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)

Cold Days | Hot Yoga

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There has to be some scientific study that says yoga is the cure for winter. Cold mornings = hot yoga…it’s just science, right?

I practice pretty consistently throughout the year but there is something about this season, every time it comes around I find myself craving my mat. When it’s this cold, getting warm from the inside out just sounds like the best move. And then there’s the whole breathing thing. Tis the season for the scrunched up shoulder walk while holding your breath until you get inside. On my mat, I breathe from movement to movement and if I forget, there’s a teacher literally saying “breathe in, breathe out” for an hour. Which is helpful.

There is this yogi duo called Go W/ The Flow from Dayton, Ohio that travels the country teaching classes- Tori leads the yoga, Ben plays the guitar. It’s not so much of a class as it is an experience- the music is perfectly synced with the movements, simultaneously so much fun and deliciously meditative.

I was on their website today seeing when they were in Chicago next and came across some tracks of Ben’s music. Super chill…AND there is subtle ocean-sounding-like breaths worked into the songs! Which sounds weird but it works and is awesome. I worked to it all afternoon and am so excited to have it when I need to do a few sun salutations at home. Check it out.

More about Go W/ The Flow here.

Owen + Alchemy: A Friend Date

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There are those coffee dates you have in your calendar that you’re looking forward to but if something comes up, you’ll cancel or reschedule. And then there are those coffee dates, or juice bar dates in our case, where you would sooner die than not show up for time with that person. That was yesterday for me. A 75 minute yoga class followed by a much needed catch-up at Owen + Alchemy juice bar in Logan Square followed by me being positively on fire the rest of the day.

Don’t you just love people who set you (figuratively, of course) on fire? The people who you can’t come in contact with and not walk away inspired/excited/confidant/grounded?

I do. I really, really do.

Owen + Alchemy is awesome, by the way. A chef-driven juice bar, it has a gazillion different combos that not only are really delicious but are geared toward specific health issues. “Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food” is their motto. I agree, Owen + Alchemy. My kombucha was amazing and I have #58 in my fridge for today- cold brewed organic coffee, raw almond and cashew, maca and vanilla bean. Amen and good morning!


Be a Cupcake

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After the weirdest mini-medical emergency over the weekend (don’t google blocked salivary gland, I’m serious), self-care is the name of the game this week. Boatloads of water, leafy greens galore and this evening, yoga followed by a massage.

When I don’t feel well physically, it nails me emotionally. After a weekend with a massive lump in my neck causing more anxiety than usual through the roof anxiety, I am so happy to be feeling more like myself today and I am back on the wellness train with gusto!

Walking out of Exhale, I spotted this bag and instead of it pissing me off, I thought “Yes! Be a cupcake! I’m a cupcake!”.

Happy Tuesday, friends.

Love, self-care and cupcakes,

Link Love

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Luna Bell and I are very committed to yoga this week, trying to shake off this mercury in retrograde business.

I loved this article about a sweet woman, her love of running and living (and leaving) life her way.

I vowed to not make pies for Thanksgiving this year but maybe I could try these salted caramel hand pies

Strong piece by Chicago Magazine on the death of Charlie Trotter.

How cozy (and not frumpy) do these pj’s look?

I love chandeliers and am eyeing this print for our bedroom. Chandeliers and champagne bottles is a design aesthetic, right?

Illumine Chicago

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This is Lourdes (isn’t she so beautiful??) and last night was a big celebration for her- it was the launch of her magazine! Illumine Chicago is a magazine dedicated to yoga and wellness in Chicago. This yoga community is amazing and when Lourdes saw the opportunity to create a space to unite, celebrate and share that community, she put out the call and attracted some of the brightest writers, photographers and editors in the city, they connected with people making an impact and boom- Illumine Chicago’s premier issue is out.

It’s a beautiful publication and I am always so moved when I see people identifying a need in the community and using their passions to fill it. I first met Lourdes 4 years ago when I took her class- not only was the class amazing but you just knew that this woman was a gift to everyone who rolled out their mat in her studio. Congratulations to Lourdes and her team- thank you for taking the home you’ve created in Chicago yoga and sharing those gifts with all of us.


2 More Reason Why Yoga Is Awesome

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1) Two Words: Halloween Playlist. The suite from Dracula, Thriller, CCR’s Bad Moon Rising, Van Morrison’s I Put A Spell On You…the instructor really outdid himself.

2) Everyone does it. And by everyone, I mean Katie Holmes was on the mat next to me (!!!). I practiced yoga next to Tom Cruise’s wife. It was all I could do to not gush that I loved her in “The Kennedy’s” (LOVED her in The Kennedy’s. LOVED.). I left her alone. I just think it’s cool that she came by herself to a community class instead of having a private instructor or going to a fancy hotel gym.

Yoga has been rocking my world more than usual lately (celebrity sightings aside). I’ve been practicing for 2 years now and it has seriously changed my life. So, so grateful to have that practice, that invitation to mindfulness and gratitude every time I step on my mat.

Yoga really IS awesome.

Salutation Nation

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Salutation Nation brought out around 300 yogis to Oak Street Beach for an hour of vinyasa.  We are spoiled little moopigs- yoga to the sound of lapping waves, catching a glimpse of the Chicago skyline every time we went into down-dog.  So not over how gorgeous it was.

There couldn’t have been a better start to a Saturday.

(photo via Brendan Ziegler)