More than Just a Gym: My Summer at W3Body

I had always thought of myself as athletic–not particularly fit, active, or passionate about exercise. This led me to believe that regular exercise wasn’t meant for me–that I’d throw around a basketball or a tennis racket when I felt like it. I would run on the treadmill for 20 minutes once or twice a week, but that was the extent of it. But then I applied for an intern position at W3Body, and everything changed.

I’ve never had a gym membership, so the second I walked in for the interview and felt the energy radiating from roaring machines, clashing weights, blasting music, the intense cardio class on the floor, and functional training stations, I knew something good was going to happen.

Each time I went in to take a class or get some pictures was different. Each trainer had her ownEdenPic style and personalized relationships with members, but in the end everyone was still radiating that W3Body spirit. This wasn’t the place to come and go, but to be greeted by the manager, waved at by familiar members, and discuss that last class in the locker room. From the staff taking the energy to correct my positions during aerobic classes, to members smiling at each other during 5-second water breaks, I knew I was part of a community like none other.

3 months later, I can say that I’ve learned so much about what it means to be a healthy woman. I’ve learned how unbelievable it feels to be strong, to gain muscle, to watch yourself improve as a result of hard work. I’ve witnessed the importance of mentality, of believing in yourself and raising that weight by 2 pounds, and the powerful influence of a trainer who bleeds the desire for women to put their all into every move for 45 minutes.

Coming from someone who used to joke about going on runs, I’ve exercised almost everyday this summer for the genuine reason that I can’t go more than a couple of days without sweating and feeling physically empowered. Although I was often the weird girl in the gym corner snapping pictures with my giant Nikon, it was worth it.

So, thank you to W3Body for teaching me more about fitness than any magazine could, and pushing the walls of my comfort zone. It has permanently and positively changed my mindset, and I know it can do the same to anyone who walks through those doors 🙂

~Eden S.

W3 Social Media Marketing Intern

Psychological Benefits to Exercise

Hey guys! As a psychology minor, I’ve been learning a lot about mental health. While exercising and taking care of our bodies is important, it is equally imperative that we maintain healthy mental states. By working out, we are flooding ourselves with endorphins. This helps us mentally because endorphins trigger a positive feeling in our bodies. Other than exercising on a consistent basis, there are several things that we can do to improve our mental well-being. Here are five that we should all remember:

1. We have to value ourselves – We should treat ourselves with kindness and respect, and avoid self-criticism. This includes making time for our hobbies and favorite projects, or broadening our horizons.

2. We should surround ourselves with positive people – People with strong family or social connections are generally healthier than those who lack a support network. We should make plans with supportive family members and friends, or seek out activities where we can meet new people – For example trying a new group exercise class here at W3!

3. We all need to learn how to cope with stress – Unfortunately, many of us are stressed from our day to day routines. To cut down on stress, we need to carve out time for ourselves. Also, remembering to smile and see the humor in life is important. Research shows that laughter can boost your immune system, ease pain, relax your body and reduce stress.

4. We must set realistic goals – Decide what you want to achieve academically, professionally and personally, and write down the steps you need to take to realize your goals. We should aim high, but be realistic and not over-schedule.

5. We should ask for help when we need it – Seeking help is a sign of strength, not a weakness. We all need a little TLC from time to time. There is no shame in turning to others for help and asking for support and advice. I hope everyone finds these tips somewhat helpful! I know I’m going to try and apply them to my daily life.

~ Caitlyn

W3 Intern

7 Weight Loss Myths

Ever find yourself following every rule in the book yet the scale won’t budge?
You feel as if you’re doing everything you’re supposed to but still look the same? Let me tell you, we’ve all been there. Unfortunately there is a lot if misinformation out there that may be throwing a roadblock in front of your weight loss. We all seem to believe that the same rules apply to everybody, yet we are all different in our own ways. Some have slow metabolisms while others (the lucky ones) have fast ones. Some benefit more from cardio while others find success in strength training.
Below are seven of the most common misconceptions women believe to be true about weight loss.

#1
You Have to Work Out to Lose Weight
While it’s true that exercise burns calories, many are able to shed pounds without it. “Weight loss is a simple matter of calories in versus calories out” (Karen Ansel). For some who lack restraint, exercise may cause overeating from feeling hungrier. Weight loss aside, all experts agree that working out it good for you in more ways than one. To create a healthy balance is to consume filling foods that are healthy and lean. Veggies, complex carbohydrates, and lean proteins will leave you full for longer and more energetic.

#2
Eating After 6pm or 8pm Causes Weight Gain
There is no evidence out there stating that eating after a certain time causes weight gain. The truth is that eating oversized portions at night usually indicates that you ate badly throughout the day. The best way to control how much you eat at night is to manage and space out your meals evenly throughout the day.

#3
Your Metabolism Slows With Age
Although most people tend to go up on the scale with each passing year, age is not the cause of weight gain itself. Most people pack on the pounds/fat mass due to muscle loss. Our metabolic system is consistently adjustable. This is why strength training is so important as we age. It will help protect our muscle mass while refining our diet.

#4
Carbohydrates Make You Fat
With so much fuss going on about cutting carbs or not eating them at all, it’s so hard to know what to believe. The confusion stems from the fact that many Carb foods are comfort foods that are very high in calories. However we find ourselves in a world of scientific research claiming that “cutting carbs under 130 grams a day can affect your brain function due to the lack of serotonin production.” The best way to eat carbs is to eat the healthy ones like fruits, veggies, and whole grains.

#5
Drink Water and Lose Weight
Water is essential but not a magical way to weight loss. It is commonly believed that the intake of water will flush toxins and fat from your body, but “the toxin fat connection does not have a scientific basis.” What happens is that consuming water replaces other beverages, reducing caloric intake.

#6
Just Eat Healthy Food and Lose Weight
Eating high portions of high-quality foods such as olive oil, some fish, brown rice, or nuts can cause just as much damage on your body as eating butter, pizza, fries, or cookies. The lesson in all of this is portion control. When you are not hungry, stop eating! Many people think they are hungry but really are dehydrated. Balancing is the key to weight loss. No one says you can’t have a slice of pizza here and there but don’t eat the entire box!

#7
Eating Small, Frequent Meals will Boost your Metabolism.
News flash! While the messege is right, the reasoning is reasonably off. We hear it and think, “oh yeah, it makes sense, in order to keep things moving you have to have them working.”
Wrong.
Eating portion controlled meals every three to four hours doesn’t actually boost your metabolism. It only helps prevent cravings that make healthy food choices more difficult. However eating small meals has many other benefits. It fuels your body in short intervals keeping it alert and awake. When we are deprived of food we become cranky and lack energy. Eating healthy and frequently in smaller amounts make you happy while creating a positive energy- increasing the chances you’ll make healthier choices!

Learning how to properly lose weight is tough. With the amount of diets, books, and misconceptions we have out there, no wonder we have an obesity epidemic. When it comes to yourself and your meal of choice, ask yourself will you be happy after the meal is over?
Another thing to keep in mind no matter how short or long a workout is, a workout and your body can only benefit!
Love yourself, love your body, and treat it well- it’s the only one you have.

What to Eat Before & After a Workout

Are you ready to sweat and kick butt in the gym? Not so fast. For the people who make it a point to get to the gym every day, don’t let your efforts be unsuccessful due to skipping out on pre and post workout fuel. Many women believe the less they eat, the more they lose. While that may be true for some, they also tend to gain it all back that much quicker. Eating the RIGHT meals is essential for your performance and results.

Eating right not only burns more but helps your body recover in the long run. Taking pre and post workout nutrition seriously is the first step to weight loss no matter what type of workout you are doing. Also keeping a healthy lifestyle is the overall factor of whether you remain fit.

Not sure what to snack on. Not to worry. Below is a chart created just for you to gain more information on the smart choices that take place before your incredible workout.

Pre Workout (Energy Phase)

While it is true that you burn calories (sometimes quicker) on an empty stomach, fat also stores during your workout. This fact does not actually reduce your body fat. Eating a pre-workout meal or snack will give you energy, stamina, and help blast through your fat storing system while building muscle.

1-2 Hours Before Workout:

  • Hearty salad
  • Lettuce Wraps
  • Veggie Omelet
  • Smoothie
  • Oatmeal

50-90 Minutes Before Workout:

  • Fruit & Yogurt
  • Peanut Butter & Apple
  • Fruit & cottage cheese
  • Banana and almonds
  • Broccoli

Post Workout (Anabolic Phase)

It is important to refuel after a workout. This will help your body recover from the stress caused during the workout. To recover you can combine the right balance of protein and carbs. For the best results, eat within 30-60 minutes after exercise, due to the fact that your muscles are the most receptive at this time. This ensures your body to recover, adapt, and improve.

1 Snack Immediately After Workout

  • Kefir Probiotic
  • Dried Fruits and nuts
  • Banana
  • Trail Mix (Healthy Mix)

2 Meals Immediately After Workout

  • Quinoa & salmon
  • Black bean and rice soup
  • Tofu Stir Fry & Brown Rice
  • Sweet Potato & Chicken
  • Grilled Turkey Sandwich

Portion of food depends on:

  • Height and weight of individual
  • How much you exercise
  • What exercise you do and for how long you do it

These are a few of the options to stay healthy and strong. There are a million other light recipes for your body to refuel. Also remember to stay hydrated. A well-hydrated athlete feels better, stronger, and can work out longer!

Follow us on Pinterest @W3Body for more pre and post recipes and awesome workouts!

What to Wear to the Gym for your Best Workout

Enhancing Your Performance

Many women don’t think twice when it comes to what they wear to the gym. They have their favorite pair of workout shoes, that one sports bra that feels just right (or so it seems), and their favorite pair of yoga pants they wash every day because let’s face it- they want to wear them again tomorrow. At this point holes may be forming in the inner thigh, and they are fading in the butt area, but they’re your favorite right?…you can’t just throw them away! Wrong!

Athletic apparel is a booming industry in fashion today. Many women feel that they don’t need to look cute while working out, versus the girls that go to the gym just to look good. Well let me tell you there is a lot more to athletic wear than what meets the eye. Actually, it’s an entire world of science, technology, fabric innovation, manipulation and perforation. Athletic apparel is created for a reason, and it is broken off into different categories for a reason- the reason being you. Yes, the reason is to enhance your performance through allowing the maximum range of motion, stability, and acceleration. Being aware of what you put on your body may severely impact your joints, muscles and the ladies(chest) in the long run. Athletic wear can get expensive, so I’ve come up with a list of a variety of products perfect for your specified workout and their equals for less!

#1 Taking Care of the Ladies!

I don’t care what cup you are- how small or big- you have to wear a supportive sports bra. Wearing a supportive sports bra while doing physical activity will ensure that the coopers ligaments in your breasts don’t stretch out to maximum capacity, meaning you will defy gravity for as long as you can! Are you experiencing back pain and upper back and shoulder problems? This may be due to your bra. 80% of women statistically are in the wrong size, so before you go out on your search, make sure to get measured professionally. Here are some photos of bras ranging from low to high-intensity support depending on your workout of choice and size of chest!

Great for light workouts. These bras are meant mostly for ladies with cups A-C who are lifting weights or doing light yoga, Pilates, and PiYo.

 Medium Impact Bras

These bras are best for women with A-C cups who are performing any activity from Zumba class, a long run, or just doing moderate cardio at the gym. They will support the ladies but also give them room to breathe! Getting the right size is the key to a good bra. These bras range from small to extra large. Ask an associate if you are not sure, and they will be glad to assist you!

High Impact Bras

These bras are designed with molded and adjustable straps to really help secure the chest. These bras are mostly for women with C-E cups. With extra support and padded straps, you will be able to move securely without having to worry about back aches or anyone staring at your chest! They are created to tame the ladies! The Hero as well features an traditional snap off for easy removal.

#3 The Right Tights for your Workout!

Having the right tights for your workout will be one of the key aspects of your performance. The main two categories of tights are running and yoga/training. Most running tights feature a drawcord for stability and less spandex for breathability. They usually will have an inseam or zipper pocket to stash your keys etc. Training tights, on the other hand, tend to have a higher waistband for extra coverage when doing yoga, Pilates, or any workout that asks for minimal distraction when lying on your back. It is important to be comfortable when doing your workout, so you are not pulling your pants up every five seconds! Being comfortable in your wardrobe will only make you concentrate harder due to less distractions. Nike, Lu Lu Lemon, and Under Armour all use a sweat wicking system in which the fibers will wick the sweat to the surface, allowing you to stay dry in the long run!

Running Tights

Nike Epix Lux
Lulu Lemon Speed
Lulu Moon

 TRAINING PANTS:

North Face
Lulu Lemon
Fabletics

#4 Do Not neglect your feet!

The importance of wearing the right shoe for your workout is crucial, if not the most important. If you are training, you must wear a training shoe! If you are running, you must wear a running shoe! No questions asked. This is crucial to your health, performance and pure enjoyment of your workout. Having a training shoe will help you with stability, jumping, and locking them in place when you need to. Training shoes tend to have more contact with the ground, allowing your movements to be fluid and intact. There are many different kinds of support; asking an expert will help you get on the right track. Finding the correct running shoe is key to your performance and overall bone health. Most runners need support and tend to switch their shoes out to work different muscle groups. It is important to have arch and ankle support if you have bad knees. In this case, you may need a Lunar Glide or Pegasus if shopping via Nike. Below are a few examples ranging from most minimalistic/barefoot to highest support.

Running Shoes

Nike 3.0 Flyknit
Nike Free 4.0
Nike Lunaglide 6.0
UA Speedform

TRAINING SHOES

Nike Flyknit Agility
Ryka Cross Training

These are a few tips to keep in mind. Places like Nike and Under Armour offer services like gate analysis in which they find the correct shoe for you by testing your feet on a treadmill. Now go out there and get the clothing that best suits you! Your hard work deserves the best. Follow our Pinterest page @w3body for more inspiration on athletic fashion! (Women’s Workout & Wellness)

 

*Post and information provided by Vanja, W3 Marketing Intern

Get it Right, Get it Tight: W3 BodyFIT!

W3body body fit class is one of the most mentally and physically stimulating group exercise classes I have ever experienced. Coming from a background of taking a variety of classes throughout the Chicago based area, this class was definitely one of the most challenging.

Now you may think, “oh maybe she’s out of shape, has no endurance”, however, I work out at least four times a week for 45min to an hour. Most of my workouts include cardio, running being my favorite.

We’ve all heard of that saying “runners’ high”, that people tend to say they feel after their workout. However, statistically only 10-15% of runners will experience this actual euphoria. I consider myself to be one of these.

Not that I experience a rush of endorphins each and every time- it happens seldomly, but I definitely do feel better afterwards. Since I’m more of a cardio kinda gal, I don’t do strength training nearly enough. I find it challenging. Challenging in a way where I have to mentally empower myself and tell myself I can do it through the pain,sweat, and weights. Lots of weights.

After taking Body Fit, I discovered a lot more about my body. I discovered I’m stronger than I thought, and I can endure way more than I had imagined.

I owe my success to Cassie, brilliant W3body trainer, who guided me through my workout. Although the class was packed, she never once failed to correct my stance and the moment she did so, let me tell you, I felt the burn. She pushed us to our core, literally a work out from the inside out.

One thing I never thought I could get from strength training was that euphoric feeling I get from running.

I was right; I never achieved that feeling.

But what I earned was so much greater. It was an appreciation for muscles I never knew I had while running. Cassie pushed me beyond my limits making me wonder about my capabilities and sparked my interest to further test my ability. Body Fit encouraged me to become as strong as I can become.

It also made me question how strength training will benefit me in the long run.

So here are a few reasons every woman, girl, and female in the world should strength train:

MORE EFFECTIVE FAT LOSS

A crucial factor in weight training is your body’s ability to burn fat during and even after the work out. Your body then tends to consume more oxygen a few hours- even days- post weight training; this requires more caloric expenditure, creating a quicker metabolism.

HOLY CURVES

As your body builds muscle it takes on a womanly hour- glass shape. It helps create and sustain them!

 BEAUTY SLEEP LIKE NEVER BEFORE

A study published by International Sport med not only claims more efficient sleep, but says resistance training will help you fall asleep quicker with less waking up!

ENERGIZER BUNNY TYPE OF ENERGY

“A study published by the National Institute of Health suggests that the chronic increase in energy expenditure, even after a minimal resistance training session, may favorably effect energy balance and fat oxidation. 2 Rather than reaching for that early afternoon cup of coffee, grab a barbell.”

HEALTHY HEART HAPPY HEART

Pumping some iron here and there can actually help reduce heart disease. Studies have shown that those who lift tend to have lower chances of high blood pressure or glucose levels.

HEALTHY STRONG BONES

Resistance training is an excellent way to combat loss of bone mass, and it decreases the risk of osteoporosis.

LASTLY (but not really because there’s a million more) A CONFIDENT STRONGER YOU!

That’s right, a healthy strong you. What can feel better than that?

Now go lift something!

The HARDBODY You and I Deserve

What is W3’s Hard Body?

Walking into this group exercise class I wasn’t sure what to expect. I mean “Hard Body” right? It could be a million of things! I wondered if there was a specific focus, and in the back if my mind hoped and prayed it wouldn’t be arms…because well…mine are like a big sack of Jell-O. Of-course right after this thought ran through my head the trainer Susan announced to grab weights.

Skeptically I walked over like a newbie and attempted to put weight onto my body bar (which I had never used before). The lady next to me noticed I hadn’t a clue at what I was doing and introduced herself, telling me she was Diane, while pointing at the correct weight I should be using. Immediately a rush of relief flooded me and I told her I was new (as if she hadn’t noticed). Diane giggled and showed me the right way to adjust the bar.

In no time I was set up with a body bar, 2.5lb weights, and another pair of 7.5lb ones. I had a step stool in front of me and Susan in the background with her MIC.
Now let me tell you Susan is a little petite lady with bright blonde hair, almost as bright as her smile. Her voice was sweet with motivation as she started the warm-up. The warm up got us pumped and ready to go. Susan may be tiny but that lady does not mess around. She started us off on abs and didn’t stop until we experienced a full body workout!

It was amazing! I felt my quads, biceps, triceps, abs like never before! She knew how to keep the muscles focused, while strength training them with body bars and free weights. We focused on a group of muscles to the fullest and adjusted by moving into different body parts to create an easier rhythm for our muscles to adapt.
During her resistance training routine she did each and every step with us. She guided us by creating a visual for our class to follow.  It made the women work even harder watching her do it so effortlessly. She is a BEAST. Her physique and attitude only motived me to push more than ever before.

Not only did I leave the class with a stronger mind and body but with new knowledge about my health. Not only does Susan count of each step as she goes but she inserts fun facts about your body.
For example, I have really bad knees, so while she was showing us a new hip flexor stretch she informed us that strong hips means healthy knees, therefore they’re key in every stretching routine!
Susan is truly empowering through Hard Body and strongly focuses on Energy, Stamina, and Progress.
I never experienced a brand new class of such welcoming ladies. Everyone was there for one another and worked together to push through the class feeling, stronger, happier, and healthier.

Oh and my arms?
No more Jell-O by the end of the summer.
That’s my Goal with W3Body.

Now what’s yours? Because trust me with W3 it’s easy, motivational, and attainable!

-Vanja, W3 Marketing Intern

Member Feedback from the W3Body Lawrence Ave Club!

We always ask our members for feedback, so we know how we can improve the experience we give our members. We want our members to be inspired, motivated and happy in our environment so they can thrive and get the best results they’ve ever seen and felt in their lives! Check out this feedback a member wrote in via email about our Lawrence Avenue gym in Chicago… It totally embodies what we try to cultivate at W3.

I’d be happy to give you feedback! I’ve really enjoyed working out at W3, but more than that, I’ve loved working with my trainer Coleen. She pushes me to do things I never thought I could.

The space is comfortable, and the women end up feeling like family. I’ve never felt uncomfortable talking to the other patrons after a workout. Something about the way W3 is run just makes everyone more approachable.

I used to be an athlete, but a few years ago I had surgery, got sedentary, and gained weight. Thanks for being the first gym that has accepted me regardless of my current state of physical capability. I feel welcome, and I never feel judged.

You ladies are great!

Bethany

Thank you for sharing, Bethany!

Women’s Workout Chicago to Introduce Small Group Personal Training

The Women’s Workout & Wellness on Lawrence Ave in Chicago and the W3 on the south side, 51st and Kedzie, in Chicago now offer small group personal training! All W3 locations have always offered one on one personal training services and large group training (aka TEAM functional training), but these 2 locations now offer something more unique. We have taken the concept of one on one personal training and infused the group dynamic. Women are social creatures! We love working out in groups, but some of us prefer more special attention. Some of us need more special attention due to a medical issue, injury, etc. Or some of us just need that extra push. Yes, we could receive these services in one-on-one personal training, but #1 it’s a little more costly and #2 we miss the social dynamic of exercise and working out. So, small group personal training is the perfect option. We hope to bring it to all of the Women’s Workout & Wellness locations soon. For now, check it out at the W3 on Lawrence and the W3 on 51st and Kedzie. Included in these 55-minute sessions of small group personal training is our TEAM training on some of the other days. Different options available- please see the staff and PT manager at the club for more information! You receive 5x the amount of training of 1x1s all for a lower price!!! Check it out.

W3’s training philosophy is centered around functional training: everyone should train functionally. Therefore, no matter if it’s small group personal training, one on one personal training or large group TEAM training, you will be training your body functionally and LOVING the benefits! Check out some of the pictures below of our 51st and Kedzie location and some of the W3 training TEAM! Come be a part of this amazing atmosphere! Members and guests always welcome~

 

W3 Hosts WERQ fitness group exercise dance certification!

What is WERQ? WERQ is a fitness dance class. All of the music in this class is current top 40 pop, hip hop and rock. Unlike other hip hop fitness formats, WERQ ensures that anyone who is teaching this format is a fitness professional- in other words, holds a nationally recognized group fitness certification, such as ACE or AFAA. WERQ was founded in Chicago. Women’s Workout & Wellness recently hosted a WERQ certification for our instructors to become certified in this format. We are always looking to improve our group exercise schedules! And one of the ways we look to improve our group fitness classes is by adding new formats to keep our members excited. We also change our signature formats (we recently changed our HardBody group X class format) to ensure our members get a great yet different experience each time. If you’re looking for group exercise classes in Chicagoland, check out our vast group exercise schedules. You will no doubt find something you like from Latin dance- Zumba- to weight lifting- HardBody and Body Fit- to interval classes, like cardioflex, and then to cardio kickboxing, like Turbokick! We also offer mind/body classes, like Yoga or PiYo. Now, with our recent WERQ certification, we have yet another fun, calorie-burning format to add to our group exercise schedules throughout our Chicagoland gyms! Stay tuned for when this class will be added to the group exercise schedule at the W3 nearest you! In the meantime, check out this picture of our awesome W3 instructor TEAM before the WERQ cert!