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October Fitness Events Guide

Fall is finally here! It’s time for pumpkins, flannels, crunchy leaves, scenic colors, and Robinette’s donuts. In addition to fall festivities, Grand Rapids has an awesome line up of fitness events to keep you active and moving! From the Grand Rapids Marathon to The Zombie Dash 5K, October in the 616 does not disappoint. Be sure to bookmark this page, share with your friends, and sign up for something fun!

*Events are featured in chronological order. For additional info & to view the full calendar of events, visit: www.grhealthyliving.com/events

Michigan Adventure Race–ArtPrize Edition: Saturday, Oct. 7th @ 9:30 am

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Part bike race, part running race and part Amazing Race, the ArtPrize Edition is the only sporting event that incorporates a world-class art festival (ranked #4 in the world by Time Magazine). Two-person teams will head out from Ah-Nab-Awen Park and bike and run to checkpoints pre-marked on a map, collecting as many points as they can within four hours. They’ll encounter Amazing Race-like challenges, many involving some aspect of art and ArtPrize, in popular downtown exhibits as well as out-of-the-way venues. Click this link for further info and registration.

GRR Runway 5K: Saturday, Oct. 7th @ 9:00am

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This event has been over a year in the making! Trivium Racing will be teaming up with Gerald R. Ford Airport to bring you the 5K on the Runway Grand Rapids! This event is going to be amazing! Athletes will start by running through the tunnel that goes under the runway, then head out onto one of the major airport runways for a lightning fast 5K race! A local charity will benefit from a portion of the proceeds. This event is a must for your fall 2017 calendars (and your bucket list!) and is a great tune-up for your late season half and full marathon.

Funky Buddha Grand Finale: Sunday, Oct. 8th @ 10:00 am

The Funky Buddha Triathlons of ALL TRIATHLONS – THE GRAND FINALE!

1 hour of Funky Buddha Yoga at Lincoln Park
Group Bike Ride around the Westside led by The Spoke Folks
Final destination – One Bourbon!!!

Your ticket price includes your Yoga, Bike Ride, a Funky Awesome Event T-shirt, and a mid-ride fresh juice from Malamiah Juice Bar.

Once we get to One Bourbon, a portion of all food and drink sales will go directly to support the amazing work of The Spoke Folks…..so have your friends and fam meet you at One Bourbon for the after-party!!

* Because of the limited capacity, tickets are non-refundable. Our Funky Triathletes are an intrepid bunch, and the event will go off rain or shine.

Saturday Morning Yoga: Oct. 7th, 14th, & 21st @ 9:00am

Grand Rapids Wellness, Boom Town, and Moosejaw GR are teaming up with Kula Grand Rapids to offer a “Karma Yoga” series that will run for 3 weeks: October 7th, 14th, and 21st.

What’s Karma Yoga? Basically, it’s an opportunity to practice yoga AND support a local organization. All donations collected from this class will benefit Treetops Collective in Grand Rapids. Check out their website to learn more about the awesome work they’re doing in our community: http://www.treetopscollective.org.

MORE DEETS: Please BYOM (bring your own mat). Moosejaw is located in Grand Rapids across from the Downtown Market on Ionia Avenue. *** PARKING is available at the Downtown Market for a fee or there is street parking along Ionia.

2017 Metro Health Grand Rapids Marathon: Sunday, Oct. 15th @ 8:00 am

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Designed by runners. For runners.

Founded in 2004, the Grand Rapids Marathon delivers a fun, highly personal, authentic race experience, particularly for runners who value a well-organized, personal experience over the chaotic, crowded fields of “big city” races through ”concrete canyons.” We are a race that supports every runner – no one is a stranger on our course – celebrates every individual accomplishment and embodies the spirit of friendship and community that is so unique to running.

Not able to run? Join the cheer section! Make signs, invite everyone you know and cheer on the awesome runners!

Yoga at the GRAM: Thurs., Oct. 19th @ 5:45pm

The Grand Rapids Art Museum and AM Yoga present Yoga at GRAM, sponsored by Priority Health. Join us for Vinyasa-style yoga classes with instructors Ashley Yost and Mali Jane. All levels are welcome.

Yoga is the art of connecting mind with body through movement, breath, and meditation. Art and yoga have complementary and intrinsically valuable benefits. Art provides us with a deeper understanding of the world around us, a greater empathy for others, and heightened powers of observation.

Where: the Auditorium, check in at the Guest Services desk.
What to bring: Towel, mat, water

Registration: Admission to GRAM is free on Meijer Free Thursday Nights. The cost to participate in yoga is pay what you please and goes directly to support AM Yoga.

The Zombie Dash 5K: Saturday, Oct. 21st @ 6:45 pm

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Run a 5K on post-apocalyptic streets and paths in downtown Grand Rapids, MI. Race against darkness. Dodge the zombies and keep your “flag football” life strips to avoid infection and stay alive (time bonus).

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk: Saturday, Oct. 21st @ 10:00 am

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. According to the American Cancer Society, one in eight American women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. Come together with survivors, caregivers, men and women from all walks of life who are passionate about saving lives from breast cancer.

Celebrate your shared efforts. Inspire each other to carry on. And take comfort in the knowledge that because of your dedication, no one walks alone. Join the American Cancer Society and find out more details on their website. Registration starts at 8:30 am and the walk begins at 10 am.

Mutt Strut Community Dog Walk: Wed., Oct. 25th @ 6:00 pm

Join Fido &  Stitch for the first “Mutt Strut” Halloween Dog Walk! We are excited to be teaming up with Nature of the Dog -GR Dog Walking Company and Green Dog Photography for this fun event! We strongly encourage costumes for this fun walk downtown Grand Rapids, led by Nature of the Dog, as we are doing a costume contest! Green Dog Photography will be taking pictures of pups in their costumes, and will host a public Facebook contest after the event; the winner with the most likes will win a $50 gift card to Fido & Stitch! The walk will end at Garage Bar and Grill, on their dog-friendly patio (weather permitting), for beverages and food with your pooch!

Lights Off, Party On–FZIQUE Private Opening: Thurs., Oct. 26th @ 6:00 pm

FZIQUE Private Grand Opening.

Get sexy and get ready to get the scoop on a new kind of club where you can dance, sweat and define both the body and mind from partying on a bike. Join Gwadue, owner and Master instructor for a curated “Miami Lights Off, Party On” event at his redefined Indoor Cycling studio, FZIQUE. Sushi, Cuban sliders, Mojitos, Corona and other tastes of South Beach offered along with music that pumps your mind, body and soul.

The Show – An invigorating 10 minute preview of FZIQUES party on the bike by Gwadue and his team.

Give a gift. Change a life. Save a life.

Gwadue’s heart and soul is devoted to building a stronger tomorrow. Raised by a single mother in Nigeria, his tribulations through life have made him a firm believer that children are the future. With this belief, 100% of your ticket price will be donated to Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. Your donations help launch, expand and sustain life-changing and lifesaving services otherwise unavailable.

Celebrate Rosa Parks Circle: Saturday, Oct. 28th @ 8:30 am

Rosa Parks Circle has been named one of 5 Great Public Spaces in America! With exceptional design by internationally-acclaimed artist Maya Lin, support by the Frey Foundation, and the dedication of countless other community members, this cherished place in the heart of our city has contributed greatly to the vibrancy of Grand Rapids.

To celebrate this exciting national recognition, we are showcasing everything you love about Rosa Parks Circle in one day including live music, food trucks, free fitness, swing dancing, and more!

Join us in celebrating all of the people and events that make Rosa Parks Circle a Great Place.

Schedule of Events*
MORNING: FREE FITNESS
∙ 8:30 – Yoga
∙ 9:30 – POUND
∙ 10:30 – Urban Moves

RELAX AT ROSA: 11:00 – 2:00
∙ Live music by Selita Black Rose
∙ Food trucks
∙ Kids crafts
∙ Yard games

AFTERNOON & EVENING
∙ 2:00 – Proclamation from Mayor Bliss
∙ 2:30 – Gaga ball with GR Sport & Social Club
∙ 4:00 – Swing dancing with Grand Rapids Original Swing Society
∙ 5:00 – Salsa dancing
∙ Food trucks

For additional info & to view the full calendar of events, visit: www.grhealthyliving.com/events

Fitness Events Guide: September in the 616

Tis the season for back to school, cooler weather, and a fresh start. With only a few weeks left of summer, take advantage of warmer days & outdoor fitness opportunities. Our September calendar is packed with everything from Crossfit games to Down Dogs & donuts; thus, it’s time for another fitness roundup featuring some awesome events you won’t want to miss. Try something new, find where you fit, and get active GR!

*Events are featured in chronological order. For additional info & to view the full calendar of events, visit: www.grhealthyliving.com/events

Beer Run at Cannonsburg Ski Area: Tues., September 5th @5:30 pm

It’s a fun run, usually with a couple options for around 3 and 5 miles, followed by beer, friends, fun and door prizes. NO ADVANCED REGISTRATION. SIGNUP ON SITE ON EVENT DAY. Registration starts around 5:30ish… We will start the run at 6:30.

A joint operation of New Holland Brewing and the Metro Health Grand Rapids Marathon, each of the venues is clever enough to be serving some yummy New Holland Beer on some of their taps.

THIS WILL BE A TRAIL RUN!

Cost? $10 which includes your first beer and a few munchies and a substantial piece of each entry supports a charity chosen by our venue.

Want a cool t-shirt? That’s another $10. Sizes are starting to get limited to don’t wait!

Run with really cool people, drink beer, feel good about yourself. Life is good!

Downtown GR Bike Party: Friday, September 8th @ 7:00 pm

Get ready for a fun ride celebrating Grand Rapids through Downtown GR and the GR Westside. This is a free event and open to all who are looking to meet new and old riders! Deck out your bike with GR inspired gear & wear denim attire or jeans. The route includes Rosa Parks Circle, the GR Blue Bridge, and Westside GR.

Event Meetup Location: Rosa Park Circle @ 7:00pm

Ride Begins: 7:30 pm

Ending Location- Long Road Distillers

The Moonlight Bootlegger 5k Trail Race: Friday, September 8th @ 8:15 pm

Transition back to the 1920’s Prohibition Era rum running and race through the wooded trails of the backcountry. Like our bootleggin’ ancestors, see if you can make it through the moonlit woods to get to the stompin’ grounds, where you can enjoy a nice glass of moonshine and flatfoot it to bluegrass and old-timey music.

We are excited to host this event for a second year at Art Van Sports Complex!  Run through the candle-lit woods of Merrill Trails with your headlamp or flashlight.  Each mile will be marked by bluegrass music.  Once you make it to the finish line there will be live music and moonshine cocktails for all!  This 5K is great for the casual runner/walker and the serious trail racers.  Just like our bootleggin’ ancestors, see if you can make it through the moonlit woods to get to the stompin’ grounds, where you can enjoy moonshine cocktails and flatfoot it to live music.

Funky Buddha Triathlon: Sunday, September 10th @ 10:00 am

….and we made it to the FALL Funky Buddha Triathlons!

September means beautiful fall weather and good times at One Bourbon!

1 hour of Funky Buddha Yoga at Lincoln Park

Group Bike Ride around the West Side led by The Spoke Folks

Final destination – One Bourbon!!!

Your ticket price includes your Yoga, Bike Ride, a Funky Awesome Event T-shirt, and a mid-ride fresh juice from Malamiah Juice Bar.

Once we get to One Bourbon, a portion of all food and drink sales will go directly to support the amazing work of The Spoke Folks…..so have your friends and fam meet you at One Bourbon for the after-party!!

* Because of the limited capacity, tickets are non-refundable. Our Funky Triathletes are an intrepid bunch, and the event will go off rain or shine.

4th Annual Pure Barre on the Blue Bridge: Thurs., September 14th @ 7:30 pm

For the 4th year in a row, under the beautiful sunset over the iconic Blue Bridge in Downtown Grand Rapids, we will Lift. Tone. Burn. and FUNdraise for cancer and Parkinson’s disease research at Van Andel Institute! Join us for a Pure Barre Pop-Up class on The Blue Bridge! Bring a yoga mat, towel, water bottles for hydration/weights, cash for raffle tickets to win prizes and most of all – bring your friends! If you would like to donate raffle prizes in support of the event, please email grandrapids@purebarre.com.

Yoga Pop-Up at Frederick Meijer Gardens: Saturday, September 16th @ 9:00 am

Join us for an unforgettable morning of outdoor yoga with well-known instructors Dean Jeffery, Mimi Ray, and Gretchen Brockman! Not to toot our own horns, but what a combo?!

We’ll gather around “Neuron” by Roxy Paine and participate in 60 minutes of guided meditation, breath work and an active yoga practice guaranteed to leave you feeling refreshed and grounded.

Member Cost: $6.50

Non-Member Cost: $14.50

Open to all levels and ages. Please bring a yoga mat, sweatshirt, and water bottle. Space is limited so pre-registration only!

P.S. There will be awesome giveaways for a few lucky people from our friends at Lululemon and Yogi Surprise!

2017 Lake Michigan Credit Union Bridge Run & 5K Run/ Walk & 10 Mile: Sunday, September 17th @ 8:00 am

The 2017 Lake Michigan Credit Union Bridge Run provides you the chance to see some of the best sights in Grand Rapids.  Whether you pick the 10 Mile Run, 5K Run, or 5K Walk your journey will start in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids at Rosa Parks Circle.  From there the course will take you over the city’s historic bridges, along the Grand River, through parks, and back to the finish on Monroe Center.

In 2016 our generous sponsors and the record setting 2,257 participants helped us raise over $10,000 for local charities.  With your help, we look to provide even more support for the wonderful organization that helps those in our community.

We invite you to sign up with your family and friends to join the over 2,000 other participants we are expecting this year!  Looking forward to seeing you at Rosa Parks Circle on September 17!

Kids Obstacle Course Night: Wednesday, September 20th @ 6:30 pm

Want a way to check off a mile for the Kids Marathon training? Join us for a one-mile obstacle course in the South parking lot of John Ball Park on Wednesday, 9/20. There will be awards for finishing the course and post-race snacks for everyone!

The course will start at 6:30. Please plan to arrive a little after 6 for registration and warm up.

1st Annual RunTough for Team Tommy 5K & 1 Mile Fun Run/ Walk: Saturday, September 23rd @ 8:30 am

1st Annual RunTough for Team Tommy benefitting the ChadTough Foundation will take place at the Metro Health University of Michigan Health Hospital from 8:30-11:00 am. The local, family-friendly event will include a 1-mile fun run and 5K race for both children and adults, and the foundation will once again offer a “virtual race” option for anyone who isn’t local or has scheduling conflicts. We are thrilled to have Eric Zane joining us as the master of ceremonies for the morning.

This race is being held in conjunction with the ChadTough Foundation in memory of Tommy Ruddy, who lost his battle with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG) on November 3, 2016. A short and heroic 11 week battle with the disease

All proceeds from the event will support The ChadTough Foundation, which raises research dollars and awareness for pediatric brain cancer with an emphasis on Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG).

Soul Pose Yoga: Saturday, September 23rd @ 8:30 am

From the creators of The Color Run comes Soul Pose, the Happiest Yoga on the Planet!

Do YOUR kind of yoga at one of our blacklight yoga sessions. Body paint, confetti, and new friends are always in full supply.

Our all-level yoga sessions are fun for everyone — from experienced yogis to someone who has never set foot on a mat. This event takes place all day at the Devos Place Ballroom.

Down Dog & Donuts. Yoga at Robinettes: Saturday, September 23rd @ 9:00 am

Community. Yoga…..AND Delicious Donuts

Join Seva Yoga the morning for an outdoor yoga session on the lawn at Robinettes, followed by complimentary cider and donuts. This class is FREE to Seva members, just $5 for non-members.

Do it Like Beyonce Fitness Jam: Saturday, September 23rd @ 9:00 am

She Rides Her Own Way invites you to participate in ArtPrize 9 opening weekend with a Slow Ride, Zumba, outdoor Spinning class, and a “Beyoncé ” Dance-off. This is a family-friendly fitness event which will begin with fitness friendly events at Calder Plaza in Downtown Grand Rapids. Women & Girls of all ages are encouraged to participate in an afternoon of fun!

Choose an activity of your choice to participate in both the morning and afternoon sessions

***Bring a Picnic Lunch & Food Truck will be available On Site***

8:00am-Morning Registration

9:00 am – Bike Ride Begins – Yoga Morning Session

10:30 am- Outdoor Spinning Class

11:00am-12pm- Beyoncé Zumba

Yoga & Brunch: San Chez & Art Prize Edition: Sunday, September 24th @ 9:00am

You know how sometimes ALL THE GOOD THINGS happen at once?!?!? All the things that we love: Yoga. San Chez Bistro Brunch. AND ArtPrize!

Kick off an Art Prize Sunday – Funky Buddha Style – with an hour of Funky Buddha Yoga (hosted at the San Chez Event Space, previously Mezze), followed by an exclusive buffet style tapas brunch on the Restaurant Side…….and then…..guess what?!?!? You are already downtown…go get your Art Prize on!

Bonus Awesome: Just for our group 20% off any additional tapas that you want to add to your brunch experience. Yum. Yum. Yum.

**WHEN: Sun., Sept. 24th // 9:00 am Yoga // 10:00 am Brunch

**WHERE: San Chez Bistro Event Space

**PRICE: $30* per person

The Great Pumpkin Run: Sunday, September 30th @ 8:00 am

This is a fall-lovers event. The leaves are beginning to turn those gorgeous colors. Goodbye hot, humid air. Welcome crisp, cooler air. Lemonade is now swapped for apple cider.

Whether you choose the 5K run or add the Tough Pumpkin option, one thing will remain the same: this will be your favorite day of the Fall this year!

All participants will receive:

+ A pumpkin

+ A glass of apple cider

+ A quarter-zip lightweight tech hoodie

+ Commemorative bib with chip timing

+ A large finisher’s medal to rock proudly throughout the season

+ FREE event photos that can be downloaded after the run

Tough pumpkin finisher’s get two medals that match together!

2017 Grand River Run 8k, 5k, & 2k: Saturday, September 30th @ 9:00 am

The 6th Annual Grand River Run hosted by the Ada Township Parks & Recreation Department is at Roselle Park, a 240+ acre nature preserve/public park located along miles of Grand River frontage in scenic Ada Township, Michigan—just minutes from Grand Rapids, Rockford, and Lowell.

The Grand River Run consists of two timed start/finish trail race events: our scenic 8K hybrid trail race consisting of a combination of paved and unpaved paths throughout the park’s entire ecosystem, and our flat and fast 5K paved trail course. The 2K Fun Run is not timed, but expect surprises and plenty of high fives at the finish line.

Consider bringing your family along to cheer you on as the park offers family-friendly amenities including a play area, climbing wall, silo observation deck, stream and more for youth to explore. Feel free to bring chairs, blankets, food/beverages!

For additional info & to view the full calendar of events, visit: www.grhealthyliving.com/events

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Top Outdoor Fitness Destinations in Grand Rapids

Meet local blogger, Alyssa Waid, the creator & owner of Pretty, Young, & Motivated.  Alyssa’s goal is to reach young women who struggle with self-confidence and finding comfort in being who they are. A senior at GVSU, she loves exploring what the world has to offer, traveling, and meeting new people. Her blog offers health, fitness, & lifestyle advice while encouraging women to be confident in their own skin. Stay tuned for more from Alyssa, who will be regularly contributing to GR Healthy Living. Also, you can find her on IG: blogger_alyssa.

Getting active doesn’t have to be a hassle. As a college student, I know the struggle of paying for an expensive gym membership or joining a yoga studio. Both are great options to reach your fitness goals, but they can be limiting and costly. This summer, I have made it my goal to find affordable ways to get fit without going to the gym. So far, I have found that the best alternative is the great outdoors. You heard it right! There are so many ways to get active outdoors, and it’s free!  Summers can pass quickly in the mitten, as many of you probably know, therefore you don’t want to miss any opportunity to make the most of the sunshine. Here are some of my favorite outdoor workout spots and how I utilize the space around me:

Stairs/Hills

There is a flight of stairs near my house that I like to utilize for some High-Intensity Training. I tend to do about 10-15 sprints bottom to top. This workout always makes me super sweaty, but it’s really beneficial. If you engage your muscles correctly, it will work your entire body; your core should be firm and your arms and legs should be pumping. If you do not have access to stairs, you can always substitute with hills or bleachers. They will still engage the same muscles and give the same results! You can find stairs or hills in almost any neighborhood. Utilize the bleachers at your local high school or find a sledding spot. A few popular destinations that you should definitely check out:

  • Stairs on Division located downtown.  After a few sets, this incredibly steep set will leave you a sweaty, breathless mess. 
  • Belknap Park has a 2 awesome hill slopes behind the baseball field. These are also great for lunges and intense hill training.

The Stairs on Division

Stair Workout

Downtown

I enjoy taking a run around my local neighborhood, but one of my favorite places to run is right through downtown Grand Rapids. You can run past the infamous Blue Bridge, stop to stretch in Rosa Parks Circle and maybe even stop for a crafted beverage or coffee after your run. There are many different routes you can take so it never gets boring or repetitive—plus you get to see the beauty of downtown.

Trails & Hiking

One of my favorite hiking spots is Rosy Mound Nature Trail, which is near the lakeshore. I enjoy hiking this trail because I am able to hike to a gorgeous view while still getting a solid workout in. The trail has a challenging terrain, from stairs to inclined paths, and I am able to engage multiple muscle groups. If this is too far, no worries!  Millennium Park, closer to downtown, has more scenic paths to run or jog. It’s a quiet park that cuts through the woods and near a few lakes, making it a great place to clear your head and get active.

Millennium Park

Parks

A local park can be as functional as a gym. Parks have a lot of green space for you to do some stretching, yoga, and circuit training. Personally, I love using my own body to work out, which can be referred to as Calisthenics. I am able to do these workouts virtually anywhere, like a park or my backyard. The playground set can also work as a crossfit-style gym. For example, you can use monkey bars to do pull-ups or hanging ab crunches, or you can use the park bench to do some tricep push ups. The park has a lot of potential, if you’re creative!

On top of all these wonderful outdoor fitness destinations, Grand Rapids also provides many free outdoor fitness classes throughout the summer. Funky Buddha yoga studio even holds free yoga classes in select parks, which is awesome.

Exercise can be simple! You don’t need expensive memberships or fancy yoga clothes. Embrace what the universe has given us and get active outdoors. These are my personal and favorite places to get active outdoors, what are yours?

 

 

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Free August Fitness Events Guide

Check out these free fitness goodies the Grand Rapids fitness community has to offer you. It’s the last full month of summer, so savor the chance to get your fitness fix outside. Gather your gang, show them this list, and try as many as you can!

Rosa Parks Circle, Sixth Street Park, & the Blue Bridge:

Parks & Recreation has teamed up with Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. to offer free outdoor fitness classes to the Grand Rapids community. Dance to motivating music with a Zumba class, or burn calories with kickboxing, yoga, and world dance. There’s a class offered almost every evening, so explore our events calendar for the full schedule. This series will wrap up in 2 weeks, so don’t miss out on awesome scenic back drops with incredible instructors.

Image result for zumba rosa parks circle

Learn & Burn Walking Tours:

Learn while you burn calories on an invigorating & fascinating guided running or walking tour around downtown Grand Rapids.  Plan a fun corporate or conference event, design a unique social activity for your business, group of friends or family. You’ll experience the true pulse of our city — led by tour ambassadors who are as passionate about local lore as they are about fitness.  Run.  Walk.  Ride.  Move! Only a few free classes remain for the summer season, including the Heritage Hill Architectural  & Honoring Diversity Tours. Check out our calendar and export a tour into your schedule!

Yoga on the Rooftop of the Waters Center, Thurs., Aug. 10th @5:45 pm:

Join AM Yoga for a Donation based Vinyasa class. All levels are welcome. Please bring a mat, towel, water, and friends!

Image result for yoga roof

Learn to Row Day, Saturday, August 12th, 9:00am-1:00 pm:

Celebrate the summer rowing season with the Grand Rapids Rowing Association. Saturday, August 12, is a FREE Learn to Row day for anyone interested in the sport of rowing. Whether you are looking to sign up for a class or just want to check it off your bucket list, join GRRA on the Grand River.

Your visit will start with a quick tour of the boathouse and review of safety rules. They’ll get you acquainted with the boats and put you on an indoor rower to show you proper technique. Then, it’s down to the dock! The boats will be ready with trained coxswains and coaches to make your first experience in a sweep boat the best it can be. You’ll be seated near experienced rowers who are encouraging, supportive and are ready to help. Take time out of your Saturday schedule to learn a new skill, meet some wonderful people and have a great time on the water. Be sure to wear comfortable clothes and bring/wear socks. For more information, visit their website.

Image result for learn to row day grand rapids

Gyrokinesis® Intro Class, Thursday, August 24th, 9:30 am – 12:30 pm:

Increase your range of motion and build strength with this gentle but powerful workout that draws on yoga, tai chi, gymnastics, and dance. GYROKINESIS® method includes seated movements, mat exercises, and standing sequences that work the entire body, including the cardiovascular system. Plus, you’ll awaken your senses, stimulate your nervous system, and work toward mind-body integration. Try it now for free. Weekly classes begin September 14.

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Beer City Bike Fest at the Spoke Folks, Saturday, August 26th, 12:00 pm – 10:00 pm

A bike-themed carnival AND music festival – two events in one at The Spoke Folks! FREE and family friendly! Start the day with games and activities. Compete in one or all of the races (register at the event). Kids can decorate their own flag and license plate to show off in the Kids’ Parade and Bangarang Circus will perform. Live music starts at 5:00 pm. Love’s Ice Cream and Mosbyspopcorn will have snacks for purchase. #BCBF

Image result for spokefolks grand rapids

ALL of the latest health & fitness events can be found on our events calendar. We update daily so you don’t miss a thing! Export events to your calendar & easily find what you’re looking for. We got you covered!

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Trail Running:  Manna for the Soul

The other day, I went out for a run with one my favorite fitness muses. Our plan was open–we just wanted to get a few miles in before a busy social weekend. Luckily, serendipity intervened, letting me be stroller-free, so we opted to run the trails surrounding my home instead of the roads and neighborhood streets. Suddenly, I found myself in the mentor position after years of being the learner. Which, in turn, allowed me to be present and enjoy the experience even more! Trail-running is absolutely my most favorite form of exercise. Road-running is second, with hot yoga taking a close third. They all have their purposes: trail-running fills my runner-soul; road-running gets the job done when I need a quick pick-me-up; hot yoga is a special “treat-yo’self” session I fit in when I can. Once you run the trails a few times, you’ll know what I mean. Here are a few tips and tricks I’ve learned over my many years of loving the trails:

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#1: Start Slow: As with any new skill you’re learning, it’s best to start slow. Trail-running is no joke. Especially when you’re new, you need to pay attention to the trail’s curves, roots, uphills, and downhills. Not only that, but you’re also just going to be way slower than out on the road, so put away your speed-demon expectations and let yourself enjoy the ride!

#2: Expect to be in Oxygen-Debt: Speaking of a “ride,” like a roller-coaster, trails usually have a lot more hills at a steeper grade than you might be used to if you spend a lot of time on the road. Even when you reduce your speed, you’re going to be engaging muscles you don’t normally use, making your body work harder at a slower pace. When you work harder, your breathing will become more labored, a sure sign of the oxygen-debt that happens in an anaerobic workout. Basically, you’ll be able to get more fit in less time.

#3: Reduce Your Distance: You don’t need to run as far or as long to get the same fitness perks with trail-running. Even when I’m training for a road-race, I like to get in a solid trail-run at least once a week to keep my muscles interested and on-point.

#4: Your Running Gait Will Change: What I mean by this is that the terrain is so different, that you will be running differently to keep up. This is a good thing, even if it’s hard at first. You’ll find yourself more on your toes; running more in a line (if the trail is narrow); conversely, running more back-and-forth (when you’re avoiding roots, rocks, and holes); using your arms for balance when running downhill (chicken-elbows, anyone?); picking  up your knees (more root-avoidance); and engaging your glutes a ton more to power up hills. It’s totally invigorating–after a while.

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#5: Enjoy it! This should really be the firsttip. If there was one thing I could choose about hitting the trails that I love the best, it’s the sense of peace and calm that comes over me when I’m out there. There’s always a moment where I feel like I can finally lift my head up, look around (for a second or two anyway..always be on the watch for roots and rocks!), and take a real deep breath of thankfulness and peace.  It is truly manna for the soul.

#6: Don’t Worry About What You Wear: Trail runners are notorious for their grungy running gear. Old, torn-up tees; 10-year-old puffy shorts; sweat-stained hats (to keep off the biting flies and bugs in the summer); and black socks (with or without holes) are the name of the game. There ain’t no shame in well-loved running gear that just feels good! No one’s going to see you anyway, right? If you feel like wearing your nice stuff, that’s okay too. Trail runners are a welcoming bunch; they know that once the bug hits you, you’ll convert eventually.

About the Author: Janelle is an avid runner of all terrains, educator of all learners (specifically English to 16-year-olds), and lover of all things books, woods, and music. Five years ago, she became a BAMR (bad-ass mother runner), and the world hasn’t been the same since. Exploring ways to find peace and joy in her life, all the while laughing at her mistakes with humility and grace is her mission. In Janelle’s free time, you’ll see her playing with her toddlers, laughing at her husband’s jokes, reading a myriad of novels and nonfiction, and hitting up Twitter for great ideas in the classroom, in running, and in leading a peaceful life. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter: @janellemiles

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August Fitness Events Guide

With so much happening in Grand Rapids, finding a fitness event can be overwhelming, especially if you’re looking for something challenging & fun. Leave it to GR Healthy Living to find all the awesomeness for you, complete with dogs, beer, & mud. The following events make the perfect get-together with your fitness buddy or a creative date with your love! Or, brave it and go alone; you’ll end up meeting like-minded people and get to know someone new. And, of course, be sure to check our event calendar–August in the 616 is jam packed with plenty more to keep you moving, active, and engaged with the health & fitness community!

Paws & Reflect: A Yoga-Doga Community Event, August 3rd @ 7:00pm

BISSELL Pet Foundation and AM Yoga invite people and their pooches for a furry yoga flow at Pulaski Park (Steepletown Neighborhood Services) in Grand Rapids on Thursday, August 3, 2017, at 7 pm. All funds raised will directly support BISSELL Pet Foundation’s mission to help save pets in shelters and rescues.

Join zen dogs and their OM-azing owners at this community event for Woofin’ Warriors of all shapes and sizes. With the Ashley and Mali from AM Yoga as guides, the class will focus on awakening the senses and taking life a little less seriously…two things dogs do amazingly well! Connect with your dog as you bond through poses for pets and people to increase flexibility and fun. Bring your pup on a leash, a yoga mat you aren’t afraid to get a few paws on, and a sense of humor.

Tickets are $20 in advance and the first 50 participants to register will receive a BISSELL Pet Foundation leash as a commemorative gift. Same day registration will begin at 6 pm. Pulaski Park
is located at 629 5th St NW Grand Rapids, MI 49504.

Purchase tickets HERE

Please note: All dogs attending this event must be up to date on shots. Tickets are $20 for each yogi (and up to one dog).

Downtown GR Bike Party! 70s, 80s, 90s Ride, August 4th @ 7:00pm

Hop on your bike and head downtown for the 70s, 80s, & 90s ride! Ride through Downtown Grand Rapids and GR’s Westside. This is a free event and open to all who are looking to meet new and old riders!
Event Meetup Location- Rosa Park Circle
Event Begins – 7:00pm
Deck out your bike with 70s, 80s, 90s inspired gear!
Ride Begins- 7:30pm
Route Features- Includes Rosa Park Circle, GR Blue Bridge, and Westside GR
Dresscode- 70s,80s,90s Inspired
Special Guest DJ- Joe Moon
Ending Location-Ah Nab Awen Park “Movies In The Park”

Kick Off Night- Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital GR Kids Marathon, August 7th @ 6:30pm

Is your child participating in the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital Grand Rapids Kids Marathon? Join the Children’s Hospital to kickoff the first mile on Monday, August 7, at 6:30 pm at Millennium Park! The will have water and post-race food plus awards! Log sheets will also be available so the kids can start tracking their progress. Please plan to arrive a little after 6 (before the run starts at 6:30) to sign a waiver and get the kids warmed up. Check out their website for more information.

August 12th: David Warsen Legacy 5K Run/HERO Walk, August 12th @ 8:00am

The David Warsen Legacy Foundation is hosting a 5K Run & 1.5 Mile Hero Walk event in honor of fallen hero SO2 Navy SEAL David Warsen. David was killed in action while serving in Afghanistan in August 2012. As family and friends of David, we want to honor him by celebrating his life and giving nature through a community event. This event will be held on August 12, 2017 and includes a 5K fun run that will take place on the cross country trail at East Kentwood High School and a 1.5 mile walk on the track at the football field. Register at  davidwarsenlegacy.com.

$40 – 5K Run registration fee
$30- Hero Walk registration fee
$35 – Virtual Runner registration fee
**Kids 12 and under may run or walk for Free, but MUST by accompanied by an adult at all times and a registration form must be filled out for all children participating in either event.

All pre-registered participants will receive a t-shirt, bib number & David Warsen Legacy bag. You can sign-up the morning of the event, but please be aware that it is possible that t-shirts and bags may be gone. Virtual runners will receive a t-shirt, bib number, and a David Warsen Legacy coozie mailed to you shortly after the event.

Funky Buddha Triathlon, August 13th @ 10:00 am 

The First TWO Funky Buddha Triathlon of the Season SOLD OUT!! Don’t miss this one!! Sign UP NOW.

August means Beer! Funky Buddha is headed back to Harmony Hall for yummy food and tasty drafts. Don’t like beer? No problem. Harmony has a full bar, including some tasty bloody mary options.

1 hour of Funky Buddha Yoga at Lincoln Park
Group Bike Ride around the Westside led by The Spoke Folks
Final destination – Harmony Hall!!!

Your ticket price includes your Yoga, Bike Ride, a Funky Awesome Event T-shirt, and a mid-ride fresh juice from Malamiah Juice Bar. A portion of all food and drink sales will go directly to support the amazing work of The Spoke Folks…..so have your friends and fam meet you at Harmony Hall for the after-party!!

Because of the limited capacity, tickets are non-refundable. Our Funky Triathletes are an intrepid bunch, and the event will go off rain or shine

AfterWERQ – Dance, Fitness, Workout, Party! August 22nd @ 6:30pm

We know you’re ready to WERQ – but are you ready for AfterWERQ?! AfterWERQ brings all the energy of a WERQ dance fitness class into a nightclub setting. Prepare yourself for an exhilarating dance fitness workout experience complete with concert lighting, a dance floor, a bumpin’ stereo system and post-workout cocktails with the instructors! Sweat it out to the hottest pop & hip-hop hits. Grab your friends, wear fitness clothes, bring a towel and a water bottle and come prepared to WERQ up a sweat on the dance floor!

FUN THINGS:

5+ instructors on site!
Photo booth
Vendors including a massage therapist, health foods & more!
Bar games – corn hole, mega connect four & more!
TICKET GIVEAWAYS to upcoming 20 Monroe Live concerts!

Ticket Price: $10 advance / $15 day of show
Ages: All
Will-call/box office opens @ 4:30pm.

Door Time: 6:30pm
Dance begins: 7:15pm
Post-Dance Drinks & Party: 8:45pm

Movers and Shakers, August 24th @ 6:30pm

Join MVP as they close down the street for a summer BLOCK PARTY you won’t want to miss! Burn calories with MVP’s most popular group fitness classes, rehydrate with top-notch cocktails, and support a great cause! Start your evening off with a good sweat in your choice of a Yoga, Zumba, Group Ride, Group Fight or a Training for Warriors class. Then reward yourself after class with delicious appetizers provided by Slow’s BBQ and sip and socialize on cocktails provided by Coppercraft Distillery and The Mitten Brewing Company while browsing silent action items.

All event proceeds will go directly to the Children’s Healing Center, the first year-round recreation center for kids with weak immune systems. Located in Grand Rapids, the Center provides a safe, fun healing environment, where kids and families can connect with others.

EVENT DETAILS

Thursday, August 24
Doors open at 6:30pm
Classes start at 7:00pm
Cocktails & Appetizers served at 8:00pm

Find your favorite workout gear, because this is the only fundraiser you’ll go to where workout clothes are required.

Purchase tickets HERE. Each ticket includes participation in group fitness class, appetizers, and two drink tickets.

Grand Rapids Mud Run, August 26th @ 8:30 am

Get ready for a challenging but fun 5K run with hills, obstacles, walls, 60-foot mudslide, tunnel crawls, slippery hill climbs, and oodles of mud pits. The course is packed with over 10 obstacles plus our mud pit section with over 10 mud pits and hills! (There is a Kids Mini Mud Run for kids 12 & under.)

Mission: In 2009, Jeff Eckart got a muddy idea: create a world-class, extreme 5K mud run to raise money for a worthy cause. He visited the San Diego Mud Run in 2009, and on August 28, 2010, the first Grand Rapids Mud Run took place.

For more info & to register, visit http://www.grandrapidsmudrun.com/

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30 Days With the Funky Buddha Yoga Hothouse

What does a funky buddha, a bohemian vibe, and Eastown Grand Rapids have in common? The makings of my new favorite fitness regime. I recently discovered a $30 Groupon to try a month of unlimited classes at the Funky Buddha Yoga Hothouse. I live a few miles from their Eastown location, so I figured, why not!? Despite my love for fitness, Yoga had taken a backseat to my HIIT and strength training workouts. Thus, I decided to try something new and emerge myself in the full Yoga experience.
 
I pre-registered for my first class, Power-Flow w/Music, with the Funky Buddha app. The app lays out the weekly schedule and is easy to navigate. I arrived about 10 minutes early and relished in the Bohemian-Esque studio complete with an artistic chalkboard wall, strung lights, and lively color. It was happy hour on Friday, so members were especially chatty and friendly. For an added touch, they burned a little incense and played upbeat, acoustic music–just what I needed after a long week.

At the start of class, the instructor introduced herself and her assistant. She exuded a calm, helpful demeanor. We first settled into Balasana, Child’s Pose, and focused on our breathing. It occurred to me that I rarely breathe consciously and my mind immediately entered a quiet, calm awareness. Despite my lack of experience, I felt comfortable and invigorated. Within a minute of class, they cranked the heat and I braced myself for a sweaty mess. Thankfully, I came prepared with 2 towels: 1 to place over my mat and a bath towel to wipe off added sweat. As the heat intensified, I let my feelings of self-consciousness, along with beads of sweat, melt right off of my body as I focused on my practice. 
We spend the 1st part of the class in standing poses, then gravitated to poses either lying or sitting on our mat. The instructor gave clear, step-by-step directions throughout the entire duration. Finally, we ended with  Savasana, where you lie on your back, close your eyes, and breathe long and deep. I forced myself into a relaxed, meditative state and found my inner zen.  After an inspiring “namaste,” I walked away feeling energized and fulfilled. It was not easy, but it was one of the best workouts I’ve ever done. At this point, I decided to make Yoga a regular practice in my health and fitness journey.
During my trial with Funky Buddha, I took 19 classes and was never disappointed. Two months later, I’m officially a member and striving to improve my practice. When I want to switch things up, I find a scenic setting outside or attend a community class. Since sticking with Yoga, I’ve increased my flexibility, strength, and coordination. Beyond the physical rewards, Yoga has also taught me to:
  • Embrace things both in and outside my comfort zone
  • Stay in the moment and be present
  • Breathe and relax
  • Find new ways of approaching life

Tree pose on the pier <3

 

Funky Buddha Yoga Hothouse is a gem in the Grand Rapids area. If you haven’t tried it yet, go for it! They have 3 locations in Grand Rapids, Holland, and Forest Hills. Sign up for new customer specials, check out one of their events, or take a class for beginners. Happy bending!
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Get Back on Track With These Post-Vacation Tips

I’m still in denial that the holiday weekend is over and trying to get back on track after 5 days of over-indulging and a few too many cocktails. When reality sinks in and I’m experiencing post-vacation blues, the last thing I want to do is hit the gym or workout, but I also don’t want to make excuses or put it off too long. Needless to say, post-vacay fitness requires an extra dose of motivation, so here are a few tips to help you bounce back in no time:

1) Make a Plan. Life can be hectic after vacation. We’re usually heading back to work, unpacking, cleaning, grocery shopping, running errands, posting pictures, and sometimes taking a vacation from vacation. It’s crucial that you set aside some time to get your butt back in gear and make sure it happens within the first few days you get home. This can feel overwhelming, but once you complete that initial workout, it will boost your confidence and help you visualize how AWESOME your next workout will be.

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2) Ease into it. For that grueling first workout, go for a light run or jog, take a basic yoga class, or complete a shorter workout. This will warm up your body, keep you from being terribly sore, and prepare you for more challenging workouts that you’ll tackle later in the week.

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3) Find a workout buddy. Working out with someone else, especially after vacation, is extremely motivating. Have someone hold you accountable and communicate your goals. Schedule a morning workout, a fitness class, or running sesh with a workout buddy and you’ll be back on track in no time!

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4) Eat right. After all the snacks, dessert, booze, and calories consumed, you’ll probably feel like on going on a diet or some kind of detox. After vacation, just stick to whole foods, clean eating, and healthy choices and you won’t have to stress over calories or a fad diet. Eating right will improve your mentality and make you feel significantly better when you endure that first week back.

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5) Do it for yourself.  Think of all effort you’ve put into your fitness journey, the progress you’ve made, how amazing the journey feels, and why you prioritize exercise. Browse inspirational fitness pages on social media, write down your goals, or maybe take on a new challenge. Whatever it is that keeps you wired and motivated, do it. Avoid excuses, postponing those initial workouts, and get after it!

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How do you get motivated to workout after a long break or vacation!? Would love to hear more ideas!

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BodyPump for Beginners

A quick guide to getting started with BodyPump

If you struggle with working out solo, are a beginner at the gym, or need added motivation, then group fitness is an excellent solution. From Spin to Yoga to Tabata, I’ve attended hundreds of group fitness classes. Even after a long, exhausting day at work, joining a group of people ready to move is energizing and motivating. I especially appreciate group fitness instructors who light a fire under your butt and encourage you to bring your best. One of my fav instructors, Teresa, is actually a close friend of mine. She’s a certified BodyPump instructor and I’ve attended several of her classes. Not only does Teresa make exercise fun, she gives the support needed to build confidence and stamina. I asked Teresa all about her experience as a BodyPump instructor, and she provided some awesome insight on the benefits of the class and why you should give it a try…

BodyPump, a Les Mills International Program founded in New Zealand, is a group barbell workout class that tones and sculpts your entire body. The choreographed moves are based on scientific research set to motivating music, with the support and encouragement of the instructor. It’s possible for members to burn 540 calories or more as they work through each set with lower weights and higher repetitions. From the warm-up track which gets the body loosened up, all the way to the cool down track (10 tracks total), BodyPump keeps members motivated and hungry for more reps and improved results.

Teresa began her journey as a BodyPump instructor 5 years ago and finds it incredibly rewarding. It may sound cliché, but behind the 60 minute block of reps, sweat, and music is so much more than what meets the eye! Here are a few amazing benefits of the class:

BodyPump brings people together!  Each member is unique and has various reasons for joining the class. Some simply want to tone up, get back into shape, or maintain/gain strength, while others just appreciate the commaraderie and making new friends. BodyPump brings in both men and women, young and old, athletic and non-athletic, students to working adults, and all races. Teresa has made many quality lasting relationships with members through instructing that she would have never gained otherwise.

BodyPump builds strength! If you’re not familiar with resistance training, you’ll be in a great position to learn classic weight lifting exercises safely. The choreography includes bottom half pulses, isometric holds, and squats. Members who consistently attend class will see results;  the higher repetitions tone muscles and build endurance. Teresa demonstrates proper form, monitors participants to ensure safety, talks you through each exercise, and is a definite pro!

BodyPump always has fresh choreography! The choreography changes with each new quarterly release. The scientific research created by Les Mills ensures that each new release will utilize different exercises to leave the muscles confused and strengthened. Also, the music is entertaining, energizes the room, and keeps the group motivated.

BodyPump builds confidence! Through new friendships made in class, increased strength and muscle definition, peer-to-peer encouragement, and members holding each other accountable, participants can start to look and feel their best in and out of class. Since I began BodyPump years ago, I’m now more comfortable working out in the weight section of the gym and have learned some foundational exercises that I incorporate in my daily routine.

So, next time someone invites you to a Les Mills BodyPump class make sure to attend! Build confidence, gain strength, make new friends, sweat to great music, all while challenging your body, mind and spirit. Have you reaped the benefits of BodyPump? Please share your experience and comment below!

Teresa Morsted is a Certified Les Mills Bodypump Instructor who teaches at the YMCA of greater Grand Rapids.

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Tackle the Monday Funk with Kickboxing

From heart pumping cardio to combat moves, you’ll love this Grand Rapids Class

When Monday night rolls around, I’m always psyched to cruise over to my favorite gym, 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
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

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, side kicks, 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.

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Social Benefits
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.

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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

Have you tried kickboxing!? Why do you love it? Comment/ share below!