Holidays & Health with Studio Three

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S3 logoAhh, the week of Christmas. The time of year when I cast my healthy lifestyle to the wind in lieu of the visions of cocktails and cookies dancing in my head. In years past, I have occasionally gotten a quick walk in here and there (you know, after Christmas morning coffee cake, before mimosas and in between sitting on the couch with relatives for hours) but real talk, I tell myself that I will do it “next year”, lump it in with some resolutions that will happen…not today. But after having spent some time working out at the new Studio Three in River North, I had a crazy idea: what if I went into 2016 feeling great? What if I enjoyed my holidays and all they entail but still maintained some semblance of my usual health and fitness routine? Is that even possible? After a few super sweaty, amazing Peloton cycling classes at Studio Three, I got up the nerve to ask badass instructors Antonia DeSantis and Liz Cuttica if it could be done. Spoiler alert: it can.

Studio Three‘s goal is to build a community where people can try different workouts and achieve a balanced fitness program that includes cardiovascular, strength and flexibility training. Yoga, interval and a high-tech cycling class called Peloton are all offered in their brand new and state-of-the-art facility. In addition to the efficiency of accessing all three classes in one place, each instructor is such an expert in their field that after every class I felt like I really and truly got what I came for and more.

So holidays and health- let’s do this!

What is your advice for managing a busy holiday schedule and working out? How can people make decisions in December that set them up for going into the New Year feeling great?

Antonia: Plan ahead. Period. Set aside some time, even if it’s not as much as you would normally do for your workouts and food prep. Don’t use the holidays to get completely derailed because you are out of your normal routine. Find a new one based on the activities you have going on each week during the holidays and stick to it. No excuses. Also, outside of actual festivities, make a point to eat healthy. Every little bit adds up…both when you don’t stick to a plan and when you do.

Liz:  Plan ahead. You can have fun during the holidays without totally derailing a healthy lifestyle. If you have a holiday party at night, plan ahead by eating well throughout the day. If you know you are going to be hung over the day after the party, be sure to get a good workout in the day of the party. By thinking ahead just a little bit you’ll set yourself up to have fun while still feeling good about yourself.

There are a lot of “spin” studios out there- what makes Studio Three and Peloton special? What’s great about having multiple workouts in one facility?

Antonia: Peloton bikes are hands down the best bikes on the market. The technology alone sets them apart, but the bikes are also very comfortable and offer a smooth ride. Now add in classes driven by music but supported by metrics along with the incredible lights and sound of the studio….it takes boutique cycling to a completely new level.

Liz: I love that I get to interact with a broader community of people and hopefully inspire them to try new disciplines. It’s such a great feeling to see people expanding their workouts having fun trying something new.

What do you think is the most important thing about health and wellness that most people don’t know?

Antonia: It truly is the fountain of youth, better than any potion or lotion you can buy in bottle! A healthy lifestyle will keep you young on the outside and more importantly on the inside. The youngest looking people I know have made health and wellness a priority in their lives. When I worked in finance I saw how quickly young people aged because they didn’t take care of themselves. Lots of heavy client dinner and drinking, along with late nights and stress will eventually takes its toll no matter what age you are.

Liz: The rest day should be everyone’s secret weapon. It is just as important, if not more important, than the workout itself because not resting the body will set it up for failure. Don’t cheat yourself, but listen to your body and when it is telling you to rest, do it.

Liz Studio Three

Liz Cuttica- Peloton Instructor at Studio Three

antonia studio three

Antonia DeSantis- Peloton Instructor at Studio Three

(images c/o Studio Three)

Gideon Akande: Men’s Health Next Top Trainer

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Something my Dad always preached to me growing up (and, truthfully, to this day) is “Strong Body, Strong Mind”- the mental and physical are beyond connected and you have to take care of one if you want to take care of the other.

This is Gideon Akande and he is my Chicago manifestation of Strong Body/Strong Mind. An instructor at both Flywheel and Shred415, he leads some of the sweatiest, most fun, most ass-kicking classes I have ever taken and he motivates from a place of drive and determination, a commitment to your goals. I mean, his arms alone are inspiring- I am constantly thinking that if I am around him enough, maybe my pipes could be that baller- but real talk, Gideon as a person and instructor is the real deal. I am constantly inspired to go harder, go faster, be stronger.

And I am not the only person to think Gideon is the best thing since sliced bread protein: he is in the running to be Men’s Health Magazine’s Next Top Trainer! While us Chicagoans are lucky to have him at our fingertips for an elite level fitness push, Gideon’s contagious energy deserves go to global so everyone can “Get Fit with Giddy”. Check out his video for a few great workout moves, vote for him here and if you have a chance to grab a class of his at Flywheel or Shred, trust me…you don’t be disappointed.


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The yoga kick I have been on has been all consuming but it was time to mix it up. When a friend was going to Shred 415, I figured that it was a perfect opportunity to tag along and spice my sweating up.

No lie, I will probably be sore for the rest of my life.

Here’s the deal: for an hour, you do interval training between a treadmill and weights/bench. The idea is that interval training is the best way to burn calories and tone. It changes every day but we did 9 minutes on the treadmill, 9 on the weights, back and forth for an hour…so hard, so sweaty, so awesome. Running at a massive incline at a sprint pace, hopping off to do squats and curls, back on to run up another hill, all while a very nice (full disclosure: also very cute) trainer told us “I know it hurts but don’t stop. The worst that could happen is you get better.” True in treadmills, true in life, wise trainer man.

Shred 415 pushed me to just the right edge. You adjust your own speed and weight so it’s never more than you can handle and I found myself wanting to go harder because I was seeing that I could.

Despite being sore today, I seriously cannot wait to go back. Mentally, it made me feel like a bad ass and physically, I felt like I was capable of anything. Not bad for an hour’s work.