Motherhood is a complex journey and often overwhelming. While learning how to raise children, you’re also managing taking care of yourself and trying to maintain a fitness regimen. Finding balance can be extremely challenging, especially if you lack a support network or you’re not sure where to start. Thankfully, Grand Rapids has a very special place, Renew Mama Studio, where moms in all stages can find fitness, wellness, community, and education all in one spot!

Aboutrenew mama studio

After Amanda Holbert had her first baby, she realized there was a lack of fitness and wellness options in Grand Rapids for women learning how to navigate motherhood. Shortly after, she founded Renew Mama Studio to ignite a community where women can take a variety of fitness classes and also connect, grow and thrive. After over 6 years in business, the studio has amazingly become the place for all things mama.

renew mama studio

They offer pre and postnatal classes, workshops, wellness services, and an incredibly supportive community. Amanda is enthusiastic, welcoming, and extremely positive. She makes every effort to make you feel right at home. As soon as you walk in the door, the warm, calming environment puts you at ease. And there is so much to explore! Here’s a break down of the many programs offered at and what to expect:

Classesrenew mama studio

The variety of classes at Renew Mama is impressive. If you’re in the pregnancy stage, you’ll definitely want to experience Prenatal Yoga. It’s one of the most beneficial types of exercise a woman can do during pregnancy. Renew Mama’s class is specifically designed to challenge and bring peace to you during this special time – all while in a community with other expectant mothers. You’ll learn poses to help prepare the body for labor and to improve blood flow and oxygen to both mom and baby.

The Barre classes will lift, tone and engage muscles you forgot you had. Whether you’re a prenatal or postnatal mama, or just looking to rebuild your core, barre is perfect for everyone.

renew mama studio

Yoga Flow is both energizing and empowering! It focuses on building strength, releasing tension and calming the mind. You will leave feeling stronger, less stressed and re-energized. Prenatal and postnatal moms are also encouraged to attend Renew Mama’s Yoga Flow class.

Bring along your baby for a mom + baby yoga practice! Reconnect with all your prenatal yoga mama friends and practice yoga in a community of women who can support one another. This class is gentle and will support your new postpartum body.

You can also bring your baby along to Babywearing Barre! Lift, tone and engage muscles while using your little one as a counterweight. Bring a carrier or wrap or lay your baby down for tummy time.

renew mama studio

Pre-Tot Yoga is ideal for all of the Mom + Baby Yoga graduates. This class focuses on a combination of yoga, songs, play and sensory activities for your little one. Meet other mama friends while your little one works on their communication skills.

Kids yoga provides children ages 4-8 years an hour of imaginative yoga sequences, mindfulness, breathe work exercises, art activities, and a relaxing savasana. This is a great way to introduce kids to yoga and its many benefits!

renew mama studio

In family yoga, practice partner poses that strengthen relationships and muscles. Play yoga games and enjoy yoga-based activities with your family. Enjoy this special time with your child + partner while learning and growing together.

Wellnessrenew mama studio

We all know that being a mom is oh-so-stressful, so thank goodness Renew Mama also offers wellness options to help restore and relax your body. If you’re in need of a massage, they offer pre and postnatal for reduced swelling and easing discomfort. You can also opt for a deep tissue massage that works the deepest layers of the muscle and provides much-deserved relaxation.

Interested in chiropractic care? Dr. Theresa Osmer, Renew Mama’s onsite chiropractic and functional medicine physician, can adjust, use myofascial release, functional rehabilitation, and give nutritional advice.

Kids Classesrenew mama studio

If you need a break from the kiddos while enjoying a workout, then sign them up for one of Renew Mama’s awesome kids’ classes.  Preschool yoga provides 3-6 hour imaginative yoga sequences, mindfulness, breath work, exercises, and relaxing savasana.

Or if you have an aspiring dancer in the family, have them try the New Ballet Class. Dancers 3-7 learn the basics of ballet in a fun and creative 60-minute time-frame. They’ll learn basic ballet positions, traveling ballet steps, and even have time for free dance.

renew mama studio

Have your toddler get creative with a Renew Mama Art Class. In Toddler Art Class kiddos get to explore colors, tools, cause and effect, their senses and much more! They get messy and creative while experimenting with process-oriented art.

And, of course, Renew Mama offers child-care while you’re taking a class or if you need a break in the mama-lounge. The child-care room is spacious, clean, vibrant, and nurturing.

Mama Loungerenew mama studio

One of the most unique and integral parts of the Renew Mama Studio space is the Mama Lounge. If you need a place to work, mingle, network, or just take a nap, this is your spot. The decor is trendy, modern, and fun and there are so many perks. Enjoy wifi, coffee, tea, and surround yourself with mom bosses just like you! You definitely won’t want to leave and will feel so inspired by the creative community.

Events & Workshopsrenew mama studio

Renew Mama Studio is passionate about making sure you’re equipped to handle the challenges of parenting. From breastfeeding workshops to baby’s first foods, there are plenty of classes to help you understand the more complicated components of parenting. Here’s a link to upcoming classes and mama circles so you can share experiences, get sound advice, and find support in a safe and loving environment.

Contactrenew mama studio

If you’re longing for some mama friends and an amazing place to break a sweat + enhance your family, wellness, and lifestyle, then stop by Renew Mama Studio and see for yourself why so many women absolutely love it. Check out the website, class schedule, and variety of reasonable packages or just bring the kids along and give it a try.  It’s a wonderful community and truly a gem in Grand Rapids! 

Renew Mama Studio Website

Phone Number: (616) 425-9642

Instagram Page



During the winter months, I always seek out wellness services that help my body feel rejuvenated and more lively. Self-care is so important in the winter, especially given the shorter days, lack of sunlight, and frigid temps. I’m so glad I discovered Refresh Wellness and the variety of natural, holistic services they offer. The moment I step in the door, I immediately notice the calm and serene environment. The colors, decor, and music are relaxing and peaceful. Also, there’s a designated room for each service with plenty of privacy,  so you can easily zen out and enjoy time to yourself.


refresh wellness

The mission of Refresh Wellness is to inspire health awakening within everyone and to promote healing and preventative self-care practices. The team, Andrea and Michelle, are so welcoming and dedicated to helping you achieve and maintain your health goals. Andrea, the owner, recently took over Refresh Wellness and is originally from Grand Rapids. She’s passionate about natural healing modalities and incorporates many into her own life. If you’re hesitant about some of the services or not sure what to expect, Andrea and Michelle will walk you through everything and make you feel completely comfortable. Here’s a little more about each service offered and why they’re so beneficial.

Red Light Therapy

red light therapy

At first glance, you might think it’s a tanning bed, but there’s nothing harmful about getting your rehab on with red light therapy. The bulbs use low-level wavelengths to reach all layers of the skin, blood vessels, and lymph system. It has a therapeutic impact and helps to restore our cells. It also increases collagen production (yay for healthier, younger skin), helps with muscle recovery, weight loss, reduces inflammation, joint pain, and much more! If you need a boost during the winter, the red light reduces depression, fatigue, and SAD (Seasonal Depression Disorder).

red light therapy

After my first 20 minute session, I felt more energized and way less sore–it feels great after a hard workout. I try to schedule time every week in the red light bed. It gives a much needed mental boost and I love the therapeutic effects. Just laying in the bed feels heavenly and truly rejuvenating during the winter season.

Ionic Footbathswellness

Soaking your feet in a tub with plastic lining and an electronic gizmo may seem alarming,  but it’s completely safe and really detoxifying. Ionic foot baths energize the cells and organs by electrically charging the electromagnetic fields within the body so that they can carry out their function. Since our bodies are electric by nature, you can think of it as charging your batteries.

A few benefits of the Ionic footbath include improved circulation and lymph flow, balanced energy pathways, and increased energy levels. It also boosts immunity, improves quality of sleep, helps relieve migraines and headaches, and stimulates the body to detoxify chemicals and heavy metals.

ionic footbath

ionic footbath

During my footbath, it was fascinating to watch the tub turn colors according to the area of my body being detoxified. Mine was definitely a more brownish/black color, which means that I was mainly detoxifying the liver. It actually felt really relaxing and the little tingles of electricity were energizing and restorative. I loved all the plants in the room, the comfy chairs, and the salt crystals–the perfect ambiance for healing and relaxation.

Detox Mineral Wrap

detox mineral wrap

If you’ve ever wanted to give yourself a quick and efficient whole body detox, then you must try the Detox Mineral Wrap. Mineral wraps are great for shrinking fat cells, increasing circulation/cardiovascular function, lymphatic drainage, smoothing and tightening the skin, reducing cellulite, energizing, and detoxifying. Michelle, an experienced technician at Refresh Wellness, made me feel completely comfortable and was very thorough in explaining the process.

Mineral wraps work by compressing the body in soft, porous, wraps that are soaked in an all-natural mineral solution. The minerals infuse the body with an incredibly high-quality, absorbable form of minerals that help the body release toxins stored in fat tissue. They’re released through the skin by sweating while laying in a dome infrared sauna.

mineral wrap

Michelle initially took my measurements from my legs all the way to my chest. She wrote down about 15 total to compare the before and after of inches lost. Then she carefully wrapped me head to toe and poured the mineral solution over the wraps. I did not feel suffocated or uncomfortable; both the wraps and solution were warm and calming. I relaxed in the sauna for about 30 minutes and Michelle checked on me a few times to see how I was doing. You can easily fall asleep and it feels so good.

Afterward, she unwrapped me and documented my measurements again. I lost 8.5 inches total off my body and about 1 inch off my waist–I was truly amazed! This is not a temporary loss –you will see permanent results and you’re encouraged to schedule three mineral wraps for optimal results. Afterward, I felt lighter and the wrap had a noticeable, almost euphoric effect. Drink a ton of water and be sure to take it easy, as your body will be in detox mode for the next 24 hours.

Infrared Sauna Therapyinfrared sauna

There’s nothing better than resting in an infrared sauna and getting that sweaty glow. The sauna at Refresh Wellness feels like you’re at the spa and it’s super zen. After getting situated in my plush, comfy towel, I love cranking up the heat, zoning out, and just giving my body some much-needed self-care.

Infrared saunas can release 20% of toxins through sweat alone (like heavy metals and environmental stress)  compared to only 3% with traditional saunas. They also raise the core body temperature and penetrate several inches into the tissue. I usually book a session anywhere from 30-40 minutes and relish in the many benefits:

-Pain relief and inflammation
-Weight loss (can burn 600 calories per session)
-Skin purification (mine literally glows when I’m finished as has that healthy flush)
-Helps fight infection and improves immunity
-Improves circulation and cardiovascular function
-Relaxes and restores

You’ll love the lack of distractions and it’s seriously such a treat. Afterward, towel off, enjoy some lemon water and conquer the rest of your day with that post-sauna glow.

Upcoming Classes refresh wellness

Refresh Wellness also offers wellness events and classes to challenge and inspire you to prioritize self-care and natural healing. Here are some upcoming classes that you’ll definitely want to check out:

Weight Loss, Nutrition and the Psychology of Eating with Laura Burkett
Tuesday, January 29th, 6:30 pm

Join Refresh Wellness with Holistic Nutrition and Eating Psychology Counselor Laura Burkett for this one-hour community class for women. Explore a nutritional and psychological approach to body weight. You’ll learn the fascinating variables that impact body weight (many that you won’t often hear in a gym or a doctor’s office). We’ll draw on Laura’s 10 years of experience doing counseling and coaching work with women. Come to learn and feel inspired.

Sign up: Weight Loss, Nutrition, and The Psychology of Eating $15.00

Results Driven Natural Skin Care and Tech Tools
Thursday, February 7th, 6:30 pm

If you are passionate about keeping up-to-date on new and improved products and tools available for natural anti-aging skin care, then you do not want to miss this event! Join us for a fun evening with the fabulous Joy Pratt as we sip wine and sample results-driven, award-winning products and tech tools, including the LED facial mask, Instant Face Lift, Micro-Needling device, and the Transforming Eye Treatment.

Sign up: Results Driven Natural Skin Care and Tech Tools

I cannot emphasize enough how much I love Refresh Wellness and their amazing wellness service. If you haven’t stopped in, be sure to book your next appointment ASAP. 2019 is the year of self-care, and holistic + natural wellness is the best way to treat yourself. They offer several new client specials and packages that are reasonably priced and definitely worth your time. You can find all the information on the Refresh Wellness website or give them a call (616-430-2254) to schedule your 1st appointment!


Finding the right yoga studio can be tough to navigate. Some appreciate meditative, calming yoga, while others prefer sweltering heat. Fortunately, the yoga movement is thriving in Grand Rapids and there are plenty of fantastic studios where you can practice. Here are 16 tried-and-true list places with a brief description for each that will make it easier for you to find your flow!

Funky Buddha Yoga

yoga studios

Funky Buddha Yoga was the first hot yoga studio in Grand Rapids and has since become an institution in West Michigan. They offer hot yoga that is ridiculously fun, sweaty, and relevant to everyday life. This place is all about getting active: you will sweat, and you will work! The studio has a Bohemian-Esque vibe complete with an artistic chalkboard wall, strung lights, and lively color. Given the popularity, the classes are typically packed, so get there early. During the summer, they host free yoga in the park and stand up paddleboard yoga. You can find a Funky Buddha studio in Holland, Eastown, and Forest Hills.

AM Yoga

yoga studio

Through service, community, and love, AM Yoga’s mission is to help you discover who you are by removing what you aren’t. As their name says, AM is practicing the state of I AM – Sadhana (daily spiritual practice) + Satsang (sacred gathering) + Seva (selfless service). The 60-minute Vinyasa classes are the perfect balance of stretch and strength training. If you’re in need of a longer, deeper stretch, then try out Yin Vinyasa. Carve out time to meditate with classes like Meditation Vinyasa and New Moon Meditation. Spice up your routine & hit up one of their community classes at hot spots like the GRAM or Donkey Taqueria.

Yoga Fever

yoga studio

Yoga Fever combines the ancient science of yoga with contemporary warm and hot vinyasa yoga classes. The tastefully decorated studio has a spacious lobby and practice room. Their vigorous classes deliver exceptional results and continual advancement in a supported environment. You’ll have room during class to focus your energy and get stronger in each pose. The instructors really take the time to explain what your body should be doing. They also pay particular attention to the history and philosophy of yoga. Check out Yoga Fever for a yoga studio that is inclusive, diverse, creative, and positive!

Kula Yoga

yoga studio

Looking for a hip studio where everybody knows your name? Then Kula Yoga is the place to be. They aim to provide quality yoga instruction and it’s great for those on a budget. Kula is an inclusive, judgment-free zone. Yogis are encouraged to explore their practices under the guidance of knowledgeable and nurturing instructors. They offer different types of classes like Buti Yoga (awaken the chakras & power within!) as well as frequent workshops designed to enrich your knowledge, practice, and foundation of yoga. They recently moved to the heart of Eastown beautifully renovated home shared with Wanderluxe Beauty & Wellness Co. The new space is bright & airy, tastefully decorated, and totally zen!

Twisted Hot Yoga

yoga studio

If you want to turn up the heat, head over to Twisted Hot Yoga. Twisted’s classes are 99 degrees and 45% humidity, to be exact! Their Push and Chill classes are not heated, but there is residual heat, which keeps the room nice and warm. They also offer a super encouraging environment with friendly and positive instructors. Each teacher has a slightly different specialty, but all are knowledgeable and passionate about yoga. The studio is the perfect balance between not too big and not too small. BONUS: the cool lavender towels at the end of class are HEAVENLY. Check out one of their locations at Knapp’s Corner or  Caledonia.

Grand Rapids Healing Yoga

yoga studio

If you’ve experienced trauma or want to use yoga as therapy, then Grand Rapids Healing Yoga is the place for you. They offer group yoga and private practice for transformation and empowerment. Instructors encourage self-care, learning to befriend the body, and connection to the present moment. All teachers strive to protect students from physical, emotional, and psychological harm. The instructors are carefully trained and follow a complete code of ethics. Be empowered in your body, mind, and spirit.

From the Heart Yoga & Tai Chi Center

yoga studio

This studio is guaranteed to give you a fun, challenging, and potentially eye-opening workout for both your body and heart. Founded by Behnje Masson and Rick Powel in 19971, From the Heart was one of the first studios opened in Grand Rapids. The expert instructors attract multiple internationally known teachers every year. The alignment-based principles will make you stronger, more flexible, and empowered. From the Heart is a beautiful and serene space with a welcoming atmosphere. They offer explicit instruction, a great workout, and time to get focused and relaxed. You will also learn yoga in a way that prevents injury.

The Yoga Studio

yoga studio

Practicing since 1979, the Yoga Studio is Grand Rapid’s first yoga studio.  Instructors are trained in the Iyengar system of hatha yoga. They focus on precise alignment and use props (blocks, straps, bolsters, blankets, the wall), so there is less risk of injury. Teachers of Iyengar Yoga are held to a high standard of knowledge that is rigorously maintained through ongoing study. The Iyengar philosophy connects both the body and mind through its holistic approach. Class sizes are small, so each student receives individual attention and guidance. The Yoga Studio will encourage your pursuit of self ­knowledge while providing a well-rounded practice.

Lotus Jo’s Yoga

yoga studios

Lotus Jo’s recenently opened and is so adorable–it feels more like home than a yoga studio. It’s community-oriented & will meet you wherever you’re at in life. Their rates are SUPER affordable & they offer great drop in prices too.  Love the free CBD restorative yoga class and the essential oils + heavenly aromas.  The zen vibe radiates the moment you walk in the door and it’s beyond cozy (complete w/blankets & tons of props). Go check it out – it’s perfect for all-levels and you won’t be intimidated.

PeaceLab Yoga

yoga studio

The Mission of PeaceLab Yoga is to create a warm, inviting yoga community where yogis of all experience levels can come together to share in the Art and Science of Yoga. They aim to empower each student on their path towards wellbeing, growth, and personal fulfillment. PeaceLab Yoga strives to offer the highest quality yoga programs in a serious, yet playful, environment. They accept you as you are and know when to challenge what you thought you couldn’t do. PeaceLab will also help you slow down and deepen your practice, work on peak poses, and learn about the elements of yoga history and philosophy. Peacelab is located in Grandville!

Yoga Blue Studio

yoga studio

This hot yoga studio’s admirable mission is to support the police, fire, medical professionals, their families, and the communities they serve. Yoga Blue offers a counterbalance to high-intensity, high adrenaline work days through breath and mindfulness. A unique feature is that they provide Broga, yoga for men, which combines core-strengthening, muscle-toning, cardio-working, stress-reducing, clarity-enhancing yoga postures with functional fitness exercises. Love the cause & mission of this awesome studio!

Renew Mama Studio

With a niche focus on motherhood, Renew Mama Studio provides a variety of yoga classes, services, and resources to both prenatal and postnatal mothers. Their classes are taught by instructors who are specifically trained in this area. They also aid in the physical and emotional demands of labor, birth, and motherhood. Come in for a little “me time” or bring your baby for a great bonding experience. Renew Mama Studio is hyperfocused on building community and supporting women during their motherhood transition. BONUS: They also offer child care and a calming lounge where moms can decompress, get some work done, or find some much needed rejuvenation.

Seva Yoga

yoga studio

Seva Yoga in East Grand Rapids offers a variety of classes that can be physically challenging or more calming and meditative. The teachers, atmosphere, and culture of Seva are all-inclusive and nurturing. The studio has a lively energy, like-minded people, and fun music! It’s a wonderful space for a breath-based, soulful practice. Great teachers, community, and the studio itself is beautiful and relaxing. No matter your style, no matter your experience level, there is a class for you.

The Yoga Zen

yoga studio

If you’re looking for a yoga studio in the heart of Caledonia, then bee-line over to The Yoga Zen. This newer studio is an inclusive space for all ages, abilities, and backgrounds to learn and practice yoga. With over 7 different classes to choose from, including power vinyasa, you won’t be lacking options. They even offer kids, adult, and adapted yoga classes to accomodate physical limitations. BONUS: They actually have a Zen-Den. Schedule a  massage or body work with Reiki or AromaTouch where you can truly unwind, breathe, and relax.

Expressions of Grace & Cascade Yoga Studio

yoga studio

At Expression of Grace & Cascade Yoga Studio, the teachers work from their heart. Each class offers a different kind of practice and they’re all beneficial. Some of their unique classes include theraputics (for specific injuries), yoga for women over 50, and martial arts / self defense. The relaxed environment, positive vibes, and special classes (yoga with live music or meditation) all make this studio worth checking out. They also offer thai body work, massage, & energy therapy!

Iyengar Yoga Center of Grand Rapids

Iyengar Yoga Center

Iyengar yoga develops strength, endurance, and optimal body alignment, in addition to flexibility and relaxation. The Iyengar method also focuses on self-awareness, intelligent evaluation, and profound inward reflection. All classes at the Iyengar Yoga Center are taught by experienced, dedicated, and rigorously trained Certified Iyengar Yoga Teachers (CIYT). The Iyengar Yoga Center has a beautiful new facility and the classes will leave you feeling refreshed and energized.


If you’re on the hunt for the fitness fanatic, natural beauty guru, or wellness warrior in your life, this gift guide is for you! I’ve listed some of my favorites (both online and local) that will leave whoever’s on the receiving end with an elated smile. Or, treat yo’ self and add to your holiday cart. You’ll love the quality and uniqueness of everything listed. Happy shopping!

Beyond Yoga

holiday gift guide

These have literally been my favorite purchase this year. I own two pairs and they are so soft, high-quality, flattering, and versatile. I love that you can wear them for a lower impact class (yoga or barre) or even when you’re simply out and about. The material feels buttery soft and they’re just stretchy enough where you don’t feel suffocated. On the Beyond Yoga website, there are tons of options. The Spacedye Take Me Higher Long Legging is my fav pair and go with pretty much everything. I also have my eye on Plush Side Pocket High Waisted Long Legging (hello pockets!) and the Velvet Motion High Waisted Midi Legging –can you really go wrong with soft velvet leggings!? BONUS: Beyond Yoga has incredible company values that I really appreciate. They promote inclusivity by never retouching the shape of a woman’s body. Their sizes range of sizes from XXS to 3X. Two-thumbs up in my book!

To & Fro Activewear

holiday gift guide

Image via @tofroshop | Instagram

If you’re looking for a store that has it all, To & Fro Shop in Ada is your spot. They have SO much to choose from and you can pretty much gift anything you find. Think candles, water bottles, cute gym bags, leggings, jackets, hats–you name it! You’ll find plenty of stocking stuffers and quality merch for the busy woman on the go. To & Fro is a local store owned by military Veteran Carrie Papke. She has impeccable taste and is passionate about clothing that will help you love YOURSELF. They hand-select all of their clothing and carry over 18 luxury brands. They recently decorated for the holidays and the space is just beautiful. It will definitely put you in the holiday spirit. I own serveral pieces from To & Fro and wear them all the time. The quality, attention to detail, and style is on point. BONUS: They gift wrap too!

Simply Curated Candles

holiday gift guide

Image via @simplycurated | Instagram

The first thing I do when I’m ready to cozy up, plug away at some work, or just relax at home is light a candle. They are so therapeutic and make the perfect gift. I recently discovered Simply Curated Candles I’m obsessed with this company. First, they’re local (all candles are hand-poured in Grand Rapids) and are made with natural fragrances and essential oils.  They are also phthalate free & 100% soy. The candles themselves are beautiful–love the modern look and brass aesthetics. The comforting smell of Vanilla Lavender is my personal fav (I’m a sucker for anything vanilla) and burns up to 60 hours. They also have the cutest travel candles that are great for stocking stuffers. You can shop these lovely candles online or at Posh Petals, Jean Stoffer Design, Blackbird East or Schuler Books in Grand Rapids.

Fox Naturals

holiday gift guide

Image via @fox_naturals | Instagram

Holla if you’re a natural beauty babe! This is spot is not only adorable + local, but they ONLY carry holistic, healthy skin care products. Fox Naturals is committed to both quality and ethical standards. Their ingredients are vegan-friendly, use natural preservatives, and are listed on their website–no secrets or toxins! If you haven’t stopped by this adorable shop off Wealthy St yet, you’re in for a treat. Patrick (the owner) is beyond helpful, offers stellar skincare advice, and will guide you in the right the direction. Each product smells heavenly, feels fresh, and tailors to a variety of skin types. I’m hooked on the Rose Gold Facial Serum and the Charcoal Face Mask is divine. You can shop online or stop in–either way, you’ll easily find the perfect gift for the beauty guru or skincare junkie. BONUS: As we all know, skin care products can get REAL pricey. Fox Naturals is reasonably priced and you can find several items for under $30 (or shop their sets for even more of a discount)!

Amazon Teddy Coat

holiday gift guide

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, I’m sure you’re well aware that teddy jackets are pretty much the best trend ever. They’re incredibly soft and perfect for quick trips to yoga, girls night, brunch, a low key date, or even bundling up on the couch. I don’t recommend if you plan to spend extended time in frigid temps-they aren’t meant for shoveling the snow. But they are super convenient for running errands, etc. I found mine on Amazon and love it. The coat is longer and covers the bum (which I prefer), looks great with a cute scarf, and extra shaggy. I ordered in black (my go-to color), size medium (i’m usually a small but wanted a lil extra room) and it looks fab! Gift this teddy coat for someone who appreciates comfort and style–it’s only $50 and better quality than other options out there.

Hanky Panky BARE

holiday gift guide

These make for the best stocking stuffers and they’re pretty much miraculous. Anyone who gets super annoyed with having to constantly maneuver their underwear during a workout class (or in general) will LOVE the comfort and quality of this brand. I describe their thongs as ‘lace butter’ and they’re so beautiful. Scoop up a few pairs at To & Fro Activewear (they have a variety to choose from) or online–promise you’ll never go back.

Sorel Boots

holiday gift guide

I’ve had a few pairs of Sorrel boots over the years and love the quality, comfort, and style. Since I have a very active dog, I go on a ton of walks in the chillier temps and need boots that won’t leave my feet feeling cramped or cold. I do have a heavier pair for skiing or snowy trail hikes, but lately, I’ve been loving the Slimpack Lace Boot in black/kettle. They go with everything, are easy to take on and off, super warm, and great for brisk walks or running errands. I love wearing them with leggings and cute socks. If someone has a pair of boots on their list, then I highly recommend the Slimpack Lace by Sorel. Oh, and be sure to size up! I normally wear an 8-8.5 and ordered a 9.

Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 35

holiday gift guide

I was way overdue for a new pair of sneaks and recently ordered this pair (well, a few) from Nike and these are my new go-to. They’re made for running, so expect a little bounce with the perfect amount of cushion. I have a higher arch and they conform really well to my foot. I love the rosé color (I’m a sucker for everything rosé ) and overall comfort and quality. I’ve owned many, many pairs of sneaks over the years (I’m an avid runner and always looking to upgrade), and these are definitely in my top 3. They’re worth every penny and make me look forward to a jog or longer walk.

River Locks Pom Beanie

holiday gift guide

Stay cozy warm with this chunky knit beanie with a cute plush pompom from Free People. I love the black and white mix to spice things up. Most of my winter gear is black (surprise, surprise) so it goes well with everything.  The coral option is also adorable and would look great skiing or if you want to add a pop of color. I wear this beanie whenever it’s chilly and I’ve gotten so many compliments. This would def make for a perfect gift!

321 STRONG Foam Roller

Holiday Gift Guide

After a really tough work out or if I’m feeling extra sore, I foam roll. I’ve used a variety of foam rollers, but I really love the  unique massage zones of the 321 STRONG. It replicates the thumbs, fingers, and palms so you can get the exact massage you’re looking for. This would be an awesome gift for an athlete or for somone who just needs some extra theraputic benefits. Foam rolling is great for decreased recovery time from injuries, deep tissue massage, increasing mobility, healing damaged soft tissue, and reducing pain and soreness. I ordered this one in gray off amazon and highly recommend!

GR Natural Health

holiday gift guide

If you haven’t checked out my recent blog post about GR Natural Health, then read it over stat. They offer a variety of holistic health and beauty services including acupuncture, light therapy, health coaching, massage, organic facials, and even energy healing. Their team of holistic health practitioners and estheticians are incredible and I always feel amazing after stopping in for one of their services. They’re offering an awesome special for the holidays–purchase a $100 gift card for only $80. Treat that special someone to some much-needed self-care and rejuvenation. Or check out their online store of natural skin care and organic makeup products–they carry a variety of options with only the highest quality, organic ingredients.

I hope this helps with your holiday shopping and maybe you even found something you want to try out for yourself. Enjoy and happy holidays!












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. To help keep you motivated, here are some of my fav fitness studios in Grand Rapids that focus on sustainable change, serious sweat, and building a community of fitness fanatics that will keep you coming back for more!

4G Athletic


4G Athletic combines the best parts of any kind of fitness facility you can think of to create a one-of-a-kind space that’s revolutionizing boutique fitness. The atmosphere is modern and cool looking, with sleek designs and a very clean interior.  Unlike many boutique fitness studios that focus on one form of exercise, 4G stands for four fitness groups: MOVE, BIKE, FLOW, & LIFT.  With a variety of options to choose from on a daily basis, you’ll never get bored. Each workout is structured within a 45-minute format and has its own custom space. The yoga is room is absolutely beautiful, the bikes are state of the art, and they offer a variety of equipment for their HIIT workouts.

Allegro Coaching

fitness 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 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 Kickboxing

fitness studio

Located in Kentwood and Knapps Corner, 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 Fitness

fitness studio

F45 Fitness 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 Fitness

fitness studio

FLEXcity Fitness 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 Fitness

fitness studio

Located in Kentwood, Knapps Corner, and Holland, 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 Grand Rapids 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

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 Clubs

fitness studio

If you want big-time variety and amazing amenities, MVP Sports Clubs is your place! Offering over 400 complimentary group fitness classes each month, MVP 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 CrossFit

fitness 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.

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

fitness studio

Located on Monroe right downtown 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.

Armentality Movement Arts Center

fitness 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 these sweat-worthy fitness studios 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!









Get to the heart of your healing journey, the natural way–that’s the idea behind GR Natural Health. A natural health center that focuses on patient-centered care, GR Natural Health does it all, really. Over the years, they have developed a collaborative team of practitioners who inspire their clients to restore all areas of wellness: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. I’ve visited these practitioners for a number of reasons, and can honestly say that everyone here is just amazing.

About GR Natural Healthnatural health

GR Natural Health is the only business in Grand Rapids that combines integrative health care with naturopathic medical professionals and natural healing methods such as acupuncture, health coaching, and energy therapy.

Practice Director & CEO: Kelly Peterson

natural health center

Kelly Peterson opened GR Natural Health inside a chiropractic office in 2012 after completing her doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine. Since then, the practice has moved to the west side of downtown. Her team of integrative practitioners and services and continues to grow. Over the years, Kelly has cultivated an environment that appeals to anyone seeking holistic wellness, clean beauty, spa services, and natural remedies.

What to Expect

natural health center

During my first visit, I instantly noticed the bright, clean, and relaxing ambiance. Plenty of windows and natural light create a beautiful environment that’s ideal for anyone’s health and wellness journey. The front desk staff is friendly, helpful, and make you feel right at home. Need extra guidance choosing a service or want to get to know a staff member? They offer complimentary 15-minute meet and greet consultations to get you on the right track.

natural health center

Ok. Let’s get a couple wonderings out of the way.

Acupuncture? Energy healing? Sounds a little woo-woo, I get it.

But, give it a try. I did. Stephen Durell, a National Board Certified acupuncturist who works out of GR Natural Health one day a week, treats a wide range of conditions.  After just one session with him, I felt totally refreshed, euphoric, and less achy. It was a serious difference and totally worth the investment.

natural health

I also had the pleasure of getting to know Chris Wheeler, an energy touch practitioner/ CranioSacral Therapist, and had an incredible experience. Her passion for showing people how the body can naturally heal itself was evident during my time with her.

natural health

By incorporating breath, spiritual guidance, guided meditation, and intention, she helps people recover from trauma, pain, and even disease. She has extraordinary testimonials from clients who have been healed through her spiritual energy work and the results are impressive.

Integrative Health Carenatural health

More and more people are realizing the importance of preventative and natural medicine. Being prescribed prescription medications without a long-term solution doesn’t fully treat the problem. GR Natural Health utilizes a medical director, David Johnson MD, and a team of naturopathic doctors to provide both conventional and alternative therapies. Naturopathic medicine decreases the need for medical interventions by improving your well-being, preventing disease, and enhancing your overall health.

natural health

Each doctor incorporates Integrative medicine, a healing-oriented practice that takes into account the whole person (body, mind, and spirit). Natural therapies include nutrition, exercise, stress/relaxation, herbal medicines, dietary supplements, and functional lab testing. Rest assured that you’ll not only receive sound medical advice but also additional support to enhance all areas of your life. 

Light Therapy

natural health center

LED Light Therapy offers serious benefits for the body, mind, and skin. LED stands for Light Emitting Diode.  It sends low level light energy into the deepest layers of the skin, which stimulates multiple functions of repair and regeneration depending on the color of the light used.  Each light produces chemical reactions throughout damaged blood and nerve cells, which enables healing and relieves pain. If you’re dealing with common concerns such as inflammation, slow healing wounds, depression, stress, or even fine lines and wrinkles, give LED Light Therapy a try!  It’s a safe, noninvasive, procedure to help your body heal itself naturally.

Health Coachingnatural health

Every staff member at GR Natural Health is invested in your health and wellness. For example, Andrea Hop, certified health coach, is passionate about making knowledgeable food choices and focused on improving all aspects of wellness. She really gets to the root of your nutritional needs and guides you through a comprehensive evaluation that determines how to take more control of your health through food, mental clarity, and daily routines/ habits.  She’s personable, educated, and empowers you to build healthier habits.

Holistic Spa Servicesnatural health

Claudia Ellenberger, the massage therapist, is phenomenal, and uses hot stones and cupping to help alleviate stress and tension. If you haven’t tried cupping, you must! It’s invigorating, therapeutic, and helps improve circulation. I’ve also been treated to many facials by their phenomenal team of Estheticians and holistic skin care specialists.

natural health

After months of treatment, I can say with confidence that they genuinely address your skin care needs, help you choose products that are most beneficial, and personalize each and every facial. GR Natural Health is committed to using organic, toxic-free products. The pumpkin and dark chocolate seasonal masks are heavenly. You can literally eat them, that’s how clean they are. Want to make your eyes really pop? They just added brow, lash, and waxing services.

natural health center

Treat yourself to a spa package for ultimate pampering and rejuvenation. If you need to restock, you can also purchase select skincare and makeup products via the GR Natural Health online store. I’ve used several from each line and LOVE the results. BONUS: They smell amazing and FEEL incredible. 

Plan a Visitnatural health center

GR Natural Health hosts fun and informative community events once a month including panel discussions that dive into healthcare concerns and trends. We especially loved the panel about cleansing and the many ways we can detox and give our bodies a break. Need a girl’s night out!? Stop by for their next beauty and spa event complete with appetizers, samples of skincare products, and mini facials!

Get Connectednatural health center

Want to schedule an appointment or learn more about the comprehensive services at GR Natural Health? Check out their integrative health blog or website, where staff regularly address a range of trending healthcare issues and controversial concerns. Schedule an appointment online or contact them anytime with questions. Oh! And you have to follow GR Natural Health on Instagram – they are all over it!

About the Author

Marjorie Behm founded GR Healthy Living in 2017 and has lived in Grand Rapids since 2006. She’s passionate about supporting local businesses that are positively impacting the community. She graduated from Hope College, has a Masters in Education, and loves anything health, wellness, and fitness related. When she’s not creating awesome content for GR Healthy Living, you can typically find her jogging Oscar the Weim (her sweet fur baby), exploring new trails on her road bike, planning travel adventures, and hanging with her friends and family.


With 111 parks, scenic sites, and recreation areas, Michigan boasts the largest state park system in America. Recreation culture runs strong in the Wolverine State, and Michigan’s numerous public lands are certainly reflective of how much we value our natural assets. From the Saharan sand dunes of Silver Lake to the rugged profiles of the Porcupine Mountains, Michigan’s state parks feature a diverse array of natural beauty. It’s an ambitious endeavor to visit them all, but you can get a pretty good scope of the state parks within a one-hour radius of Grand Rapids. Check these out:   

White Pine Trail State Parkstate parks

Image via | Instagram

Grand Rapids’ closest state park starts right here in the city! White Pine Trail State Park is one of several “linear” state parks across the Mitten. Whether you bike a mile through Riverside Park, or the full 184-mile round-trip to Cadillac, the White Pine Trail is sure to make for a satisfying experience. Experience a slice of small-town Americana and Northern Michigan charm—it all starts in downtown GR!

Bass River State Recreation Areastate parks

Image via @court.e.allen | Instagram

At the Bass River-Grand River confluence lies a true hidden gem: 1,665 acres of hidden bayous, pristine lakes, and winding trails. Mountain bike single-tracks lace the woods near the western entrance. Canoers, kayakers, and paddleboarders can choose a slow float, winding creek, or open water on which to paddle. Equestrian trails venture into the seldom-traversed heart of the park. When you’re done adventuring, cool off at one of the many rope swings on Max Lake.

Yankee Springs State Recreation Areastate parks

Image via @adventures_0f_ktod | Instagram

The hilly terrain of Yankee Springs state parks is a haven for backpackers, boaters, and bikers. Hikers on the 4,600-mile North Country Trail often stop overnight at Deep Lake, while Gun Lake hosts countless kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, and sailboats daily. If you’re a mountain biker, test your skills at the annual Lord of the Springs event on 38 miles of glorious singletrack!

Ionia State Recreation Areastate parks

Image via @lindastouffer1 | Instagram

Most GR-Lansing commuters barely regard the Ionia exit on I-96, and that’s too bad. This charming small town on the Grand River is home to one of the most versatile state parks around. Fall is the perfect time in Ionia to pitch a tent or rent a mini-cabin! Hike the trails around Sessions Lake, or bike into town on the Grand River Valley Trail. In the winter, Ionia keeps the trails well maintained for cross-country skiers and snowshoers.

Hoffmaster State Parkstate parks

Image via @natalie_winter | Instagram

A 38-minute drive from downtown is all it takes to reach the golden sand beaches of Hoffmaster State Park. With its myriad of trails and dunes, it’s no wonder many locals call Hoffmaster one of their favorite Lake Michigan state parks. Hoffmaster is adjacent to Ottawa County Parks’ North Ottawa Dunes, so there’s always plenty of trails for hikers, skiers, and snowshoers to explore!

Saugatuck Dunes State Parkstate parks

Believe it or not, Saugatuck Dunes is actually a shorter drive than the beaches of Holland. And if you prefer to avoid the beach crowds, it’s a better option anyway. Miles of trails cut paths through the dunes, all leading out to a vast expanse of completely undeveloped Lake Michigan shoreline. If “long walks on the beach” is your thing, Saugatuck Dunes is your place.

Grand Haven State Parkstate parks

Image via @daisy.roux.mitten | Instagram

If one state park could be picked out of the line-up as the most quintessentially ‘Michigan,’ it’d be Grand Haven. You can’t beat those rosy sunsets at the pier, kite surfers bobbing on the waves, the smell of campfire smoke wafting over the beach… this is what being a Michigander is all about.

Holland State Parkstate parks

Speaking of iconic Michigan moments, taking in a sunset behind Holland’s “Big Red” lighthouse is definitely near the top. But there’s more to Holland State Park than the beach. Climb the steps to the top of Mt. Pisgah, rent a paddleboard on Lake Macatawa, or have a campfire and spend the night. Holland has a campground right on the beach, and another tucked back in the woods to suit all sorts of camping styles.

Newaygo State Parkstate parks

Image via @jesuz_28 | Instagram

“Up North” is a special phrase to Michiganders. It conjures images of towering pine forests, quiet lakes, and sweeping dune vistas. It’s the vacation capital of the Midwest. Just about any given Friday, there’s a long line of vehicles headed up 131, and for a good reason. The traffic usually disperses past Rockford, but you don’t have to go much further than that to experience one of the gateways to the north. Newaygo State Park is just 44 minutes from downtown, and it has all the Northern Michigan comforts you need to unwind from a week of fast-paced city life. A rustic campground on the shores of Hardy Dam Pond, lofty vantage points to take in a good sunrise, and thousands of acres of Manistee National Forest land all around you.

Muskegon State Parkstate parks

Image via @lllizzie | Instagram

If chilly weather doesn’t stop you from taking the tent or RV out for a weekend, head to Muskegon State Park. The campground is open year-round and sees few visitors in the offseason. If you’ve ever wanted a beachside campground all to yourself, you can make that happen here!

Across the street is where the party’s at. Just as camping and hiking season starts to wind down in Muskegon, winter sports are ramping up. The Muskegon Winter Sports Complex is one of the park’s best assets, complete with a luge track, hockey rinks, and trails for cross-country skiers, snowshoers, fat-tire mountain bikers, and even ice skaters. Yes, you can ice skate on a trail through the woods at Muskegon State Park! If you still need some coaxing on the merits of going outside in the winter, Muskegon will change your whole outlook on the season.

Duck Lake State Parkstate parks

Image via @steffyjoelle1 | Instagram

Another park just above that invisible “Up North” demarcation line, Duck Lake is a great place to see fall colors on the lakeshore. With acres of forests, undeveloped lakeshores, and one of the best beach views on Lake Michigan, Duck Lake State Park is sure to take your breath away.  

Kal-Haven Trail State Parkstate parks

Image via @theemilyforce | Instagram

For 33 miles, the Kal-Haven Trail cuts through orchards, blueberry patches, vineyards, and small towns along this former railroad corridor. As the name implies, you can find trailheads at Kalamazoo and South Haven, as well as at numerous villages along its route. Make sure you go through the covered bridge over the South Branch Black River!

Van Buren Trail State Parkstate parks

Image via @travis-worden | Instagram

Between the Kal-Haven Trail and the Van Buren Trail, South Haven is becoming somewhat of a biking hub of the state parks. This 14-mile linear state park heads through more vineyard-and-blueberry country on a southeast beeline toward Hartford. With fall colors peaking soon, it makes for a perfect day trip or out-and-back ride.

Van Buren State Parkstate parks

Image via @julie_lynn_rmz | Instagram

According to Google maps, Van Buren State Park is exactly 59 minutes from the corner of Fulton and Division. So if any of your go-to adventure pals are sticklers on the “one hour or less” rule, Van Buren is still in the cards. It’s worth the drive to see the towering dunes, the lofty overlooks, and the wooded trails. A paved spur trail connects the state park with the Van Buren Trail as it heads toward South Haven, making it easy to head into town for food, drinks, and things to do.

About the Author

Nick Meekhof  graduated from Calvin College with a major in writing and a minor in geography. A farmer for the first twenty-three years of his life, Nick currently works for the Michigan Department of Agriculture. When he’s not traversing the state conducting orchard inspections, he can be found exploring the rivers, forests, and small towns all throughout the Great Lakes State. His current goals include kayaking one hundred Michigan rivers, swimming in Lake Michigan during every month of the year, and visiting as many Michigan breweries as possible.Follow Nick’s adventures on Instagram: @puremichiganguy



You know the drill, it’s lunchtime and you’re starving. Maybe you forgot your lunch at home or maybe you just need to get outside a bit. Regardless, you’re on the hunt for a healthy lunch spot that doesn’t break the bank or enlarge your waistline. Luckily, Grand Rapids has a ton of healthy lunch locations that are both lovely and healthy. Here are my top choices for a lunch date or when I’m on the go:

The Sovengardlunch Grand Rapids

Photo via @thesovengard | Instagram

If you’re on the West Side and looking for a healthy lunch meal, The Sovengard is your place. They serve up locally sourced, seasonal fare that’s truly farm-to-table. Expect a delicious meal and a trendy, cozy atmosphere each and every visit. During the warmer months, enjoy their seasonal patio and Biergarten. You can’t go wrong with a lunch break paired with Bocce ball & incredible food.

Clean Juicelunch Grand Rapids

Photo via @ashleyesugg | Instagram

Located in Gaslight Village, Clean Juice serves 100% organic juices, smoothies and more. Enjoy a post-workout smoothie or acai bowl made with immune-boosting superfoods. If you’re a little hungrier, they also have toast, bites, and the Heart Healthy Smoothie is so filling. You’ll love the bright atmosphere and smoothie bar. There’s something for everyone!

The Green Welllunch Grand Rapids

Photo via @thegreenwell | Instagram

A local favorite day and night, The Green Well stacks its menu with a variety of healthy options. Think warm kale salad, smashed brussels sprouts or quinoa falafel wrap. They have an adorable patio that’s perfect for some fresh air during a much-needed lunch break and many unique, flavorful dishes. Enough said.

Wikiwiki Poke Shoplunch Grand Rapids

If you’re on Wealthy Street during lunch hour and craving a fishy fix, head to Wikiwiki Poke Shop. Their poke bowls are packed with protein and pure deliciousness. The sauces, flavors, and portions are perfect for a lunch on the go or you can relax in their casual, modern space. The O.G. and Gucchi Sushi are our go-to dish & if you’re looking for something really tasty and unique, try the Bowl’d Up.

Freshiilunch Grand Rapids

Photo via @freshii | Instagram

Located in Knapps Corner and Monroe Center, Freshii is one of the first restaurants to make kale and quinoa convenient for everyone. Turmeric juices, energy bites and grain bowls only skim the surface. They offer 7 different menu categories – bowls, burritos, salads, wraps, soups, smoothies & juices – and each one is full of innovation. We especially appreciate that they’re environmentally friendly and the variety of vegan/ vegetarian options.

CoreLife Eaterylunch Grand Rapids

Believe in the power of eating well with CoreLife Eatery. Food is viewed as a true energy source here. Enjoy green bowls, grain bowls, and broth bowls–always filling and always healthy. All of their ingredients are free of GMO’s, trans fats, artificial colors, sweeteners, and other artificial additives. That’s a huge high-five in my book.

Fruition Acai & Juice Bar

lunch Grand Rapids

Fruition Acai & Juice Bar is a super cute establishment serving fast healthy food for Grand Rapids folks. Choose from Acai bowls, juices, wraps, bagels, & toast. They even offer the original ‘I’ll-avo-bowl’–an avocado smashed base with your choice of toppings.  You’ll be obliged to snap a photo with Insta worthy ‘Acai You Baby’ neon sign. I also suggest their best-selling item, the fruition bowl!

Terra GRhealthy lunch Grand Rapids

Photo via @andi_fisher | Instagram

Terra GR serves up fresh woodfired pizzas, sustainable seafood, soups, salads and more. You can always count on Terra for a meal that’s not only filling but super delicious and guilt-free. The staff is top notch and they go out of their way to accommodate your dietary needs. Rest assured that their food is always served sustainably with a focus on local, healthy ingredients. The atmosphere is super cozy, dimly lit, and perfect for a relaxing lunch.

Local Salad & Deli Barslunch Grand Rapids

Photo via @ubcfoodie | Instagram

If you’re in a hurry or need a few grocery items in addition to lunch, check out the deli bar at Horrocks or Fresh Thyme. Both are stacked with amazing lunch options that are entirely customizable. They offer a variety of soups, every kind of salad topping imaginable, and even custom-made sandwiches. Grab a kombucha or some trail mix if you need to hit the road, and you’ll be all set.

Irie Kitchenlunch Grand Rapids

Photo via | Instagram

You can’t go wrong grabbing lunch at a spot infused with rhythmic Island music and positive vibes. Caribbean flavor and ethnic street food with a healthy twist, that’s Irie Kitchen. Try an Irie Box with Jerk Chicken, Rice, and Veggies – it’s the best! If you’re going the vegan/ vegetarian route, the vegan sampler with jerk tofu, curry garbanzo beans, and Irie shrooms is both filling plus oh-so-satisfying. The owners are intent on serving healthy, local options, and genuinely care about sustainability and quality of the food. Expect a plate full of healthy, organic, non-GMO food every time.

Bliss & Vinegarhealthy lunch Grand Rapids

Find fresh food, chopped salads and healthy cuisine at Bliss & Vinegar. (I love the name!) It’s a quick service, healthy option in the Forest Hills area. And their dressings are to die for. Not only can you pile your salads with a variety of tasty, healthy toppings, but they have soup with focaccia bread, warm bowls with a quinoa blend, and wraps. Need a healthy snack to go? Stash a few of their homemade protein bars in your car and you won’t be reaching for any junk food.

Sip Organic Juice Barhealthy lunch Grand Rapids

Photo via @bringoutyourbliss | Instagram

Nestled directly next to Bliss & Vinegar, find your juice fix at Sip Organic Juice Bar. This place was made for health and wellness fanatics. Not only do they use the highest quality, most sustainable ingredients, but they offer a variety of menu options that are packed with nutritional value. Think elixers (try HELP! for an anti-inflammatory cocktail), juices, smoothies, acai bowls, and sustainable meal replacements. The Jenergy bar compliments any smoothie and you can also scoop up lettuce wraps or infused water. For a complete reset, try their 3-day and 5-day raw food detox plans.

Grain Sandwich Shop

healthy lunch Grand Rapids

At Grain Sandwhich Shop, you’ll find traditional, staple lunch options with a healthy twist.  They only use the freshest local ingredients from local farms and meat shops (they even list the vendors on their website).  Try the That’s My Yam or Veg Head to get your vegetarian fix or the Chicken Salad to fill your sandwich craving. Need catering for your office or event? They have reasonably priced catering options and even offer bagged lunches.

There are my top lunch spots for a satisfying and delicious midday meal in Grand Rapids. Have I missed anything? Let me know in the comments! And be sure follow GR Healthy Living on Instagram for the latest health-related news and updates.



You may have heard about Michigan’s reputation as one of the top apple producing states in the country. But did you know that most of those apple orchards are concentrated just outside of Grand Rapids? Known locally as “the Ridge,” this agricultural mecca northwest of GR is home to dozens of orchards, where apples are grown by the billions. Take a drive up Fruit Ridge Avenue this fall, or better yet, get in on the action with eight great u-pick apple orchards!

Schwallier’s Country Basket

grand rapids apple orchards

Image via @creagekt  | Instagram

Conveniently located at the corner of 9 Mile and M37, Schwallier’s Country Basket offers all sorts of local produce grown minutes away. Schwallier’s grows fifteen different varieties of apples. Check out their Facebook page for the most recent information on U-Pick hours.

Ed Dunneback & Girls Farm Marketgrand rapids apple orchard

Image via @leannaalynn | Instagram

Look for the bright pink John Deere tractor; you can’t miss Ed Dunneback & Girls Farm Market. These “farm lovin’ females” know how to host a fun afternoon! In addition to the U-Pick apple orchards, Dunneback & Girls also have a corn maze, bakery, and gift shop on site. When you’re finished picking, treat yourself to a homemade caramel apple shake on the deck and enjoy those farm views!

Steffens Orchard Marketgrand rapids apple orchards

Image via @nataliegswanson | Instagram

Another great option on the Ridge is Steffens Orchard Market. Steffens will get you outfitted with wagons, bags, and baskets, and point you in the right direction. The hardest part will be deciding which of their ten delicious apple varieties to take home! An excellent option for those with kids, Steffens also has a swing set, wooden tractor, and a free moon bounce on the weekends.

Fruit Ridge Hayridesgrand rapids apple orchards

Image via @imagesbyallen | Instagram

What better way to #discovertheridge than to enjoy a hayride after apple picking? At Fruit Ridge Hayrides, you can do both! On Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, you can easily lose track of time at the corn maze, petting zoo, pony rides, and of course, while picking your share of Honeycrisp.

Robinette’s Apple Haus & Winerygrand rapids apple orchards

Image via @fluffychelsea | Instagram

Of course, not every great apple orchard is located on the Ridge. Robinette’s Apple Haus is right at the corner of 4 Mile and East Beltline and has all the staples of the perfect fall day: U-Pick Apple orchards, a hiking trail through the farm, wine and cider tasting, hay rides, and a corn maze. Check out their website to see the latest apple varieties.  

Crane Orchardsgrand rapids apple orchards

Image via @heidikooienga | Instagram

A visit to Crane Orchards is well worth the drive to Fennville! Located on the shores of beautiful Hutchins Lake, U-Pickers at Crane’s are free to peruse the farm in search of all seventeen apple varieties. When you’ve picked your fill, be sure to stop at Crane’s Pie Pantry, the famous on-site restaurant that put Fennville, Michigan on the map!

Hanulcik Farm Marketgrand rapids apple orchards

Image via @brynn_lepien | Instagram

If you’re looking for apples on the east side of Grand Rapids, head to Hanulcik Farm Market in Ionia! A family operation since 1936, Hanulcik has seven apple varieties available for picking Friday through Sunday. You can also visit their farm market, where you can browse for local honey, maple syrup, and locally-made goat milk soap!

Summersweet Orchardgrand rapids apple orchards

Image via @sarah.grasman | Instagram

During the summer months, peaches and cherries steal the show at Summersweet Orchard in Caledonia, but apples are the main fall attraction! Located on 92nd Street east of Kalamazoo Avenue, Summersweet will keep you updated with the best spots, varieties, and picking times on their Facebook page.

Apple season is in full swing, so grab some friends and get out there!

About the Author

Nick Meekhof  graduated from Calvin College with a major in writing and a minor in geography. A farmer for the first twenty-three years of his life, Nick currently works for the Michigan Department of Agriculture. When he’s not traversing the state conducting orchard inspections, he can be found exploring the rivers, forests, and small towns all throughout the Great Lakes State. His current goals include kayaking one hundred Michigan rivers, swimming in Lake Michigan during every month of the year, and visiting as many Michigan breweries as possible.Follow Nick’s adventures on Instagram: @puremichiganguy


Grand Rapids’ bike trails are growing bigger and faster than ever! Bike lanes, signage, and miles of new bike trails are being installed all over the city. Local businesses host cycling events year-round and bike racks are a storefront staple. Between construction projects and the downtown parking scene, biking is quickly becoming a fun alternative to getting around. Whether you’re looking for a bike trail to get downtown, a scenic riverside loop, or a 90-mile journey toward the great white north, Grand Rapids is where it’s at!

Lemery Park Trail

1.9 miles one way

bike trails Grand Rapids

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The city of Wyoming has some incredible green spaces tucked among its dense neighborhoods, and Lemery Park is one of these hidden gems. The park features a 1.9-mile bike trail along Buck Creek. It’s a great place to take in a quick ride along the water, but you can double the distance by biking through Palmer Park via the Buck Creek Nature Preserve.

Buck Creek Trail

2.1 miles one way

bike trails Grand Rapids

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Just down the road, you’ll find the Buck Creek Trail winding its way through Grandville. Never straying too far from the creek, this bike trail weaves through the southwest suburbs all the way out to the Grand River confluence. Parking is available at Wedgwood Park and downtown Grandville.

Plaster Creek Trail

2.8 miles one way

bike trails Grand Rapids

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The foliage is dazzling along the Plaster Creek Trail, which hugs the banks of its namesake creek from Ken-o-sha Park to the Kroc Center. In addition to the paved trails, mountain bike trails are also interspersed throughout the greenway. You can get your fill of both styles on your ride!

Kentwood East-West Trail

3 miles one way

bike trails Grand Rapids

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The name is self-explanatory; it’s a bike trail that runs east-west through Kentwood. Starting at Kellogsville Park, the East West Trail traverses creeks, wetlands, and southside neighborhoods for three miles before joining the Thornapple Trail. More on that later.

Oxford Street Trail

3.1-mile loop

bike trails Grand Rapids

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South Dakota’s Black Hills might be famous for a different sort of bike scene, but this Grand Rapids neighborhood has a quality bike trail as well! Beginning on Oxford Street near Godfrey Avenue, the Oxford Street Trail connects the Black Hills to Millennium Park, the Kent Trails, and the rest of the downtown trail network. At 3.1 miles, it’s a scenic spot to train for 5Ks. The route includes views of the Grand River, the downtown skyline, and a restored urban prairie.

Interurban Trail

3.5 miles one-way

grand rapids bike trails

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The Interurban Trail cuts a path through suburbia on the south side of Grand Rapids, connecting Godwin Heights to Kelloggsville. The simplest way to ride its length would be to start at Ideal Park in Wyoming, at the confluence of Buck and Pine Hill Creeks. After a short ride through the woods, the bike trail heads north over streams and through neighborhoods up to 36th Street.

Cannon Township Trail

4.8 miles one way

grand rapids bike trails

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On Grand Rapids’ northeast side, the Cannon Township Bike Trail offers a beautiful ride past lakes, over wetlands, and through wooded valleys. This is an excellent place to take in fall colors in a natural setting. Parking is available at the Cannon Township Hall, Townsend Park, and the village of Cannonsburg.

Standale Trail

5.7 miles one way

grand rapids bike trails

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2018 marks the 40th anniversary of the capture of Big Sid, a circus python that escapes its cage and roamed the streets of Standale, Michigan for over a month. Some spent the summer searching for the snake, while others stayed inside out of fear. Ultimately, it was a young couple on bicycles who found and helped capture Big Sid.

Today, you can bike the Standale Trail through the very farms and fields that Sid called home for one infamous summer. The trail connects Walker City Hall with the Millennium Park bike trail network. It features boardwalks, hills, bike trails, and a pedestrian tunnel. Be sure to stop in town for some ice cream, smoothies, or some Standale-brewed craft beer!

Flat River Trail

7.2 mile loop

grand rapids bike trails

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It’s a bit of a hike to get out to Greenville, but the Flat River Trail is one of the best loop bike trails in West Michigan. This 7.2-mile route follows a long, C-shaped arc along the Flat River through downtown Greenville. A couple of lakes are thrown in for good measure. There is hardly a curve on this loop in which something scenic isn’t revealed around the bend. The trailhead is conveniently located on M-57, right next to Castle Brewing Co.

M6 Trail

9.6 miles one way

grand rapids bike trails

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When M6 was installed as a way to get around Grand Rapids’ sprawling south side, planners of the highway had the good graces to include a bike path. You’ll find surprisingly lofty vantage points along this 9.6-mile corridor, high above the road where you can see the profile of 92nd Street Hill, some of the highest elevation in Kent County.

Thornapple Trail

10 miles one way to Caledonia

grand rapids bike trails

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If you start at 44th and Kalamazoo, it’ll be a 10-mile ride down the Paul Henry Thornapple Trail to get to Caledonia Lakeside Park. The plans are much bigger than that, however. Local municipalities are working on paving their own segments of this former railroad corridor, and soon you’ll be able to ride a bike trail all the way out to Vermontville, 42 miles away!

Kent Trails

15-mile network

grand rapids bike trails

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The pioneer of the Grand Rapids bike scene, we owe a lot of credit to the Kent Trails system. It was ahead of its time and still serves as the central hub to which future bike paths aim to connect. From the trailhead near John Ball Zoo, you can enjoy this unabridged bike trail network through Millennium Park all the way to Jenison, Grandville, Wyoming, or Byron Center.  Trail highlights include the Grand River, Buck Creek, the Sand Mines, and the Hopewell Indian Mounds.

Ada Township Trails

16-mile loop

grand rapids bike trails

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Another great loop option, the Ada Township Trails run a hilly course around the northeast side of Grand Rapids. Beginning in downtown Ada, the loop offers wide panoramas of the Grand River, boardwalks over wetlands, and an endless array of fall foliage.  

Millennium Park

18-mile network

grand rapids bike trails

Recent transplants to Grand Rapids likely won’t remember when Millennium Park was just a 1400-acre sand mine, but today it is one of the finest parks in all of Michigan. Kent County Parks has invested deeply in Millennium Park, which now plays host to numerous bike races, running events, concerts, and even the X-Games.

The 18-mile network of bike trails is one of Millennium’s best assets. Frequent intersections allow for loops of any distance to be made. This makes Millennium an excellent destination for beginners through experts, and the varied terrain means there’s something new around every bend.

Musketawa Trail/Pioneer Trail

33.6 miles one way

grand rapids bike trails

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The Musketawa is another trail that’s been around for some time. This 22-mile linear bike trail runs from Marne all the way to Muskegon, stopping through small towns and bucolic farmlands along the way.

Recently, Kent County Parks built a connector route through Walker called the Pioneer Trail. This greenway provides a vital link between the Musketawa and the White Pine Trail, extending the route to Muskegon by eleven miles. It also gives Northwest-siders a convenient way to bike downtown.

Grand River Greenway

40 miles one way

grand rapids bike trails

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The project has been in the works for decades, as Ottawa County Parks quietly acquired riverfront parcel after parcel. The objective was announced just two years ago: the Grand River Greenway, a 40-mile swath of preserved natural areas along the southern shore of the Grand River. In addition to a water trail for paddlers and a habitat corridor for wildlife, the Greenway also includes plans for the Idema Explorers Trail, a bike trail path that will connect downtown Grand Rapids to Grand Haven’s lakeshore. Segments are still under construction, but keep an eye on this project. They’re making strides every day.

White Pine Bike Trail

92 miles one way

grand rapids bike trails

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Some state parks are 92 miles long and only 20 feet wide. Such is the case of White Pine Trail State Park, West Michigan’s premier long-distance bike path. Many area bikers are familiar with the picturesque stretch that runs from downtown Grand Rapids up to Rockford, but few have attempted the daunting century ride to its terminus in Cadillac. The White Pine Trail crosses six major rivers, seventeen towns, and countless creeks and farms through Northern Michigan.

About the Author

Nick Meekhof  graduated from Calvin College with a major in writing and a minor in geography. A farmer for the first twenty-three years of his life, Nick currently works for the Michigan Department of Agriculture. When he’s not traversing the state conducting orchard inspections, he can be found exploring the rivers, forests, and small towns all throughout the Great Lakes State. His current goals include kayaking one hundred Michigan rivers, swimming in Lake Michigan during every month of the year, and visiting as many Michigan breweries as possible. Follow Nick’s adventures on Instagram: @puremichiganguy.