barre code

The Barre Code is a fitness community designed for every BODY. Whether you’re an experienced athlete or brand new to fitness, their classes are specifically designed to challenge everyone’s body, mind & spirit and help each client find their strong.

barre code Some are ready to get back to school, but at The Barre Code GR, we’re ready to get BACK TO SWEAT! September is all about getting back into the swing of things and there’s nothing like a challenge to kick it into gear.

What is the Back to Sweat Challenge?barre code

Back To Sweat is the Barre Code’s annual fall challenge, where instructors encourage participants to find their strong by taking 18 classes in 21 days for the chance to win amazing local & national prizes.

The challenge begins September 17th and runs through October 7th. Anticipate an energizing and motivating studio with specialty classes, morning treats, and community events. If all of the hype isn’t enough incentive, work your way to the finish line for a chance to win prizes from Athleta Gaslight Village, Marie La Mode, Donkey Taqueria, or TBC GR. Time to bring it barre babes!

Cost and Perksbarre code

Members | FREE!
Non-members | Now’s the time to join, for just $85

Member Perks

The Barre Code’s monthly auto-pay members enjoy in-studio benefits that take their studio experience to the next level. When you join the challenge membership, you’ll have access to the exclusive member perks:

-Free water
-10% off all retail
-Free or discounted events
-Bring a friend to class (once during the challenge)
-1 waived late- cancel fee

Gain access to all member perks upon the purchase of a challenge membership. Now is the time to take advantage of these upgrades, get your sweat on, feel your best, and push yourself to the next level!

In-Studio Speciality Eventsbarre code

Fly ‘N Flow | Sunday, September 16th at 5:00 pm

This 75- Minute BarRestore class will be set to a 90’s R&B playlist to keep you feeling fly all of class. Then we’ll slow down your mind and flow through a restorative stretch. BONUS: This extended format will earn you 2-stamps.

Boxer Braids + Self- Defense Workshop | Wednesday, September 26th at 6:30 pm
Members: $20 | Non-members $30

Let’s knock out Wednesday by coming together for a self-defense workshop. To have you look the part we’re hosting a braid bar prior to class. Let’s rep some boxer braids and bring the heat on. BONUS: This workshop will count as 2 challenge stamps.

Rise & Grind

On each Wednesday morning throughout the challenge, Squibb Coffee & Wine Bar will provide coffee after class. Nothing says happiness like an endorphin boost and caffeine kick!

Sign-Up + Promo Codebarre code

Now is the time to kick off this year with diverse workouts, a community of dedicated women, and all the energy to keep you pushing long past the finish line. Are you ready?

If you’ve made it to the finish line of this post, use promo GRHL18 for $20 OFF the challenge membership  😎 Sign up by clicking here: ‘Back to Sweat 2018 Challenge Pricing Special $85′ (3 weeks unlimited) and enjoy this awesome challenge for just $65!! See you at the barre!

The Bare Code Grand Rapids
547 Cherry St SE | lower level of The Oakwood Manor
heritagehill@thebarrecode.com | (616) 980-0842

Summer is filled with spontaneous road trips, fun nights with friends, one too many beach parties, and plenty of vacations – few people can say they stayed clear of all the sweet treats and indulgences. But with fall on the horizon, it’s time for a healthy reset. As the kids head back to school and the temperatures cool down, you may find yourself craving a more consistent workout routine and structure to get your sweat on! 

ACTIV8 Challenge – That Extra Push You’re Looking For!

mvp sports clubs

If you’re looking for some extra motivation with a fun group mentality and expert training, sign up for MVP Sport Club’s Activ8 Challenge. Kicking off on Monday, September 17th, this 8-week challenge will give you all the tools needed to build strength, lose weight, and kickstart your health & fitness journey. With the support of experienced personal trainers, you’ll experience small group training, nutritional guidance, and learn how to develop lifestyle habits. It also includes activity and body measurement tracking along with a supportive community that encourages you to do your very best.

Sometimes, it takes a group expecting you to show up, to actually show up. It’s that element of accountability we all love to hate, but it’s an essential component to see real, lasting changes. Plus, it’s more fun to workout with friends!

Testimonials

Here are a few inspiring testimonials from previous participants who not only conquered the challenge, but made INCREDIBLE lifestyle changes:

Amy Hutchinson

MVP sports clubs

When 2018 rolled around, Amy decided she needed show up and get fit. Choosing to participate in the Activ8 Challenge was the exact opportunity she needed to build a solid health foundation inside and outside the gym.

“There was a time when I would get on the treadmill and didn’t think I could do that speed or incline without hanging onto the bar. I needed to get moving and on a regular basis. I would put off trying to be healthier, thinking ‘Just one more day’, or ‘I’ll get started next week’. There is no better day than today to get started on being healthier. Activ8 provided the tools I needed for healthier habits, such as how to build and portion meals, and how to find my rhythm in working out while still pushing and chaellenging myself. Now I choose healthy every day! ”

Ryan English

MVP sports clubs

New to town and quickly gaining 10 pounds, Ryan knew he needed a change:

“I joined RDV and immediately jumped into the group fitness classes. When ACTIV8 started, I decided it would be a great way to achieve my fitness goals. I was new in town, I was new to the gym, but I never once felt alone during the ACTIV8 Challenge. From the friendliness of the front desk staff to the expertise of the group fitness instructors, everyone at RDV played a part in the success of this challenge. The program binder was great, the weekly challenges kept me on track and provided variety, but by far the best resource was my trainer, Jesse. He kept us accountable, inspired us to push beyond what we thought we were capable of and provided us with thoughtful guidance.”

Ryan saw measurable results, losing 16 pounds and 10 inches!

“I look and feel better than I have in years, my energy levels are way up, I’m more confident and comfortable in my own skin. ACTIV8 is an investment in yourself with a built-in support system and a well thought out plan all laid out for you.”

David Miller

MVP sports clubs

Looking to jumpstart his wellness journey, David joined the ACTIV8 Challenge Challenge in February 2018. The eight-week challenge offered the training guidelines and accountability support he needed to get back into the routine of being active and making healthy choices again.

“The Challenge gave me constant encouragement from the trainers and staff, a great camaraderie with the small group I trained with, and a healthier attitude towards keeping fit in general. I had great gains in my endurance and realized that even as I get older, I have the capacity to push myself beyond what I think I am capable of. No matter where you are starting from, it’s important to keep focused on where you want to end up. The ACTIV8 program gives you an opportunity to kick things into gear and create a stable platform from which to move forward after its completion.”

Sign-Up Today

MVP Sports clubs

The ACTIV8 Challenge provides a unique and effective opportunity to help you fall back into a routine and ignite your health and wellness journey before the winter season. Not only will you see results and feel your best, the 8-week time frame will enable you to establish a realistic & attainable routine that you can incorporate for years to come.

Ready to sign up!? Simple click this link, register for a time, and you’ll be on your way to living a healthier & happier lifestyle!

 

Running solo can be zen-like and peaceful, but sometimes, it can also be plain boring! If your workout routine needs a little variety and socialization, joining one of Grand Rapids’ fun and local running groups may be right up your alley. There are a variety of running groups that are not only dedicated to getting their sweat on, but are also welcoming and focusing on community-building and friendship!

Accountability is a major part of keeping up with a regular running routine and by joining a community of runners, you’re pounding the pavement for reasons beyond yourself. You’re also inspiring others, making important community connections, and having a good time doing it.

Looking to crush the Riverbank Run, beat your PR, or join together for a pint and a cheers in Beer City post workout? There’s a group for that. Whether you’re training for the Boston Marathon, your next 5K, or something in between, there’s a community in Grand Rapids running at your pace and with your goals.

RunGRrunning groups grand rapids

RunGR is a Grand Rapids’ area running group who lives, trains and runs to become better athletes. They are a group of everyday people accomplishing amazing things together on the road and the trails. Their club training coach, Michael Wojciakowski, is a Level 2 certified USA Track & Field coach and has an awesome reputation in the local running community for asking for and getting the very best from his athletes.

RunGR is a membership based program with annual fees, but the membership grants you access to a ton of stuff including: coach led workouts focused on building strength, endurance and speed, Saturday morning long runs with water and gatorade stations, event specific training programs, and entry into the Lake Michigan Credit Union Bridge Run. If you’re serious about getting better as an athlete and want to join forces with some like-minded folks, this is the club for you.

Wednesday Night Hills & StairsGrand Rapids running

This group is in it to win it! Wednesday Night Hills & Stairs meets in front of Founder Brewing Co. EVERY Wednesday year-round, no matter the weather to tackle some gnarly hills (on Lyon, Fountain, and Michigan St.). Once that heart pounding session is over, the group gathers at the top of Michigan Street and heads over to the stairs by Division and Plainfield, doing as many sets of stairs as is humanly possible! (But they leave it up to each individual to decide that.)

From there, they zig zag  around downtown, ending back at Founders for some food and libations. The whole route is about 5.5 miles end-to-end and makes for a fun and challenge weekly workout! There is no cost associated, save for the beer post-run!

Westside StrideGrand Rapids running

Every Tuesday at 6:00pm, join Westside Stride at the corner of Summer and Bridge Street for a community fun run! The course is designed as a 5K and allows for running and walking at all paces. Post run, join the group for food, socializing, and high fives all around!

This is totally free to participate and the post run meetups change every week and include The Anchor Bar, Jolly Pumpkin, The Sovengard, O’Toole’s, New Holland Brewing, and more. P.s., October 30th is their Halloween Costume run – not to be missed!

West Michigan Trail RunnersGrand Rapids running

The West Michigan Trail Runners was born from the Gazelle Sports Dirty Herd and West Michigan’s community interest in running trails more often than just on Sundays. This group of fun-loving trail enthusiasts run on Tuesday and Thursday nights, as well as most Saturday mornings, when there isn’t an event in town. Their members cover a wide range of speeds and ability levels, and are always up for an adventure! Join their Facebook group to learn more.

Dirty HerdGrand Rapids running

The Dirty Herd is a trail running group put together by Gazelle Sports. They encourage all levels, novice or skilled single track navigator, to join them every Sunday at 6 pm for a woodsy adventure with friends! You can join them for sponsored trail runs in Grand Rapids (meet at

Robinette’s Apple Haus), Holland or Kalamazoo. To learn more, jump onto their Facebook group and get ready to run with the herd.

The Rapid HerdGrand Rapids running

Also coordinated by Gazelle Sports, The Rapid Herd is a group focused on speed training and agility. They met once a week for one hour of serious speed power. If you’re ready to take your races to the next level, this is a great opportunity. The herd is led by a Gazelle sport coach and it’s completely free to participate. Try out a tempo run, long interval training, short track interval running, hill sessions, and more. They currently meet at the David D. Hunting YMCA every Tuesday at noon and run a minimum of six miles total! Taking your work break with the herd? All participants also have free access to the YMCA locker rooms afterwards to clean up.

Mikkeller Run ClubGrand Rapids running

The Mikkeller Run Club Grand Rapids Chapter is an international running organization with chapters all around the world! The big idea is to stay fit, run with friends, and drink good beer. Speed isn’t the big focus and everyone is very much into having fun and making friends, while getting a good sweat on of course. They have coordinated running events the first Saturday of the month and locations vary, but they always finish up at a bar or house that serves Mikkeller Beer. Join the Grand Rapids chapter, make some friends, get healthy, and enjoy a cold bevvie when it’s all said and done.  

Bagel Run GRGrand Rapids running

Bagel Run GR loves running, community and bagels. Members meet every Tuesday morning at 6 AM at GR Bagel in Eastown. The group typically runs 3-5 mile routes, and offers plenty of support for runners along the way, including bagels from GR Bagel following their run! If you’re an early bird with a penchant for cream cheese and carbs (you earned it!) this is for you.

Grand Rapids Running Club (GRCC)Grand Rapids running

(GRRC) is focused on promoting running for all ages and activity levels, supporting the community and working as a communications liaison between runners and events, helping encourage everyone interested in getting fit through running! The annual membership fee is only $25.00 and gives you access to regularly scheduled training runs, community events, mentorship groups and more! The club is also open to both walkers and triathletes. Get outside and have fun with GRRC!

Grand Rapids Running ToursGrand Rapids running

 

Grand Rapids Running Tours believes that the best way to experience Grand Rapids is by moving at street level, accompanied by a savvy guide who can share history, trivia and fun facts about the people and places you encounter along the way.  Each of their guided tours has been designed to maximize your exposure to Grand Rapids’ most interesting and beautiful sights. Their tour ambassadors lead the way as you traverse downtown and the rolling hills of the Grand River valley.  They offer many year-round tours as well as a changing array of seasonal tours (too many to list!) and provide participants with a great way to combine friends, fitness, and learning together!

You could probably run every day of the week with different clubs around Grand Rapids if you tried – seriously! We are so lucky to be part of such a vibrant and welcoming running community. Get out there and start making some RBFs (running best friends) and let us know how it’s going below!

I’m sure you’ve noticed – it’s summer!! Grand Rapids is the place to be when the weather warms up. Summer in the city is jam packed with festivals, concerts, parties, and your pick of fun outdoor patios to chill with a cold drink in hand. But, summer is also the time to plan road trips, top off your gas tank, and hit the open road in search of fun, adventure, and relaxation.

These are our top picks when it comes to road trips that will excite, entice, and help you enjoy summer to the fullest!

Traverse City, MI

traverse city

Photo courtesy of @thejamilynhall | Instagram

Distance from Grand Rapids: 143 miles north; 2 hour and 15-minute drive 

Why we love it: TC is chock full of scenic beachy get-aways on Lake Michigan, cherry flavored everything, delicious cuisines – oh, and wine! Enjoy a round of amazing golf, get rustic in the Traverse City State Park, or indulge in the finer things in life at the lovely Traverse City Resort and Spa. About 55 percent of Michigan’s wine grapes are grown near Traverse City, the Leelanau Peninsula, and Old Mission Point Peninsula; and they have the wineries to prove it. When in Rome….

TIP: Wineries, while awesome, can have erratic schedules and unexpected tasting fees. Know before you plan your road trip here. Or even better, book a guided wine tour with friends – don’t taste and drive.

Three Oaks/New Buffalo, MI

warren duns

Photo courtesy of @chanmanstagram | Instagram

Distance from Grand Rapids: 105 miles SW; 1 hour and 40-minute drive 

Why we love it: The go-to destination for avid cyclists and sun bathers alike, when you plan a weekend in Three Oaks or New Buffalo, set aside time to hit the beach. Part of Michigan’s Harbor Country and located just over the Indiana border on Lake Michigan, this location has it all: sand, sun, bike trails, and Hello Donuts (the best donut place ever). If you’re looking for a legit hike, Warren Dunes have six miles of trails and a dune that’s 260 feet high and begging to be climbed.

TIP: Plan your packing, some hotels offer complimentary beach towers and sand chairs at the front desk. The New Buffalo Lakefront Park fills up fast on the weekend, so also consider checking out Warren State Park that boasts three miles of Lake Michigan shoreline.

Upper Peninsula Waterfall Tour, MI

Michigan waterfall

Photo courtesy of @beti_shahollari | Instagram

Distance from Grand Rapids: 319 miles to Upper Falls, McMillan Township; about 5-hour drive

Why we love it: 

There is nothing more majestic than a natural waterfall. Appealing to all ages, hit the road and head north to explore these treasures in the Upper Peninsula. On this roughly 8-hour waterfall tour map, you can hit up 9 waterfalls in a single swoop! Start in Ironwood Township to enjoy Potawatomi Falls, ogle at Gabbro Falls, and continue along the path enjoying Munising Falls , Miners Falls, and more! The scenic tour ends at the big daddy of them all, Tahquamenon Falls.

TIP: While the actual waterfall road trip tour is 8-hours, the drive up to the start in Ironwood is pretty far – make sure you book accommodations in advance.

Sleeping Bear Dunes Tour, MI

sleeping bear sand dunes

Photo courtesy of @t_stael | Instagram

Distance from Grand Rapids: 160 miles NW; 2 hour and 45-minute drive 

Why we love it: Dunes are so crazy fun. A favorite destination in northern Michigan, the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore was named “the Most Beautiful Place in America” on ABC’s Good Morning America. After exploring lighthouses, museums, and wineries, try your hat at the Dune Climb at least once. And bring your bike along – there are many paths to explore on your road trip, especially Pyramid Point!

TIP: Hit up the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive: a 7-mile scenic route that takes you to the spectacular overlooks of Lake Michigan, Glen Lake, and the Sleeping Bear Dunes. There are two picnic stops along the way as well.

Indiana Dunes State Park, IN

indiana dunes

Photo courtesy of @_plate | Instagram

Distance from Grand Rapids: 132 miles SW; 2-hour drive

Why we love it: Located along the southern tip of Lake Michigan, the Indiana Dunes have world class beaches, biking, hiking, and more. With 15 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline, enjoy the sun and surf, scale a 200-foot high dune, or visit a “tree graveyard” (places where forests have been buried by sand and then are re-exposed by wind erosion). There are camping options, hotels, motels, cabins, cottages, and adorable bed & breakfasts to choose from. Make your reservations early and hit the open road.

TIP: Bring your workout gear along and try any of these 10 fitness finds at the Indiana Dunes – like the 3 dune challenge!

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, MI

pictured rocks

Photo courtesy of @t_stael | Instagram

Distance from Grand Rapids: 355 miles north; 5 hour and 30-minute drive 

Why we love it: The natural beauty of Pictured Rocks is simply breathtaking, and not too far away! The stretch of coast from Munising to Paradise provides you with unparalleled vistas and true serenity. Some must-sees include Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum & Whitefish Point Lighthouse, Munising Falls and Miners Falls. Kick back on a Pictured Rocks Boat Tour where all ages can enjoy the beauty of this national lakeshore; seek out views of Miner’s Castle and other stunning rock formations along the way.

TIP: The best way to get up close and personal with the Pictured Rocks is by kayak. Stop by Paddler’s Village and sign up for their six hour sunset paddle for a truly glorious view.

Mackinac Island, MI

Mackinac island

Photo courtesy of @ohwhatasighttosee | Instagram

Distance from Grand Rapids: 240 miles north; 3.5 hour drive– Ferry transit required

Why we love it: While Mackinac Island holds a special place in the heart of many Michigan-born children (horses + fudge + bikes = joy), it’s also the perfect place for a reunion of friends, bachelorette party, and or date weekend. Sign up for a guided Legends and Lore Trek and explore some lesser known part of the island or check out the Observation Tower at Mission Point. Bike around the island (of course!) or tour the exterior of the island by kayak. Get the full experience out of your road trip by booking an overnight stay on the island – and what’s more – no cars are allowed. So go ahead, have another glass of wine!

TIP: It can cost more to stay on the island, but if you sign up for the hotels’ newsletters and monitor their social media channels, you can find some really great deals.

South Haven, MI

south haven

Photo courtesy of @ktmulcahy | Instagram

Distance from Grand Rapids: 37 miles west; 45-minute drive 

Why we love it: South Haven is one of our very favorite Michigan places. Not only is it super close to Grand Rapids, it’s the epitome of adorable. It’s packed with wonderful restaurants and pubs, great shopping, and of course, the lakeshore. For a taste of nature, drive just three miles south to Van Buren State Park. Climb some legit sand dunes, lounge on the beach, walk through woodland trails, and don’t forget to pack a picnic. Then head back to South Haven and spend the evening pub hopping in and around the downtown area – you’re never going to want to leave, we promise.

TIP: Southwest Michigan rivals Traverse City as the hot spot for Michigan-made wines. Don’t leave this area without exploring the Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail.

Nordhouse Dunes, MI

Nordhouse dunes

Photo courtesy of @em0c0nn0r | Instagram

Distance from Grand Rapids: 115 miles NW; close to a 2-hour drive 

Why we love it: Bring a tent and sense of adventure with you to the Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness. Located within the Manistee National Forest along an extremely isolated shoreline, camp rustically along the coast of Lake Michigan two nights or even weeks at a time! Backwoods and hammock camping are the norm in this picturesque escape; it’s where you can truly get away from it all.

TIP: All food, water, gear, etc. has to be hiked in and out so pack light and prepare to unplug -there is no cell reception.

Detroit, MI

road trips

Distance from Grand Rapids: 157 miles SE; 2-hour 20-minute drive 

Why we love it: Summer is hoppin’ in Detroit! Visit Greektown, explore the Eastern Market, hang out in Greenfield Village, or catch a Tigers game at Comerica Park. What’s more, get a group together and take advantage of the Motor City Bike and Brew Tours. We can’t think of anything better than getting a tour of the city, with a cold beer in hand while excersizing, can you?

TIP: If you’re looking for things to do in the area, check out this article, “Actually Cool Things to do in Detroit When Someone Visits.” It’s full of awesome summer ideas!

Lake Michigan Small Town Tour

Leland michigan

Photo courtesy of @northernwayoflife | Instagram

Distance from Grand Rapids: 2-6 hour drive, depending on the destination

Why we love it: If you’re looking to get some serious miles under your belt this is the road trip for you. Michigan is peppered with adorable towns you may not even know exist! Start in Saugatuck, then head north to Holland or Muskegon. Travel even further north to hit up Pentwater, Ludington, then take M22 over to Frankfort, Glen Arbor, Traverse City and Leland. Check out Charlevoix and Petoskey on your way home! Spread this out over a weekend or a week on your road trip; you won’t run out of place to eat, explore, and enjoy, that’s for sure.

TIP: While many of these little towns are quaint, they can get busy in the summer, so book your accommodations in advance.

Red Arrow Highway from New Buffalo to St. Joseph

st joseph

Photo courtesy of @lauradekreek | Instagram

Distance from Grand Rapids: 109 miles to New Buffalo; 1 hour and 40-minute drive 

Why we love it: A popular summer cruise, head north from New Buffalo on Red Arrow Highway along Lake Michigan to explore the coast villages of Union Pier, Lakeside and Harbert along the way to St. Joseph. This stretch of road is known for its art galleries and awesome antiquing, so brush up on your vintage must-haves and bring your pocket book along for the ride.

TIP: You’ll be passing by Warren Dunes State Park, so budget some time to enjoy the view!

Manistee, MI

Manistee

Photo courtesy of @samadhiqu33n | Instagram

Distance from Grand Rapids: 120 miles NW; close to a 2-hour drive 

Why we love it: Manistee’s downtown is adorable, but have you ever ventured further into the Huron-Manistee National Forest? Make plans to hike the Manistee River Trail, a 23-mile loop or any of the 245 miles of hiking trails within this extensive north country trail network. If hiking isn’t your thing, rent a kayak or canoe and spend the day on the scenic Manistee River or learn about Manistee County’s rich history at the Arcadia Area Historical Museum, then grab a drink at the Iron Fish Distillery to end the day right.

TIP: The beauty of the Manistee River Trail is that it really is a trail for all skill levels. Many parts are flat, and any elevation changes are short in distance. It really is for everyone!

Ann Arbor, MI

road trips

Photo courtesy of @carsonhart | Instagram

Distance from Grand Rapids: 132 miles SE; close to a 2-hour drive 

Why we love it: Foodies unite! Home of the University of Michigan, this incredibly walkable city has an infinite supply of coffee shops, wine bars, and any kind of food you can think of – and it’s all really, really good. Check out this list of essential Ann Arbor restaurants and wear your stretch pants to this culinary destination. If you’re an outdoorsy type, explore the Bird Hills Nature Area, Island Park, or U of M’s Nichols Arboretum.

TIP: For something truly unique, gather some friends and rent a late-night private karaoke room at Blue Karaoke or check out Whirlyball of Ann Arbor – you have to go to find out what it is!

Chicago, IL

chicago roadtrip

Photo courtesy of @remo_daut | Instagram

Distance from Grand Rapids: 176 miles SW; close to a 3-hour drive 

Why we love it: Oh Chicago, we love you so. Just a few hours outside of Grand Rapids, Chicago takes summer in the city to a whole new level. Spend some time at the city beach, rock out at a festival like Lollapalooza or Pitchfork, party at one of many Chicago street fests, catch a free movie in the park, or wind down on a summer boat tour down the river. Sometimes all you need to do is put on your walking shoes and get to exploring, fun will find you in this awesome city.

Tip: Rush hour is a thing here, even in the summer. so plan your arrival time appropriately.

Join the Green Wagon Farm CSA today & enjoy local, organic veggies of your choice from June to October!

Green Wagon Farm grows eighteen acres of organic vegetables and herbs in Ada. They sell their produce directly to the community at Fulton St. Farmer’s Market and through a membership program. A verdant patchwork of humble lessons and grand visions as well as a collection of friends, Green Wagon farmers plant and harvest and eat together year-round—a crew of farmers turned family. Their vegetables are rooted in love for the work itself and in a shared passion for feeding their community.

Meet the Familygreen wagon farm

Chad, Heather, and Simeon Anderson | Chelsea Blair Photo

Green Wagon Farm is a family farm, foremost. Farm owners Chad and Heather and young children Olive and Simeon live on the farm; Chad and Heather share the role of head farmer, managing a field manager, harvest manager, and crew of farmhands. Chad is the farm visionary and Heather is a chef and market master–managing customers and making the Green Wagon Farm display look just right.

Certified Organicgreen wagon farm

Farmhands & Hoophouse | Vanessa Autumn

Green Wagon Farm is certified organic, with a commitment to biodiversity and fair wages. They provide training opportunities, free breakfast, and lunch to employees every weekday.

Year-Round Farminggreen wagon farm

Farmhands & Hoophouse | Vanessa Autumn

Green Wagon grows year-round. With six hoophouses and a root-cellar, the farm can grow vegetables all year and store fall crops until summer. This is done with minimal heating, harnessing the winter sun to grow hardy greens and roots all winter.

Local Producegreen wagon farm

Green Wagon grows with beauty and health in mind. Green Wagon sells their produce locally, transporting their crops only short distances. This ensures the veggies are fresh and nutrient-rich when they are purchased. They grow over sixty different kinds of veggies and experiment with different seed varieties each season.

Community Supported Agriculturegreen wagon farm green wagon farm

Dinner in the Field | Chelsea Blair Photo

Green Wagon Farm is rooted in community. They are supported by a growing number of members, who subscribe to produce for the summer, or year-round. This is referred to as CSA–or “Community Supported Agriculture.” In exchange for an upfront commitment, customers receive shares or organic veggies throughout the season, choosing from 15-20 different crops at pickup. The farm also hosts Dinners in the Field, working with local chefs to celebrate seasonal eating in a series of farm-dinners.

Connect

Connect with Green Wagon Farm on Facebook or Instagram or visit their website to learn more about their CSA Farm Share Program or Dinner in the Field Series! You can also visit them at their Fulton St Market farmstand on Saturdays year-round.

Join the Green Wagon Farm CSA today & enjoy local, organic veggies of your choice from June to October!

Spring has sprung ya’ll! Blow the dust off those running shoes and line up your favorite playlist because it’s time hit up some scenic running spots in Grand Rapids. Whether you’re in the mood to pound the pavement or explore a new West Michigan trail, we’ve got you covered. Here’s our list of top 10 scenic spots that keep us fit, recharged, and coming back for more!

Reeds Lake

reeds lake

How could we not kick off our list with Reeds? It’s a must. Head over to East Grand Rapids to enjoy this incredibly scenic 4 mile run around gorgeous Reeds Lake. A total runner’s hub, you’ll also encounter power walkers, those out for a Sunday stroll, and lots and lots of dogs. There’s a paved trail around the entire lake with well-marked pedestrian signs so you won’t get turned around. Enjoy the super cute cityscape, drool over the amazing home architecture, and feel a refreshing breeze coming across the lake. This place has it all.

Riverside Park

running spots Grand Rapids

Riverside Park, we love you. Located on the West Side, Riverside is classified as the largest urban park in the Grand Rapids parks system. This awesome green space has an abundance of paved pathways, perfect for an evening run. It’s also flat (for those who hate hills as much as we do) and situated along the Grand River. Fun fact: this is longest river in the state of Michigan! Along the way you will run into walkers, bikers, and probably a few disc golf enthusiasts here and there. Pack some treats for a post-run picnic; it’s easy to spend the day there.

White Pine Trail

kent park trails

This one is a doozy. Recently renamed the “Fred Meijer White Pine Trail State Park” thanks to a generous donation, it’s a rail trail that extends from Ann Street in Grand Rapids (Riverside Park) to Cadillac (92 miles) and lies on the path graded for the Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad. The paved section you would most likely frequent in Grand Rapids is a 22 mile stretch between Comstock Park and Sand Lake. The entire trail passes through 15 Michigan cities. It’s a great escape from busy roads and distracted drivers. GR tip: use this trail for a cross training bike day, you will love it!

Provin Trails

provin trails

This little gem of a trail run is tucked away off 4 Mile Rd between Dean Lake Ave and the East Beltline. A real reprieve from city living, enjoy many interconnected loops of natural-surfaced, sandy colored trails in a heavily wooded forest. Find some serious nature here and gear up for inclines, declines, roots, and of course, relaxation.

Ah-Nab-Awen ParkAh-Nab-Awen Park

Once the site of a Native American village, this fun, foot-trafficked park located in the heart of downtown GR draws tourists and locals alike. Start your run here and dive head first into side streets and cityscapes or run along the beautiful Grand River. The possibilities are endless.

John Ball Zoo – Kent Trails

kent trails

A fun family space, this is also where the Grand Rapids Running Club meets for many of their coordinated group events! From this starting point, it’s a cinch to jump onto the Kent Trail System, a 15 mile rail trail in Kent County that is part of a network of trails in and around Grand Rapids. It stretches from John Ball Park and Millennium Park all the way to Byron Center. If you’re looking for a scenic space with lots of options that isn’t too far away, you struck gold.

Millennium Park

millenium park

This awesome Grand Rapids staple is part of the Fred Meijer Millennium Trail Network, offering 12 different trail options and running routes ranging from 0.3 to 4.1 miles. Some are paved shoreline trails while others offer a more natural surface, this a great place to run un-abandoned, without a plan, and without getting lost. Bring your swimsuit along for the ride and cool off at the Millennium beach after you get your sweat on.

Roselle Park

roselle park ada

A hop, skip and a jump away from Grand Rapids, Roselle Park is part of the Ada Park System and is comprised of 240 acres of natural preserve. The main trail is paved (2.5 miles) and features an overlook and canoe landing on the Grand River. There’s also a fun silo climbing wall, natural streams and many well marked trailheads to explore and enjoy.

Cascade Peace Park

cascade peace park

Looking for quick, non-paved trails that are easier on the joints? Then Cascade Peace Park is a great option! Weave your way through 8 trails that interconnect so you can easily find your way back. The main trail is 1.6 miles and you can find the trailhead on either Grand River or Bolt Dr.

Egypt Valley Trails

Egypt valley trails

Not only can you hit up this  7.1 mile trail for a breath taking run, but it’s also phenomenal for hiking and biking.  Egypt Valley Trails are located near near Ada and feature beautiful wild flowers, wooded terrain, and minimal traffic. They’re accessible year-round and you’ll see numerous activities along the loop. Dogs are allowed but must be kept on leash.

What’s your favorite running spot in Grand Rapids? Please comment and add the list below, we’d love to hear from you.

Now stop reading and start running!

Get unlimited classes in June for $79!

Better than a barre studio and more than a yoga lounge, Alkalign Studios in Ada presents an invigorating fitness approach that focuses on the whole body and self-improvement from the inside-out. How? It’s called functional fitness, and it can help you find a dynamic life balance, grounded in strength and serenity.

What is Functional Fitness?alkaline studios

Functional fitness emphasizes core stability while preparing your body for daily activities. By incorporating balance and coordination with strength and flexibility, Alkalign helps participants train for life.

Alkalign offers holistic classes that focus on strength, alignment, cardio, and nutrition training. In each class, elements of barre, yoga, Pilates, and even physical therapy are integrated in a way that feels completely fresh.

alkaline studios

The instructors at Alkalign strive to educate, empower, and inspire people to be a better version of themselves. Their classes are mindfully presented with hands-on instruction and a focus on physical function.

7 Functional Movementsalkaline studios

Each class at Alkalign incorporates 7 functional movements: squat, lunge, hinge, push, pull, rotate, and walk. To properly exert these movements, the body requires strength development, flexibility, mobility, and balance. Alkalign builds upon the foundation of these areas with the repetition of functional movement, so clients walk away from each class noticing immediate results.

alkaline studios

What you practice at Alkalign translates to life. Whether it’s a sport, hobby, or mastering daily tasks that were always rooted in pain, Alakalign instructors work to break that pattern, while helping you live a healthier, happier life!

June Special!

Interested in trying Alkalign for yourself? This awesome studio is offering an incredible deal for the month of June. Sign up for unlimited classes for just $79!  Just click the following link and sign up for your first class. Alkalign now, thank yourself later!

Get unlimited classes in June for $79!

Recently voted best salads in GR by Grand Rapids Magazine, we are thrilled to share more about Bliss & Vinegar located in Ada. Chef Mark McNamara and his wife Jennifer, also the owners of Marco New American Bistro, were inspired to open a restaurant that would allow customers to make healthy choices. Over time, they noticed a clientele interested in getting meals to go or a quick lunch. Mark soon realized that Grand Rapids lacked restaurants that offered both fast service and a variety of healthy menu items. With a desire to make healthy food more convenient, Bliss & Vinegar was born.

bliss & vinegar

The name Bliss & Vinegar comes from the meaning behind each word. Bliss represents the feeling of eating well. When we eat food that is minimally processed, satiating, and nourishing, our bodies feel blissful and thankful. Vinegar represents the tangy flavor that compliments so many foods. Vinegar pairs well with fresh produce and provides even more delicious flavor.

GR Healthy Living - Grand Rapids Healthy Living Spot

Bliss & Vinegar has over 60 delicious toppings to choose from and they offer their own house-made dressings. These dressings are all-natural and preservative free. Gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan options are also readily available. Their produce is locally sourced through Farm Link, which connects restaurants to 20-30 local farms. Bliss & Vinegar uses only naturally raised beef and chicken that are free from hormones and antibiotics. To top it off, all their materials are recyclable. Talk about sustainability!

There is something for everyone on the menu. The Bowls of Warm Bliss are hearty and delicious and perfect heading into Fall and Winter. Each bowl has a base of warm quinoa with protein, vegetables, and house-made dressing. There’s even a BMB (Big Meat Bowl) that’s filled with grilled steak, herb roasted chicken, and bacon served over quinoa with red pepper, avocado, and a Greek yogurt ranch.

bliss & vinegar

Some of the most popular menu items include the Michigan Cobb, which is made with romaine lettuce, herb roasted chicken, tomato, onion, Michigan dried cherries, bacon, egg, and gorgonzola vinaigrette. Another favorite is the Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili, which is also vegan and gluten-free. Jennifer states that the chili is even a hit with their children. Bliss & Vinegar also allows customers to create their own salad, bowl, or wrap. This can be very helpful to those that may have food allergies or intolerances. Catering options are also available, which is perfect for local businesses that want a healthy lunch option for the office.

bliss & vinegar

In addition to providing quick and healthy meals, Bliss & Vinegar is helping to create an environment of support and accountability. Last year they offered a “Bliss This!” Salad Challenge which offered helpful tips and recipes on how to create a different salad each day. Currently, they’re running a 30-day Healthy Challenge; the participants encourage each other to establish healthier habits that range from eating well to physical activity. Jennifer hopes to offer these groups more frequently and grow participation. Guests can also join their Newsletter service for more health-related tips.

bliss & vinegar

Bliss & Vinegar is community focused. They’ve partnered with local wellness sites, such as Pure Barre and Orange Theory Fitness. Every six weeks, customers are treated to a new local artist’s artwork through a partnership with Grand Valley Artists Association. The featured art displayed throughout the restaurants helps create a calming atmosphere.

“What we want to promote is that there are a lot of healthy options out there–we just have to help people switch it up and make it more exciting. Healthy food does not have to be boring food.” –Jennifer McNamara

bliss & vinegar

Bliss & Vinegar is ideal for anyone seeking a healthful, tasty meal. It’s great for a sit-down lunch or an easy dinner to pick up on the way home. The wide range of available produce, protein, and dressings, accommodates any type of diet. They also go beyond food by creating relationships with local fitness groups and by helping guests create healthier habits with wellness groups and challenges.

Bliss & Vinegar is located at 888 Forest Hill Ave SE Grand Rapids, MI 49546. Visit their website to learn more and to check out all of their menu items!

Jenn Fillenworth is a local blogger and creator of Jenny with the Good Eats. She is a Registered Dietitian, Culinary Student, and Master’s Candidate. Jenn has made appearances on WZZM 13 and Fox 17, promoting healthy eating and wellness to Greater Grand Rapids. In her free time, she loves to travel and explore new foods. For more recipes & healthy inspiration, follow her on Instagram: jennywiththegoodeats

Getting your sweat on is one of the best feelings in the world. That euphoric moment at the end of a hard workout is always worth it! The key to real change though (we all know this) is consistency and dedication – and therein lies the rub. To help keep you motivated, here are 15 of the best sweat spots + fitness studios in GR that focus on sustainable change, serious sweat, and building a community of fitness fanatics that will keep you coming back for more!

Allegro Coachingfitness studio

A boutique studio in the heart of Eastown, Allegro Coaching believes in conditioning the body, mind, and spirit through fun and effective fitness classes. In musical terminology, Allegro means “fast and fun” and the 40 large group classes offered here weekly truly reflect their namesake. From Pilates and TRX to BODYPUMP, Boxing, Team Shred, and Tai Chi, Allegro infuses their studio with a variety of classes making the dreaded fitness plateau a thing of the past.

Title One Kickboxingfitness studio

Located in Kentwood, Title One Kickboxing will make you drip within the first 10 minutes – no joke. Their kickboxing workouts incorporate kicking with punching (yelling is optional!) for a dynamic and uber-challenging experience. They also offer Power Hour (a true boxer’s workout) and Mixed Martial Arts. Title One believes in digging deep and seeing what you’re really made of. If stumbling out of a workout in a haze of sweat and satisfaction is what you’re looking for, this is for you.

F45 Fitnessfitness studio

F45 stands for Function 45, as in 45 minutes of functional, no-nonsense, air-gasping fitness. Hailing from Australia and located near Woodland Mall, F45 training merges three separate fitness styles (High-Intensity Interval Training, Circuit Training, and Functional Training) into one heart pounding, station-based workout. The fusion of these three training concepts has led to the development of 27 different workouts that rotate throughout the gym on a regular basis. If you’re looking for a punch in the gut with a side of variety, F45 Fitness is for you.

FLEXcity Fitnessfitness studio

FLEXcity calls Downtown GR its home and is a HIIT focused studio blending leading techniques into a one-of-a-kind training concept. Built for ALL fitness levels, FLEXcity sessions are 56 minutes and interval based, incorporating cardio, strength training, and flexibility into each and every class. This signature FLEX56 workout was created to make exercise fun and effective. If you don’t have time to pick and choose between 50 different classes and want to place your chips on a sure thing, check out FLEXcity.

Orange Theory Fitnessfitness studio

Located in Kentwood near the Woodland Mall, Orange Theory Fitness takes your workout to a whole new level by incorporating data into the science behind getting sweaty. Each session is one hour and combines cardio with strength training using treadmills, indoor rowers, hand weights, and floor exercises to get serious results. During your gym session, you wear a heart-rate monitor that displays the data in real time on a screen, letting your trainer know how you are doing and keeping you accountable too. The goal is to hit the “Orange Effect” or the level where there’s increased energy and calorie burn up to 36 hours after the workout!

Grit Life fitness studio

Grit Life focuses not only on physical conditioning, but also nutrition, recovery, and mindfulness. It’s a community more than a workout class, and when it comes to fitness, there’s strength in numbers. They offer daily classes both indoor and outdoor that focus on boxing, full-body strength, and circuit training. Drop in classes are only $15.00, making it an affordable option anytime of the year.

Burn Boot Camp GR fitness studio

Ok, you’re a busy parent with a full-time job – how are you supposed to find time to work out? Enter Burn Boot Camp GR. Each class is only 45 minutes but boasts an average burn of 700 calories per session! AND they offer free childcare at select times throughout the week. They also provide members with Focus Meetings every three weeks, or one-on-one time spent with a trainer to help you track fitness, nutritional, even personal goals. It’s a true lifestyle transformation program that helps busy families make time to get their sweat on.

 MVP Sports Clubsfitness studio

If you want big-time variety and amazing amenities, MVP is your place! Offering over 400 complimentary group fitness classes each month, MVP Sports Clubs provides its members with classes to fit even the busiest schedule. From Group Power to Yoga, Aqua Fit to Zumba, they have what you need to get moving and get motivated! It’s anything and everything you would want in a workout facility.

Friction CrossFitfitness studio

It’s no secret that CrossFit has been taking the nation by storm, but have you checked out Friction CrossFit yet? At Friction, they leave the fancy equipment at the door and focus instead on great coaching and personalized attention. It’s group class, but the coaches and community at large are focused on helping you achieve optimal results by pushing you to the ultimate limit – and then a little bit further.  If you’re looking for a no-frills, personalized workout, head to Friction.

Fzique Lifefitness studio

Housed within the 616LOFTs on Michigan St., Fzique is the ultimate fitness party. If you’re jonesing for a nightclub experience (that doesn’t leave you feeling like you’ve been hit by a train the next morning) this is a must-do! In their indoor cycling classes, the lights go down for an ultimate full body calorie-burning workout. If cycling isn’t your thing, check out FZIQUE X, a fresh take on HIIT training. Immerse yourself in the music and get in the zone with Fzique Life.

CKO Kickboxing fitness studio

CKO offers 30 group classes per week combining kickboxing with conditional drills for a total body workout. Located in North Downtown with free parking, their trial deal is unbeatable – 3 classes and kickboxing gloves for $20.00. Get all the stress of the day out at CKO and pack it into your punch!

 GR Challenge Center

Located on Monroe in the heart of Grand Rapids, the GR Challenge Center is more than a traditional fitness facility. It offers challenging, sweat-worthy classes such as Yoga, Strength, and Total Body workouts, but brings a community element to the class that isn’t easy to imitate. As a member, you are embraced by a family of fitness and health providers dedicated to helping you find your best self through understanding, coaching, and training. If you don’t want to be another face in the crowd, check out GR Challenge Center. 

YMCA of Greater GR

 fitness studio

Who doesn’t love the YMCA? Nobody. With multiple accessible locations peppered throughout the Grand Rapids region, a ridiculous amount of fitness classes for any ability level, child care, robust aquatics programming (the list goes on!) there’s something for everyone here. Get your sweat on exactly how you want to, without breaking the bank, at the Y.

Fit Body Boot Camp (GR NE)  fitness studio

What differentiates this boot camp class from the pack? It’s only 30 minutes! Located in NE Grand Rapids on the East Beltline, this heart-stopping workout is designed to burn fat from the word go. Fit Body Boot Camp is home to the Afterburn workout, a group program that combines HIIT interval training with active rest training where you get high energy, fun, and challenging workouts meant to burn maximum fat and tone your entire body in 30 minutes. If you’re always pressed for time and want to optimize your sweat session, this is for you.

Armentality Movement Arts Centerfitness studio

Find a low-stress workout that stills makes you sweat at Armentality Movement Arts Center. Joy, laughter, meditation, strength, and friendship are woven throughout every program at Armentality. Offering dance, yoga, concert dance, martial arts, global culture themes, fitness classes, and more, this facility is a place where you can get fit physically while also growing mentality at the same time. Feel energized and refreshed at Armentality.

Grab a towel, water bottle, and a friend to check out one of the 15 sweat-worthy hot spots in Grand Rapids. Share your favorite workout program or place with us in the comments below and be sure to subscribe to GR Healthy Living for all our latest updates and health happenings in the GR area!

When Monday night rolls around, I’m always psyched to cruise over to CKO Kickboxing, where I get to sweat, glow, and challenge myself with every kick and punch!  There’s nothing better than a motivating trainer, hype music, and punching some bags to lift me out of the Monday funk.

Over the past few months, I’ve been taking classes at CKO Kickboxing and I’m officially addicted to the heart pumping cardio, combat moves, and intensity of the class. The best part!? IT’S FUN! There’s never a dull moment with the constant push to amp your fitness and lively atmosphere.  During my first class, I definitely felt intimidated, but as soon as the instructor cranked the music and got the momentum going, I found my groove and quickly caught on.  Though it takes time and commitment to truly learn the techniques, push yourself to new limits, and build strength, here are a few reasons why I absolutely LOVE kickboxing and why you should give it a shot!

It’s a Huge Stress Relief

cko kickboxing

Photo | Instagram @ckogr8

If you have any pent-up stress or aggression, kickboxing is an AWESOME outlet. Instead of internalizing a stressful event or bad day at work, take it out on the bag–or put a face on it and punch your least favorite person into oblivion. There’s extreme satisfaction that comes with hitting the bag a little harder each time or launching it further after a few powerful kicks. After just 30 minutes of class, my adrenaline and anxiety significantly subside. I feel more empowered, confident, and relish in the afterglow of the much-needed endorphin and serotonin boost.

Build Physical Strength & Endurance

cko kickboxing

Photo | Instagram @ckogr8

In addition to the mental benefits, kickboxing engages all of the muscle groups in your body through high-intensity training.  The martial art techniques combined with bursts of explosive energy can burn up to 750 calories an hour. At CKO, the trainer breaks down each technique in preparation for several combos which typically include jabs, uppercuts, roundhouses, sidekicks, and backhands.  Toward the end of class, we finish off with squats, sprints, and intense ab work. PHEW! I’m always a sweaty mess and ready to collapse during the final minutes.

Social Benefits

cko kickboxing

Photo | Instagram @ckogr8

Another awesome component of the class is the camaraderie. Not only do I get to workout with a few friends who hold me accountable, the atmosphere of CKO is highly motivating and encouraging. The instructors work with you to achieve proper form and maximum strength, the music is off da hook, and the adrenaline of each workout is enhanced by the group aspect. When John G (our Monday night trainer) shouts, “Don’t get tired, get busy!” the extra effort is contagious and keeps everyone going.

cko kickboxing

Kickboxing is an invigorating way to develop yourself physically, mentally, and socially. Since attending CKO, my back, shoulders, and arms are more sculpted and I’ve improved my cardiovascular endurance. Maybe you never pictured yourself ferociously taking out your aggression on an innocent bag, but if there’s one thing that makes us better at being human, it’s surpassing all the expectations we have of ourselves. If you’re craving something new and ready to get busy at the gym, we have a SWEET kickboxing studio right here in GR! Or you can check out any of CKO’s +65 locations all over the United States. For more insight on the benefits of boxing, read this inspiring interview with an accomplished kickboxing champMaureen Shea