Friday, October 25, 2013

My fitness wish list

Erin recently posted about some unique fitness class options. It got me thinking about the various fitness classes that I've been wanting to try, as well as other items on my fitness wish list.

Here's what's on the list:

Barre classes

I've heard these described as "pilates meets yoga meets body-sculpting." Many folks have raved about these classes for very fast results and for being an efficient workout where you don't sweat.

I took ballet as a young child for a few years and wasn't very good at it. But I am intrigued by the possible benefits of any low-impact workout that targets your core and arms.

From what I've seen, barre classes in Chicago do not come cheap. Some of the studios I researched don't even publish their prices online (which is never a good sign). But for the most part it looks like drop-in class prices start at around $20 per class, and monthly packages start around $200 per month. That's a serious chunk of change.

I've been stalking Groupon, Living Social, and Gilt City for deals on barre classes. So far, no go except for classes located in far-away suburbs. Thy deal stalking shalt continue. Maybe as it gets closer to the holidays some bargains will pop up?

Bikram Yoga (aka hot yoga)

Yoga classes taken in studios heated to around 105 degrees Fahrenheit (whew!) People claim that it provides injury-healing and toxin-flushing benefits, and that it enhances flexibility more effectively than traditional yoga. I have several friends who SWEAR by it.

I do like yoga, mostly just because it always feels nice to get a good muscle-stretching. But I definitely don't share the same intense passion for yoga as many friends. Therefore, while I do want to try bikram yoga, admittedly I haven't been as focused on looking for opportunities to do it as I have been for barre.

On that note, though, bikram yoga also does not appear to come cheap. It looks like classes in Chicago start around $15 - $20, with monthly packages around $150 and up. Thou shalt also stalk Groupon, Living Social, or Gilt City deals for thy bikram yoga deals.

Runner's ID
I used to go running without carrying any sort of identification. SO BAD, I know. Now, I do make a point of trying to put my driver's license in my pocket whenever I go running (although admittedly I still don't always remember to do so).

The problem is that when I get back from a long run, usually the only thing on my mind is refueling and taking a shower. In doing so, I will usually just throw all of my running clothes directly into the hamper... with my driver's license still zipped up securely in my jacket pocket. This has resulted in a few incidents where I've left the house to go run errands (sometimes with my car), and then realized that I forgot to put my driver's license back in my wallet.

You better believe that when this has happened, I've taken every precaution to make sure I don't get pulled over by one of Chicago's finest.

Segway Patrol!
I can just picture the conversation now:

Police officer: License, proof of registration, and insurance, please.

Me: Uh, sorry officer. I went for a run this morning and put my driver's license in my running jacket. Then I forgot to put it back afterwards. So it's in the washing machine right now. Or it might actually be in the dryer, hopefully it didn't melt. But I can give you my proof of registration and insurance!

Police officer: Have you been drinking?

Me: No sir. Well, not unless you count drinking water and powdered Gatorade. I drank them both together and apart, since you can't really drink powdered Gatorade unless it has water in it. I didn't drink a lot of Gatorade, though, because too much of it gives me stomach issues. I do need electrolytes, though. So instead, I took some salt capsules. But anyways, I did my long run this morning, which is why I took my driver's license out of my wallet in the first place. 

Police officer: Step out of the car, please.

Me: OK. Hold on a moment. My quads are killing me and I didn't get a chance to use my foam roller, so it hurts to walk.

Police officer: You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say or do can be used against you in a court of law...

All of this could be alleviated by having some kind of runner's ID that doesn't necessitate having to move my driver's license back and forth. Here's an example of a runner's ID:

I need to get on this right away.

Medal Holder
You will never guess how I display my race medals right now. I hang them from the base of a folded-up ironing board that I store in my closet.

When folded and upright, the stand portion of an ironing board is a great place to hang things.
It doesn't get much more glamorous than that, does it?

I see "real" medal holders at race expos everywhere. Here's an example:

The "real" medal holders are nice, but I've never seen them for less than about $75 apiece. In my opinion, that's a bit pricey.

In the past, some of you have provided some nice suggestions on more affordable methods for displaying race medals. Unfortunately I just haven't gotten around to putting anything together. One of these days it will happen!

Other things I'd like to try:

L: sparkly BIC Bands or Sweaty Bands
Upper R: FlipBelt
Lower R: Salted caramel GU

Any other suggestions? What things do y'all have on your fitness wish list?


  1. You still haven't gotten yourself some sparkly headbands yet? I'd remedy that one ASAP :) I currently have my medals hanging from a command hook, so maybe just a step above the ironing board leg. But I'd like a medal rack eventually too.

    I need a Road ID too - I think that's on my Christmas list. That, and a new pair of running shoes! I had to retire one pair last month, so I'm hoping my second pair can make it a couple more months. My trainer does a 4 week women's strength clinic on Sundays, so I'm going to ask for that too. I think that'd be a fun thing to do this winter!

    1. Don't laugh, but I bought some generic sparkly headbands from Amazon. This was because they were MUCH more affordable than the BIC bands or the Sweaty Bands. Not surprisingly, the generics don't work super well - so my attempts to partake in some cost savings kind of backfired! Yes, I do need to go invest in the real deal sparkly headbands ASAP. =D

      Command hooks are actually a great idea - much less work than a DIY medal holder! I like it!!!

      Oooh, a new pair of running shoes, eh?!?!? I am super excited to see what you end up getting! Do you think you'll go for another pair of the Brooks or Mizunos, or try something new??!!?

    2. Yeah, they're expensive and pretty much never go on sale, but they work and do seem to last a while :)

      I have so much stuff hanging on command hooks around the house - they are pretty great! I have a wall where I want to put a medal rack and race pictures (b/c we got these great collage frames as wedding presents last year), just haven't gotten around to ordering one.

      I may do another fitting at a running shop, but I'll most likely stick with what I'm wearing now. My Brooks probably have a few more months on them, so I'd replace the Mizunos.

    3. When I've gone to race expos, I've seen some of the headbands there "on sale" for $15. That seems like a lot of money for such a simple product! But everyone raves over them so they must be worth it!

      Yay for your "running wall of fame" at home! Please do post pictures once you get things hung up!!!

      And yay for new running shoes! It's too bad that running shoes are generally pretty durable because I'd buy a new pair of running shoes every month if I could. =D

  2. You don't have a runner's ID band? Shame!! Buy one ASAP! I have a RoadID one and love it.

    I also love Bikram, FYI... although I don't do it as much as a should (read: hardly ever anymore). See if you can find a studio that offers more than the Bikram format, though, because they follow the exact same pattern in every class. For me, yoga is about doing something different to work the parts of the body you need, so Bikram alone isn't enough (IMO).

    I totally want to try the new caramel Gu, too. Let me know what you think of it.

    Do you ever wear spandex headbands? I love them!! My sister makes them on Etsy if you're interested in trying them out... and I think you'll recognize the model.

    1. I am ever the deal-seeker so I am waiting to find some kind of discount on RoadID! But for something so important, admittedly I probably shouldn't worry too much about price, right?

      Thanks so much for the tips on yoga studios that offer more than just bikram. I had NO idea that it is the same thing every time. If that is the case, you might as well buy a video and try to recreate the hot temps in your own home. OK, maybe not... but still.

      Ooooh, yay for Etsy products!!! I will definitely, definitely check them out and I can't wait to see the model pictures. =D

    2. Bikram yoga is its own entity. Any Bikram studio will only have Bikram and any yoga studio that has "hot yoga" won't be Bikram. So if you Bikram specifically you'll need to go to a Bikram studio. My favorite is Bikram Yoga Chicago, the South Loop location.

    3. Nina! So good to hear from you, how have you been!?!?! Thanks for the tip on Bikram Yoga Chicago in the South Loop. I'm off to google it now. Any and all recommendations on good studios to check out are much appreciated!!!!

  3. Oh, forgot the medal thing. I have a fancy-schmancy one, but then got totally jealous when I found out my friend just bought cheap curtain rods at Target and looped her medals across them. If you buy a set of wrought iron ones with some sort of decorative swirl on the end or whatever, it ends up looking pretty nice.

    1. Quick google search yielded this example... so you can see what I mean.

    2. WOW!!! You are such an amazing resource, Shinianen!!! This is so helpful, thank you for sharing!!!

    3. Post photos if you ever get your medals hung!!

    4. Will do! I would love to see pictures of your medal display, too! (Btw - I thought about posting a picture of my ironing board medal display but decided against it, LOL)

    5. Can you see my medals in this link? I'm not sure if the Facebook privacy settings will let you view it or not.

    6. Unfortunately I can't view the photo. =( But let's be Facebook friends! I'm searchable under and my profile picture is currently me posing with Blackhawks mascot Tommy Hawk. =D

  4. I think I actually have a Road ID coupon at home. Sometimes they come on race bibs and I think my bib from Sunday has one. I will try to remember to check when I get home tonight!

    Have you done the free week of classes at Core Power Yoga? That was my only experience with hot yoga and I LOVED it! Not enough to plunk down the money, but enough to get a little bit hooked.

    1. Oooh, thanks for checking! I don't ever recall seeing Road ID coupons on any of my race bibs so thanks for the heads up on this for future reference!

      I've actually never heard of Core Power Yoga so I'm off to google them now! Thanks for this heads up, too! If you loved hot yoga, then I bet I will too since I generally agree with your opinions on these things. =D

  5. Fitness wish list.. hmm! just keeping supportive friends to keep me motivated! (and no more injuries)

    1. Thank goodness for our amazing CRB network, yes? And YES - "no more injuries" should be big-time number 1 on the wish-list!!! I am wishing you a speedy full recovery from all of your aches and pains post Chicago-Marathon!!!

  6. The image in my head of your medals hanging from an ironing board is priceless. Send Allied Metal a pic of that and they should SEND you a rack free! The Sparkly headbands I got are too tight so you may not be missing much, just saying.
    I have a Road ID I never wore. Ever. Need to include that in my next edition of runfessions.

    1. LOL, I can only imagine what the marketing director at Allied Metal would think if they saw a picture of my ironing board metal display! But hey, all publicity is good publicity, right?

      What a bummer that your sparkly headbands are too tight! That would be such a headache (literally and figuratively), especially since they are not inexpensive!

      That's a bummer about the Road ID, too. Is it uncomfortable? Or why do you not wear it? I look forward to your next edition of runfessions to hear more!

  7. That ironing board doesn't get too much use does it? Or do you have to take all of your medals off when you want to use it! :) I'm like Declan: Stay injury free!

    1. Ah, Pete, you notice the details! You are absolutely correct, I can't even remember the last time I used the ironing board. It was probably at least 5 years ago. These days any clothing that requires ironing pretty much just sits there in favor of clothing that doesn't require ironing. Choices are a good thing. =D

      I wish you continued strong post-marathon recovery, as well!!!!!!

  8. A lot of yoga places have a first week or first month discount! I liked Bikram yoga at 105f (multiple locations in Chicago) and they have a deal that is for the first month for $30 or something ridiculous.

    Road ID --> xmas list! Must have.

    1. Ooooh, 105f was one of the bikram studios that came up in my google search when I was researching options. Glad to hear that you enjoyed their classes and thanks for the tip on their first-month deal! I think the key is resisting the temptation to get sucked in beyond the first month, or being comfortable paying the much-higher fees starting in month 2, yes?!?

  9. Your medal rack cracks me up! I use a Christmas stocking rack that says Believe. I love it!

    1. A Christmas stocking rack is a FABULOUS idea for medal display!!! I would love to see a picture of it sometime!!!

  10. I love Bikram yoga but it's been a while since I've taken a class. Barre classes scare me! I want to take a Flywheel class at the Gold Coast. Let's go?

    Oh and the salted caramel Gu? Delicious!!

    1. Zenaida! Congrats on RnR St. Louis yesterday! Glad to hear that you've enjoyed bikram; where have you taken it in the past? I'd love to join you if/when you go again!

      I'm actually not familiar with Flywheel. Is it basically a spin class? As long as it isn't super pricey I'd definitely be up for trying it sometime - please let me know more details!

      Yay for salted caramel GU!!! I usually buy my GU from Amazon in the 24-packs, but I might go to Sports Authority or similar and just buy a single pack of salted caramel GU just to satisfy my curiosity. =D

  11. i have the level flip belt AND IT'S THE BOMB. for real - you put it on, stuff your things in and forget that it's there. it stayed on during TOUGH MUDDER albeit it got muddy and nasty and shit but my stuff stayed with me and never fell out in or out of the mud/water.

    yoga is amazing; but not bikram. the heat is TOO MUCH and makes me dizzy regardless of how much i hydrate.

    as for the GU - yuck. i prefer huma or vega gels.

    Vodka and Soda

    1. Kathy - thanks for the thoughts on the flip belt!!! I currently use an iFitness belt and I like it, but it's not big enough to carry everything that I need (yes, I can be a pack mule). If the flip belt and contents all stay in place during a Tough Mudder, then you KNOW it will work in pretty much any situation!

      Oooh, good to know about your experience with bikram, too. I do have some sensitivity to extreme heat so this is helpful if I ever do attend a class.

      I've actually never heard of either Huma or Vega gels! I'm off to google them both right now. =D

  12. You should definitely get a RoadID! I never go running without mine, especially now that I'm in a new city where basically no one knows me :) It's a great investment! I think it's hilarious that you store your medals on the ironing board haha. I actually made my own medal holder (I swear I'll post the how-to one day...) but they run at a pretty reasonable price if you just want to buy one.

    On my fitness wish list: some sort of yoga or spin class, and a running fun would that be?


    1. Irina! Ah yes, a Road ID would be super important for you since you've been enjoying the opportunity to explore the nooks and crannies of a new city! Please do continue to share more details about your NYC running adventures - I love hearing about them! I am very much looking forward to reading your how-to on making your own medal holder - as well as the sparkly headbands that you've made, too!

      OMG a running coach... I didn't even think about that!!! What a GREAT wish-list idea!!! I know that Britt at does virtual running coaching and I have been considering for awhile if I want to take the plunge and hire her... sigh!

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