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Uh, I Work Out? What Really Happened At Chicago’s SELF Workout In The Park

18 Jun

I have a confession to make…I don’t own any tennis shoes.  Not a single pair.  So how did I find myself at Self’s Workout in the Park?  I volunteered to go and write about it.  I was swayed by the thought of exercising outdoors downtown surrounded by Chicago’s beautiful skyscrapers.  So, I headed to the event in cut off jean shorts, a casual shirt, and flats.  I was going to document other people working out, be an observer of this phenomenon of working out.  I could immediately identify who was also going to event as soon as I got off the train.  These women were decked out in their lycra and sports bras and power walking as though they were on a mission.  They were ready to work out and I was ready to photograph them.

It’s not as if I’m opposed to working out.  It just comes in phases or cycles for me.  The last time I owned a pair of tennis shoes was in 2009 when I was a coach for Girls on the Run.  Twice a week I would  meet up with my group of girls at their school and try to get them to run, to move.  It was a challenge and I’m worried for kids.  Before that college was the prime of my gym time.  When a gym membership is included with your tuition and it’s within walking distance it seems more reasonable to go work out.  When you live in Chicago and the nearest gym within walking distance is a mile and you have to pay for the gym membership it’s not exactly convenient to go work out.

Instead I just make physical activity part of my routine.  I walk to the grocery store and ride my bike as much as I can.  I don’t think women should feel  pressured to work out so they can achieve a certain look.  Working out should be about moving your body for health, because it’s not healthy to be too sedentary.  The women at Self’s Workout were there because they wanted to be.  They were super excited to be working out.  Everything was fun and upbeat.  The Laughing  Cow and I started a friendship.

Ladies could indulge in facials.

I signed up for a facial dermascan so I could see how much the sun has damaged my skin.

The left side shows blood vessels and growths.  The right side show all the sun spots that could pop up.  I was advised to protect my eyelids and lips more.  I do generally avoid putting sunblock on my eyelids because if I sweat, which I do cause I bike, it burns my eyes.

And I found the lone male that was working out at the park with the ladies.

Maybe next year I’ll own a pair of sneakers and attempt to work out.

Join Me At Chicago’s SELF Workout In The Park June 2

30 May

This is the 19th year SELF magazine has been putting on their workout in the park.  It is suppose to be a fun filled day of building community with other ladies.  A ton of activities will be on hand such as the newest workouts.  Ahh, that’s the key word in this activity WORKOUT.  I’m not exactly a consistent workout person.  I don’t have a daily fitness routine.  My workout is made up of walking or riding my bike.  I’ve always wanted to find an enjoyable fitness class that I would be able to attend consistently.  A class where I could make new friends and look forward to going to.  A workout that would help to feel good mentally and physically.  I’m sure it exists maybe I’ll find it at the workout in the park.

I’m not a person that likes fast exercise so cardio is out for me.  I once attended a ballet boot camp class and almost died. Of course that’s an exaggeration, but that is how I felt during that class.  It was the arm and ab exercises that really killed me.  I was just not capable of doing half of them so I would just take a break when I needed to.  I think that it’s really important to listen to your body and stop when it tells you to instead of feeling pressure to continue because other people may be watching you.

The classes I will definitely not be taking part in at this event are the Rock Bottom, Ab Attack, and Tabura.  What is Tabura?    The description actually completely terrifies  me and assures that it is an exercise I will never take part in. “Inspired by Swahili military endurance and strength training, this class uses kickboxing combos and basic West African dance moves.”  Excuse me, but no even though I am curious about the dancing part.  I think I will make sure to be an observer, but gladly not a particpator in Tabura.

Dance to me is the perfect workout though!  There will be plenty of dancing going on at the park.  I want to check out Fly Girls inspired by those girls from In Living Color, it will be bumping to 90s pop music.

There will also be Masala Bhangra inspired by Bollywood and La Blast created by Louis Van Amstel of “Dancing With The Stars”.

Since a balance is necessary to working out there is the Quiet Zone.  These classes focus on yoga and pilates.  There will be stretching and sculpting.  I will be taking the path of least resistance and that means more relaxing and stretching for me.  I plan on taking part in Sunrise Salutations since I want to maintain flexibility and increase my strength.  Hippie Yoga will be going on, but not that kind of hippie yoga.  This is yoga designed to open up your hip area.

What I’m most looking forward to is the pampering and the food samples.  Working out is nice and all, but after I like to treat myself.  There will be beauty consultations and style workshops.  Spa services will be provided-perhaps a mini facial?!  And of course there will be give aways and who doesn’t like free things.

If you’re in Chicago this Saturday you should come check it out.  It will be held downtown at Grant Park from 11-3.  All the details can be found here.  What could be more fabulous than working out downtown outside in a park making friends with other fabulous ladies?

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