Louisiana. Me and four other ladies checked out the Essence Music Festival.  I came back refreshed, inspired and proud that I stayed active and ate well and had a fantastic time!  Now, as I mentioned, I went with four girlfriends. Four women. With all the laughing, bonding, side eyes and..cramping. Yes cramping. I had the pleasure of sitting in the middle seat of a lovely Ford Fusion for a significant portion of our 14 hour drive. My legs, back and butt were not happy with me by the time we took a break to stretch out legs. So what did I do in 90 degree heat in the middle of a Mississippi? What else? Yoga.

Some of my favorite poses were:

  • Downward Facing Dog-Stretches the back and the hamstrings
  • Camel-Stretches lower back and opens up the hips
  • Upward Facing Dog-Expands the chest, lower back and opens the hips
  • Dancer’s Pose-Because it is my favorite balancing poses and it opens the hips

I also did some Sun Salutations,  yoga sequence numero uno to warm up the body and get yo stretch on.

All in all-it was a great trip. It was truly beautiful to see all kinds of women come together, hear some great music (I went to see TGT, Janelle Monet and the King/Queen herself, Beyonce) and see the beauty of New Orleans, which is officially in the top 5 of cities I love.

Stay tuned for more on my Fitness Adventures in New Orleans (One includes track great Jackie Joyner- Kersey and Black Girls Run!)

Bandz A Make Her….Run?

beyonce-ratchet

Let me start this off by saying I consider myself a feminist. A feminist who thinks that a woman should be able to make her own choices, do what she wants to do professionally, whether it is CEO or stay-at-home mom. I am also a proud woman who seeks to uplift women in whatever way my talents and skills will allow me to. But, for some reason, I LOVE listening to some of the most ratchet music when I work out, mostly when I run.  I love music and typically have classic, old school tastes when it comes to music.  I mean, I would sooner pluck my eyelashes out, one by one, than to sit and listen to “R.I.P” or “I Love Them Strippers” in the car. I’m not kidding.

In my opinion, there is a lot of crap out there on the radio today. But one day, a friend of mine wrote a Facebook post on how she loved A$AP Rocky’s song “Problems” I listened to it online…I was not impressed..NEXXXTTTTT! But then, when I was training for a race, it came on Fit Radio and I was like “Heeeeeyyyy!” The beat was hot and it got me going! So I listed to more and now all of my favorites on Fit Radio feature some of today’s Top Ratchet songs out there.  It keeps me motivated I guess.

Now the flip side. Some of the lyrics are distracting. Rappers are very impressed by their themselves and their man parts. That earns the song and eye roll and a laugh while I run. (I’m sure Lil Wayne and 2 Chainz  are soo upset my by reaction, comforted only by their millions of dollars and video vixens to keep them warm at night) And I am saddened by the thought that these are the people who are influencing young males how to treat females and young females on how to be treated and viewed.

Lesson learned here is that motivation can come from everywhere and that its okay to step outside of your norm and embrace it. Because honestly, as hard as it is for me to admit it, I really do like working out to a lot of those songs.  But, with that being said, please know that Janelle Monet and Doug E Fresh are still in hot rotation on my IPod.

So what do you think? Do you like ratchet music when you work out? I can’t be the only one!