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I have 10 reasons why SoulCycle is the best spin studio. This fitness phenomenon is a New York City-based indoor cycling company founded in 2006;  with studios in nine U.S. states and two Canadian provinces.  As of 2016, SoulCycle had 85 locations in the United States with approximately 20,000 people riding every week.

Athlete, Legend, Warrior, Renegade, Rockstar, SOUL CYCLE”

My first SoulCycle ride was in San Francisco in November 2015 and it changed my spinning expectations.  I’ve been to a dozen different studios since, and not to say I didn’t enjoy every single workout (cause there’s no such things as a bad workout right?) but no ride has come close. It’s like when you meet the guy of your dreams, and then he vanishes…you’ll meet other people, but the feeling just isn’t the same…

So when the Vancouver location opened this summer, I was worried… would it be as magical? Or would it shatter the beautiful memories of my first time?  I had to find out; on Saturday I attended the 11:45 am ride lead by Daniela and I’m ecstatic, it was everything I remembered and more! Little fun fact, Kelly Rippa was in my class!

Photo from Well+Good

Here are my 10 reasons why SoulCycle is the best spin studio:

1.Spinning® has been around since the late 80’s but SoulCycle created the craze. 

2.  A perfectly branded “feel good” company that practices what it preaches. The SoulCycle riders loyalty is proof of that; in 2015 there were 934,500 rides, 25,641 classes, and 10,378 rides per day.

3. Extremely courteous, knowledgeable and friendly staff. The instructor training program is eight-weeks long. But the company also created a ‘Soul University’ with over 45 proprietary training programs to scale the distinctive culture and service of its studio operations.

4. A “clique” free zone, where everyone is made to feel part of the family! In class, the instructors encourage interaction with your neighbor, which opens communication and creates an uplifting feeling in room.  There’s also constant dialogue with riders through ‘Your Soul Matters’ team, responding to 50,000 rider emails annually, and Twitter feeds.

5. Well organized, beautifully designed, spacious, and clean studios.

6. The service is on point! From the second you check in, customer services representatives makes sure you’re informed and helpful staff members come around the spin room and ask every single person if they need help setting up their bike before the ride starts.

7. A high vibbin’ candle lit room, with heart-pounding tracks and inspiring mantras from your instructor will help you push your physical limits and guarantees a great sweat sesh! Instructors are more than just guiding through the ride: they remind you that you’re stronger than the voice in your head that says you can’t.” You don’t have to be here, you GET to be here!”

8. SoulCyle fitness apparel and swag is cool AF!

9. Giving back!  SoulCycle hosts over 300 charity rides per year; giving organization of all sizes the opportunity to join together and raise money for much-needed causes in a fun and inspiring way!

10.State of the art bikes! The SoulCycle Next Generation spin bike is sleek, modern and technically advanced! No more sore butts, these bikes ensure a comfortable ride!

SoulCycle Next Generation Spin Bike

SoulCycle Next Generation Spin Bike

Oxygen Yoga and FitnessFall has officially hit the west coast; torrential downpours and gusty winds are likely to be with us for the next five months. After only two days of darkness my body was desperate for some heat and since I can’t just hop a flight to Hawaii I decided on the next best thing; a workout at Oxygen Hot Yoga & Fitness.  The Kitsilano location opened up few blocks away from my place, so I decided to go try a class.

Oxygen Hot Yoga & Fitness is not a typically yoga studio. First of all,  the studios are heated with far infrared heat which has extraordinary heath benefits such as; improves your immune system, reduces toxins and wast minerals, helps reduce stress, burns extra calories and helps control weight gain. It’s also been proven to help diminish cellulite and improve skin tone, plus can strengthen the cardiovascular system, relieve pain from arthritis, sprains, strains and over worked muscles.

You can indulge in a wide variety of yoga classes such as “Hot Yoga Rise & Shine”  – Mix sun salutations, balance poses, standing poses with strengthening poses and deep stretches. Early morning yoga is a great way to center yourself, listen to your body and set an intention. But if you’re looking for something more powerful, I welcome you to try one of the many fitness classes such as “Hot Cardio Fusion” –  A intense cardio party that helps keep your heart healthy and burn fat.  View the full schedule

The Oxygen Yoga & Fitness mantra is “I Love My Life” which is written all over the studio and  the fitness instructors have you recite it at the end of every single class; expect nothing but good. positive and friendly vibes! The room is hot approx 30 degrees and the lights are usually dimed. If you’re in a yoga class the mood is calm and meditative but in the fitness classes  you can expect loud music and very high energy! You’ll need your  yoga mat, a yoga towel, a face towel and WATER! Be prepared to SWEAT A LOT!

“No one has ever drowned in sweat.” – Lou Holtz

I hadn’t been to a “hot class” since February of this year,  so I decided to looked up my sign in records at the Olympic Village/Fairview location from February 2016 to end February 2017. I attended 155 classes (13 classes per month or 3.5 classes per week for a year). WOWZA! So I thought it best to ease the hot classes back into my fitness schedule this week.

Monday October 16th 7:30 pm – Combo at Kondi 30 minutes of a total body TRX workout to strengthen and tone and 30 minutes of Callanetics to lengthen and tighten your muscles.
Tuesday October 17th 6:30 pm Oxygen Hot Yang/Ying Yoga lead by Sandra: first class back and forgot how HAWWWT it get’s in there.  The yoga teacher was friendly and had a meditative voice; this much needed deep stretch was painful yet ohhhh so good!
Wednesday October 18th 7:15 pm TRX class at Kondi is a core-focused workout which uses your own body weight and angle to determine the difficulty.
Thursday October 19th 6:30 pm Oxygen Hot Fast and Furious Fusion Challenge Level 2/3 with Holly. This class was kickass ! One hour of non-stop heart pumping cardio and strength training! I felt amazing after! This class confirmed I’d to signing up again!
Friday October 20th – Rest day
Saturday October 21st 11:15 am – Combo Kondi 30 minutes of a total body TRX workout to strengthen and tone and 30 minutes of Callanetics to lengthen and tighten your muscles.
NFL Sunday October 22nd – 4:30 pm 6km hilly run
Monday October 23rd 6:30 pm Oxygen Hot Power Core with Lindsey!! One of my favorite teacher’s from the Fairview location.  This class ABS-olutely rocked!!!  This class incorporates yoga, weights, resistance training and cardio into a fast paced heart pumping core blasting session!

Having only been back for a week, I can already see and feel the benefits of combining my fitness routine in the far infrared heat. My body leans out and builds muscle so much faster, my skin is glowing, I push myself to my physical limit in each session and I’ve been sleeping like a baby! Plus working out in the heat is a good way to prepare for the outdoor workouts I will be doing on my luxury fitness retreat in Costa Rica. Not to mention, all my fitness needs are met under on roof with classes ranging from yoga, barre, cardio, core, strengthening and more!

“I will make sweat my best accessory, I will run harder than my mascara.”

If you’re a Vancouverite, Oxygen Yoga & Fitness is a must! Especially in the winter months! But don’t take my word for it, for only $10.00 you can try it yourself for a week or for $49.00 have unlimited access for a month. With 35 locations in British Columbia and 11 more opening soon there’s sure to be a studio near you!

Have you tried Oxygen Yoga & Fitness? What’s your favorite local studio these days?

Leave a comment below!

Namaste xo

 

Where to get FIT, have fun and be fabulous in Vancouver? I get asked “Which gym do you go to?” all the time.  According to  StatsCan as of December 2016 Metro Vancouver had over 300 fitness facilities, plus 19 in Abbostford and 48 in Victoria, B.C. Some of the biggest fitness chains being Steve Nash Fitness World with 23 locations and counting. Anytime Fitness, Club 16 Trevor Linden, Goodlife, Curves and OrangeTheory . Vancouver also has 23 community centers who offer gym services, add to the mix yoga-only studio, Pilates studios, Cross-Fit Clubs, Spinning studios, boxing and martial-arts gyms, work place fitness facilities, condo gyms, tennis clubs & golf clubs and  independent personal trainers how does someone decide where to sign up?

For years my fitness routine included two personal trainer session per week and and running about 50 km per week. I was obsessed with logging my miles; rain, snow or scorching heat, I would be out there pounding the pavement. But after completing four half-marathons and a full marathon I now find myself seeking different ways of staying fit. About a year ago I signed up for Class Pass and I’ve discovered never ending variety and constant physical challenge.

Where to get FIT, have fun and be fabulous
Oxygen Yoga & Fitness

The first class I signed up for with the Class Pass app was at Oxygen Yoga & Fitness (564 W Broadway,  Vancouver,  B.C.) Don’t let the name fool you, this is NOT your typical yoga studio. I tried the Hot, Fast and  Furious class and I was instantly hooked. These yoga and fitness classes are conducted in an infrared sauna. The workouts vary from boot camp style classes (with weights), Pilates Fusion, Hot Power Core, Yoga and more. I guarantee Oxygen Yoga & Fitness will challenge you, push you and get you chiseled for the summer.

For addicts like me you can sign up for an unlimited monthly package directly at Oxygen Yoga & Fitness. They have multiple locations throughout the city with more popping up soon! Bring your yoga mat, full length towel, face towel and lots of water!

Where to get FIT, have fun and be fabulous
Kondi Studio Vancouver

My second favorite facility is Kondi Fitness  (100-1462 W. 8th Avenue, Vancouver, B.C.) This boutique studio  specializes in fun and challenging group classes featuring Callanetics, Pilates, TRX resistance workouts for stronger legs and H.I.I.T.  workout guarantees to help you become a faster runner.  When I first walked in I was a bit intimidated; everyone was modelesque (trainers and students alike) but it didn’t take me long to feel welcomed. The instructors/trainers are incredibly friendly and knowledgeable; they take the time to correct your form and push you to your physical limit.  If you’re looking for a real challenge or want to bring your training to the next level, this studio is made for you. The classes are TOUGH, especially the  H.I.I.T. series so bring alot of energy, your water bottle and be prepared to get breathless!

Vancouver saw the biggest snow falls since 1969 this winter; the sidewalks have been slippery and covered in snow for months so instead of my outdoor run I’ve been booking spin classes for my cardio blast. My current favorite spin studio is:

Where to get FIT, have fun and be fabulous
East Wood Cycle Vancouver and North Vancouver

Eastwood Cycle (154 East Hastings Street, Vancouver, B.C.), nestled between Yaletown and Gastown, is a gorgeous 4,500 sq spinning facility.  You can ride to the rhythm of the beats in the Icon Class or train for endurance and strength training in the Athlete Class. I love this studio, especially for my early morning workouts—the beats are super loud and you ride in the dark! The instructors focus on empowerment and motivation to make sure your heart gets pounding!

Where to get FIT, have fun and be fabulous
Pure Barre Vancouver

My latest find on the Class Pass app is Pure Barre (1907 West 4th Ave, Vancouver, B.C.) These 55 minute full- body low-impact workouts concentrate on areas where women tend to struggle the most: with the use of the  ballet  barre, you perform a series of small isometric movements that will lift your seat, and tone your thighs, abs and arms to build long and lean muscles. The vibe at the Kitsilano location is inviting but don’t be fooled by their kindness at reception, these workouts are a BURN! I also recommend you invest in a pair of sticky socks.

I work out 5-6 days a week, I bored and lose interest quickly so changing up my routine and trying new things workouts keeps me interested and challenged.  What’s your favorite workout or fitness studio and why?

On January 1st you probably set new fitness or weight loss resolutions for yourself! You were determined, inspired and ready to make 2017 different. Fast forward to January 17, the day where most people DITCH their New Year’s resolution… you’ve hit a wall and don’t know where all your “will power” has gone?!

Here are a few tips to help you stay the course and not give up on ditch day!

  • Allow for days off; eat a piece of cake, have a glass of wine and skip the workout.
  • You’re on a journey; physical results can take time, so appreciate the small victories like feeling energized after your workout.
  • Keep going; if you lose ½ lbs a week, by the end of 2017 you will have lost 26 lbs.
  • Don’t compare; comparing yourself to other on social media is a bad! Know where you’ve started, the progress you’ve made and wher you want to go!
  • Go outside; do fun fitness activities in nature like skiing in Whistler, snow shoeing on Grouse Mountain, trail running and hiking.
  • Try something new; ClassPass allows you to try many different types of fitness classes a low monthly cost.
  • Sign up for a race; set fitness goals rather than weight loss goals, start with a 5km race.
  • Remember; why you started!

We all know how, sometimes, it’s extremely difficult to lose weight. Some of us spend hours in the gym or on the road to do cardio workouts, building a solid foundation for the future. Others go the all-encompassing route and enroll in classes such as CrossFit or Intensity Interval Training and other similarly cardio-intensive exercises.

Despite all our efforts, often those stubborn pounds (or kilos) seem to be eternally attached to our bodies. So whether or not we fall under one category, it’s worth noting to consider incorporating individual sports in our fitness regimen; a racket pursuit like tennis.

Tennis can be an exciting way to get in shape and add a little variety to your usual exercise routine. In other words, it helps you lose weight in a fun, skillful kind of way. However, in spite of this, there’s still that cloud of doubt that lingers above the heads of most women. In order for us to get the most out of our training program, we must, of course, do certain things right; or in the case of tennis, play with a purpose.

Even though a full singles match in tennis lasts about an hour or two, it’s still a stop and start kind of game. In a way, it contradicts the whole idea of cardiovascular fitness and aerobic exercises, in which you have to constantly move for a sustained period of time to burn calories and improve your conditioning. To ease some of your worries, Play Your Court points out the many advantages of the sport, especially to females. The aforementioned website has a blog post entitled Top 10 Health Benefits of Playing Tennis for Women, wherein one of the entries focuses on weigh loss. According to the article, tennis – for what it’s worth – is “an excellent full-body workout,” as long as you match it with a proper diet plan.

In addition to all the intangible benefits of playing tennis, there are also the factors of actually picking up a racket and hitting the court. It’s imperative to play with someone who has the same mindset as you, meaning: a person who shares the exact same passion and gusto of losing weight. That way, you can feed off each other’s energy and achieve your fitness goals efficiently. Also, it’s important to meticulously warm up beforehand and cool down afterwards. You have to stretch your muscles in order to help you loosen up and, more importantly, prevent injuries. Lastly, playing tennis involves two or more people, however, if ever you find yourself without a partner, you can always resort to using a ball machine. You’ll be surprised at how it’ll greatly improve your swing and footwork, as well as your cardio.

Altogether, it doesn’t matter if you solely stick to the basics of strength and conditioning training, or include cross training to your regimen, as long as you put in the time and effort, you’ll always be one step closer to your fitness goals. So go out there, sweat it out, and be the best you possible.

Last week, while in San Francisco I got the chance to go to a spin class at Soul Cycle SoMa. The candle lit space is jammed packed with bikes with just enough room between them to squeeze by. The music is rocking loud which instantly hyped me. As I sat on my bike, an attendant came by. “I haven’t seen you here before; can I help you set up your bike?” She asked. She welcomed me and gave me a quick briefing of what to expect during the session. Out of nowhere a tiny muscular lady with a super long blond ponytail jumped in front of me and said “I love your tank top! I’m Jenny, I’ll be guiding your ride, let me know if you have any questions and have fun!” 3-2-1 and we were off.  We climbed, jogged, sprinted, danced and worked our upper body. Before I knew it, I was drenched from head to toe and the 45 minutes class was over!

Soul Cycle definitely is fitness fun! The inspirational instructors have a knack for bringing the riders together and creating a real sense of community. I was blown away!  The good vibes and energetic instructor Jenny re-ignited my spinning obsession.

When I got home on Thursday I looked into local spin gyms. On Saturday I went to Eastwood Cycle. The setup was very similar, with the instructor surrounded by candlelight on a platform in the front of the dark room.  The class “Icon” was also comparable; a 45 minutes intense class that combines riding to the rhythm and an upper body workout.

These bikes have a display with a speedometer, time worked and calories burned showing on them. I know most people love this feature, but personally I’d rather not know! The numbers tend to distract me, so I threw my towel over top of it.

I had a chance to speak with the instructor after class, and it turns out she used teach at Soul Cycle in LA! She also told me about the introductory special, $100 for 30 days of unlimited classes. I signed up!

With the festivite season upon us, I can use the extra motivation to ensure I make the best of the next 31 days and avoid packing on any holiday pounds. #holidaysweat

PS – If you’re an enthusiast of sweaty activities, I would definitely suggest you try a spin class!

dream·catch·er

ˈdrēmˌkaCHər,ˈdrēmˌkeCHər/
noun
1.    a small hoop containing a horsehair mesh, or a similar construction of string or yarn, decorated with feathers and beads, believed to give its owner good dreams. Dreamcatchers were originally made by American Indians.

The first pair of Amicafox legging I saw was of the White Tiger on Instagram and I was floored by the striking image. I also really liked the Enchanted Unicorn legging because well… who doesn’t like unicorns?? But when I saw theDreamcatcher legging I instantly fell in love “those are made special just for me!” I thought.

As far back as I can recall I’ve always been a vivid dreamer. When I wake, I remember colors, sounds, smells and sensations. I can recite full conversations and I’m often exhausted in the morning from chasing dragons or flying to far away planets all night long. I believe dreams are messages from our subconscious; they’re a way for our inner voice to guide us in our day to day life. We are all intuitive; we just need to silence ourselves long enough to receive the memo! The dreamcatcher is known for its spiritual powers which protects the owner from bad dreams/nightmares, allowing only good dreams to filter through.

I couldn’t get the Dreamcatcher legging out of my mind. “Nothing haunts us like the things we didn’t buy” so I went to www.amicafox.com and added them to my shopping cart. The company is based in the U.K. and a pair of leggings will run you about 40 GBP (which is about $62 USD). As a bonus they were offering worldwide free shipping. I click “purchase” and anxiously waited. When my delivery arrived I tore open the silver packaging.

package FINAL1I LOVE THEM! The Dreamcatcher legging is beautiful and magical! I appreciate the hand written Vogue post card as well. It reads “Hey Anna, Thank you for your order! We hope you love your leggings! When you post on social media please @amicafox and use hashtag #amicafoxstyle so we can see your photos. Best Wishes, Emily & Bianca xx”. This small but very significant personal touch goes a long way for me. We live in a world of big box stores and online shopping which has created a big disconnection between the consumer and the vendor.

The Amicafox concept was born during the many travels and great adventures of two best friends, Bianca and Emily. The beautiful and vibrant patterns are inspired by the amazing places they visited, such as Amazon rainforest, the Sahara desert, the Great Barrier Reef, Sedona, the pyramids of Giza and the ashrams of mountainous northern India.

I’m always curious to learn how the name and logo of a company is formed. Amicafox originated from the combination of two great symbols. Amica is the Latin word for loving friend and the fox stands for good luck and playfulness. Could it be any more perfect?

amicafox collage

I total relate to the Amicafox brand and what they stand for “’To be unique is beautiful and your individuality should be celebrated through what you wear and how you wear it.”  I feel there are real people behind the brand who believe in what they are selling.

The Dreamcatcher legging is vibrant, fun and mystical.  They fit extremely well and would be great for any type of workout!  Because I feel at peace wearing them they are now my favorite new yoga legging. So silky, soft and comfortable I know I’ll wear them when I travel on long flights as well.

The Amicafox leggings are a must have in any fitness fashionista’s closet, two thumbs up from FIT & Flirty. xo

For more Amicafox follow them on FacebookInstagram or Twitter

Gym: Sweat Co. Studios  is located at 736 Richards St. Vancouver British Columbia Canada (604) 683-7938

First Class: Wednesday Sweat Circuit Challenge. This class combined circuits of high intense cardio and endurance strength training in the same one hour workout. Fat burning and muscles building all in one! My abs were still hurting when I woke up on Saturday morning. This class was taught by Debbie Jacques.

Second Class: Saturday morning Spin. It had been a while since I’d attended a Spin class, plus I had just moved and couldn’t find my clip in shoes “argh”!  Regardless this class was jam packed with hills and drills and I definitely felt the burn! The ride was lead by Maurren Wilson and she sure gave me my money’s worth!

Facility: This gym is extremely clean, the vibe is calm and friendly. The space is split up into three sections; the personal training & gym equipment is downstairs, the group fitness classes are held in the large room behind the reception area and the Spin room is accessed next door and located on the second floor. The segregation made the experiences feel a bit more intimate and some what exclusive. The brick walls, rustic flooring and beautiful front lobby chandelier makes this smaller boutique gymvery shabby chic! 

Staff: From my first call in to book my class, to being greeted at reception by Kayla to meeting the instructors, everyone at Sweat Co. was extremely friendly and made me feel welcome. Both times while I was paying for my class I was told about the option to purchase discount packages but it wasn’t at all pushy, which I appreciated!

Class Size: The group fitness room can easily hold twenty people, but we were five plus the instructor. The spin room has about twenty five bikes but there was only nine of us. I suspect the wonderful Vancouver weather played a factor in the low turnout.

Cardio & Strength Training: The Circuit Sweat Challenge is definitely going to help you define and tone your muscles. The Spin class was as always a sweat-fest and based on the puddle under my bike, a top calorie burner!

Bookings: Drop-in anytime for the group fitness classes but you need to call in 24 hours ahead to reserve a spot in the Spin classes.

Pricing: Group fitness classes are $18.50 plus taxes, Spin classes are $22.50 plus taxes. There are no initiation fees and discount packages are available. Personal training and Pilates classes are also available. You will be granted unlimited access to the training room for seven days following your personal training session.

Equipment: A water bottle and a towel is highly recommended but you’re not required to bring any other equipment to either of these classes.

Difficulty: The level of intensity you bring to these workouts will ultimately determine how difficult it’s going to be. You will be encourage by the instructors to push yourself. Take it at your won pace or go hard! Both classes are good for beginners or fitness extremists.

Summary: Overall a great facility, two fantastic workouts and nice people. A must try!

Total Diamonds (out of five)

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