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HOME SUNDAY | “Spring” Back into Shape

You know the feeling—that long winter, I haven’t worked out in weeks (okay months!) feeling. Lucky for us, there are so many options for women who want to be in shape (but still keep our lovely curves!) out there.

SoulCycle, the cult favorite among celebrities like Reese Witherspoon and Katie Holmes has exploded onto the exercise scene.


SoulCycle bikes from milkandbookies.org

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Instructor Kate “KC” Champagne, teaches in the Washington, D.C. area. She said that although regular exercise, about four to five times per week should be a part of one’s routine year-round, SoulCycle is a great way to “dive back in” if you’ve fallen out of routine in the winter months. It delivers a total body workout complete with calorie burning cardio and upper body toning.

SoulCycle isn’t for the faint of heart—the classes are intense but fun. The one I took in Bethesda, MD puts participants in a darkened room with blaring music and plenty of mantras were uttered.

“You’ll be rocking out to great music in a community-centric environment that will leave you feeling exhilarated, accomplished and high on sweat,” Champagne said.

Personally, it made me leave feeling quite frankly, incredible.

Attending SoulCycle has really made me think about taking my fitness more seriously. One of my friends is a proper gym bunny, and so she has been giving me lots of tips and tricks including which preworkout supplements to try.

With regards to pre workout women have so many options that it can be hard to know where to begin. That is why, as with anything health-related, you should always do some research first to make sure you find the right products for your health and fitness goals.

If you’ve never tried SoulCycle and are worried about coming to your first class and not knowing what to do, never fear. Instructors and front desk operators, as well as fellow regulars, help you strap your special spinning shoes into the bike and show you where to stash your stuff while you ride. I instantly felt at home when I attended.

With the laid-back, dim and candlelit atmosphere, it’s perfect for first time ladies. “SoulCycle is all about community and solidarity,” Champagne said. “Rather than pitting riders against one another in a race-like atmosphere, we ride together as a group—you will never feel exposed or judged.”

Instructors motivate and inspire, which ends up being both fierce and fun.

If your husband and you are looking to sweat together, SoulCycle is a great way to get in shape side by side. Champagne recently had a pair of newlyweds celebrating with their friends in class together. “Because of the great music and team nature, it’s a perfect bonding activity for groups,” she said.

I got lucky when I attended class, I had a free pass. If you decide to join the Soul army, your first class will set you back $20 and subsequent classes are $30. There are packages, but be prepared to make a serious investment. If you like the classes though, it’s well worth it!

SoulCycle is currently in California, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Chicago, New York City and surrounding areas, D.C., Maryland, Connecticut and Florida.

If you’re stressed out and something a little quieter is your thing, you may want to try restorative yoga. Restorative yoga is an inward, receptive practice. It creates opening and grounding in a physically passive way. You’ll use props like bolsters, blocks and blankets.


A typical restorative yoga pose from http://margorosingana.com/restorative-yoga-teacher-training/

“Some folks joke that restorative yoga is a yoga nap but it’s more like your body takes a nap while your mind watches and learns,” said restorative yoga instructor Tara Lemerise, (E-RYT-200), who teaches in the D.C. area.

Just like physical health is important, mental health is just as crucial to overall wellbeing. What restorative yoga does is create a safe and supportive space for the body so your tension will be released. Lemerise added that while doing restorative yoga poses, your mind can have the opportunity to observe and learn the mind and body’s process for relaxing.

If you’re a newlywed about to celebrate the wonders (and occasional stresses!) of being married, restorative yoga could be good for you. When you learn what it feels like to be relaxed, you’re in turn more aware of when you’re tense. “As you become more aware of when you’re not at ease, you get better at addressing that in a healthy way and communicating with your partner about it instead of just acting out of stress,” Lemerise said. “It’s like a grown-up timeout, a chance to step back from whatever is demanding your time and attention so you can return to your tasks with more clarity.

Lemerise welcomes newlyweds who want to take her classes saying “couples who relax together stay together right?”

Lemerise first got interested in yoga in college when she took a yoga class for a phys ed credit. She stumbled into a restorative yoga class by accident and was immediately hooked, did her yoga teacher training, and well, the rest is history!

If this sounds like it’s for you, a simple Google search for restorative yoga classes near you will get you into class. Classes will run you anywhere from $10-$30 and up depending on what part of the country you live in.


What are some of your favorite ways to exercise your mind and body? Comment below—we want to know!

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Kate is a wedding blogger, writing for blogs like The Big Fat Indian Wedding and formerly United With Love. Kate is a regular freelance writer for many other publications including Brides Magazine's digital department, the Washington Diplomat and a local DC yoga studio. As a plus-sized woman herself, Kate was eager to work for Shafonne and contribute to Pretty Pear Bride as she loves the message of self-confidence throughout the blog.
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