CAMPer of the Month: Susan!

Susan Stromberg is always at CAMP. If you don't know her, she's the one who's always smiling and making friends with her fellow CAMPers. You can likely find her mastering new poses in Yoga and sprinting in the saddle in Cycle. But once upon a time, Susan was a new CAMPer, and she wasn't nearly this into fitness. Though she used to be an athlete, she suffered from a knee injury that took her out of the game for several years. She also had two kids, both of whom became full-time responsibilities. Fitness fell to the backburner- until she started coming to CAMP. Read on if you're in need of some serious #fitspo- Susan's a beast, and we can all learn a thing or two about dedication from her! 

 
 

Do you remember your first class at CAMP? 

It was Danielle's Cycle class. After class, I had to pull over on MacDill and sit on the side of the road for 20 minutes, trying not to throw up.  It was great, and I loved it, but it was so hard. I hadn’t worked out in 5 years. 

Why the break from fitness? 

I used to be an athlete, but then I had my kids, who are 4 and 2. The last Cycle class I went to while I was pregnant was horrible.  I couldn’t keep up with it anymore. After that, I just stopped working out, especially after having two knee surgeries. 

What changed? 

One of my biggest motivations has been that I didn't want to just be someone who "used to be an athlete," but someone who actually is an athlete. And after only a few months at CAMP, of coming to classes that I love and enjoy, I see and feel the transformation. I do feel like an athlete again, and that's pretty awesome. 

I know you've become quite the yogi. Why Yoga? 

One day, I talked to Jamie about my knee issues, and she inspired me to come to Yoga. I started with Yin with Amy and fell in love. It became a thing- I wanted to make sure I got to every Sunday night class. Once I started learning some of the poses, I started coming to as many Root classes as possible. Just recently, I started with Flow, because I understand the poses better. I actually just did one of Jamie’s Hip Hop Flow classes, as well as Rock 'N Flow. Now, I want to keep coming back to CAMP as often as I can. I’m in the phase right now where every time I come to a class, I’m able to do something I wasn’t able to do the class before. Sometimes it’s something so simple- like touching my toes, or getting my back flatter in a posture. Today, it was getting crow for the first time. I was so excited, I was basically giddy. I didn’t even know that was a goal of mine until I accomplished it. 

 
 

What do you love the most about CAMP? 

Everything. I’m a nerd for CAMP. My friends have actually started making fun of me because I talk about CAMP all the time! Everybody who works here is so friendly and has been so helpful throughout the whole process. I grew up going to summer camp, so just the name won me over from the beginning. Plus, Jamie and Jen run it beautifully. I try to be friendly- even with the people you don’t know, there’s an undeniable camaraderie that exists between all of us. It’s just a comfortable place to be. 

What's your regular workout? 

I’m here at CAMP every day- this is all I do now. I really notice just a day or two away from it. It’s amazing how much you miss it when you don’t have that outlet- where you’re not thinking of anything else but working out. 

 
 

What’s your spirit animal? 

My kids- they're both little campers! 

Proudest CAMP accomplishment?

Getting crow, as of today! But it keeps changing. I'm excited to see what I accomplish next! 

Favorite CRG restaurant?

We go to all of them. Green Lemon is pretty strong right now. We go to Fresh Kitchen a lot. And we get a lot of sushi from Water. 

 

Inside CAMP Circuit

CAMPers love Circuit. With the Woodway treadmills and our incredibly attractive instructors, it's easy to see why. But we're always so pleased to see so many of you booking out class after class, forcing unsuspecting newbies onto the waitlist. However, we also know that Circuit's offerings can be a little confusing. Is there running in kickboxing? And actually though, WTF is Stations? Thankfully, our Lead Circuit Instructor, Lance, was available for a chat. Read on to find out what really goes down in the Circuit room, and why once you start, you can't stop coming back for more. 

 
 

Under the umbrella of Circuit, we offer several different varieties of classes. These include our 50-minute Circuit class, Stations, Cardio Kickboxing, Arms & Abs, and Ass & Abs. Plus, we have Cycle-Circuit Blend and Circuit-Yoga Blend, if you want to get the best of both worlds in a 60 minute time frame. For more info about our Blend classes, click here. But for more information about our Circuit-specific classes, keep on scrolling. 

Circuit itself is a 50-minute high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout that focuses on the full body. By combining treadmill running with the use our elite strength-building equipment, you'll develop stronger muscles and better endurance. Plus, with those sprints you'll do on the treadmills, you'll be fully prepared to win your next game of Red Rover. Because Circuit focuses on the full body as opposed to specific muscles, you'll also look stronger and healthier overall. Who needs Leg Day?

 
 

On the other hand, some people love targeting specific body parts, and we understand that. That's why we have Ass & Abs and Arms & Abs, two strength-specific workouts to help you target those vanity muscles. Both of these classes are great for beginners, as treadmill use is limited to the warm-up. So if you're afraid of our Woodway treadmills, these offerings might be perfect for you! 

 
 

Stations is one of our most intense offerings, and that's why so many of you love it. Plan on doing two rounds of 8 different "stations" or exercises, with 30 seconds of work followed by a 15 second rest. 15 seconds have never flown by so quickly! By the end of class, you'll have done 16 different exercises, including some treadmill drills, and you'll be sweating more than you do on a summer day in Florida. Lance and our other instructors pride themselves on always making the workouts fresh, so expect to never do the same workout twice in Stations. 

Cardio Kickboxing is super popular because it's so different. It's 50 minutes of boxing with our bags, so get ready to kick and punch your way to stress relief. This workout is great post-rush-hour, especially when used as an alternative to Anger Management. If you own wraps and/or gloves, please bring them. Otherwise, plan on spending $7 to buy wraps and $2 to rent gloves. Oh, and you will use the treadmill during this class, but only for conditioning purposes- AKA no sprints! 

 
 

Overall CAMP's Circuit classes cannot be beat. Every class, no matter which variety, will always include sick music and a light show, so you'll feel like you're in a nightclub. Our Woodway treadmills, though intimidating at first, are designed to build speed, so they'll help you get faster for that next 5K race. They also require no electricity, so you're saving the environment by powering up your treadmill every time you step into Circuit. And no matter what class you take, Lance says to expect a "full-body ass-whoopin.'" Now really, what more can you ask for? 

 

Yes, YOU Can Meditate

There are a million reasons why you think you can't meditate. Meditation is no joke, and for some people, it's harder than the postures we move through in Hip Hop Yoga. Something we hear a lot is: "But I can't stop thinking when I meditate. I'm such a failure!" First of all, any meditation practice is inherently good. You can never "fail" at meditation, because just the act of sitting and trying is a success. Further, and most importantly, meditation is not a lack of thought. It's not some old dude sitting in a cave, renouncing all earthly belongings. Well, okay, it can be that, but that's not how it manifests for most of us. Meditation is different for everyone, and at the end of the day, the only goal of meditation is to quiet the mind and bring it closer to a point of focus. So even if you're only able to focus on your breath for a couple seconds, you're still succeeding. 

But what is meditation? And why should we do it?

 
 

First of all, meditation is a key aspect of yoga, which btw is much more than the physical postures we move through in class (AKA asana). In the past, the practice of asana was meant to encourage individuals to sit and meditate. But in recent years, asana has eclipsed the practice of meditation, to the point where savasana (a naturally meditative posture) is often excluded from class. That's why we always leave room for savasana at the end of our yoga classes. We want you guys to practice meditation, because it's one of the best things you can do to improve yourself. Here's why. 

A consistent meditation practice brings you more focus, improved communication and listening skills, improved immune system, increased productivity, increased attention span, improved sleep, as well as reduced anxiety and depression. It also provides an opportunity for you to make choices within the mind- so donuts or Root Flow? The decision is up to you, and the answer will ultimately come to you through meditation. 

When you're meditating, the part of your brain that is always trying to solve a problem gets a break. Many of our brains rarely experience this break, even during sleep. We can use meditation to retrain our brains to relax, so that when we need them to function in high performance environments again, they have the capacity to do so. 

Meditation also gives us the ability to sit and breathe. Deep-belly breathing is crucial during meditation- whichever method of meditation you choose, you should always try to inhale to the base of the pelvis and exhale completely. This elongation of the breath is a simple form of pranayama AKA breath extension, as "prana" means breath or life force, and "ayama" means extension. Try to think of pranayama this way. When you're born, you take your first breath, inhaling prana, and when you die, you complete your last exhale, allowing prana to leave the body. The ultimate goal of pranayama is to extend one's life span by extending the finite amount of breaths you're given. That's why deep breathing during yoga and meditation is so important! So as you sit in meditation, try breathing as deeply as possible, allowing the breath to expand across the back and within the ribs. You'll be surprised by how calming this breath can be. 

 
 

So now that you've got the breath down... what else do you need? Finding a place to meditate is crucial. It's important to find a space that is calming and without distraction. Try to find a part of your home where you can be alone and unbothered by the sounds of other people, even if it's outside or in a closet. We won't judge you based on where you get your zen on. You'll also need to find a comfortable seat. Beginners might need to sit against a wall, to encourage proper alignment of the spine. We also recommend sitting on a pillow, a block, or a rolled up yoga mat- this elevates your hips and helps you sit up straighter. Maybe you can pop into lotus easily, or maybe you'll want to start by sitting with simple crossed legs. Whatever you choose, make sure you're comfortable. You won't be able to meditate if you're thinking about how much your knee is bothering you. 

Now, it's time to meditate! But what method will you choose? Here are just a couple that our yoga teachers swear by. Feel free to find your own method- just focus on the breath and bringing your mind to a point of focus. If you're doing that, you're golden! 

Finger-Counting

This is the form of meditation Jamie instructed us to use in our first Move to Meditate class last week. The goal is to get to 108 breaths, but sometimes, that can seem like an eternity. Start with something simple, like 32 breaths, which would equate to one full round on each hand. 

To start, begin with your right hand, and place your right thumb on the top of your pinky finger. After you inhale and exhale completely, move your thumb down to the first line on your finger. Then move to the second line, and finally, the base of the finger. Continue this process on each of the four fingers, then move to the left hand. 

 
 

Feel free to take three centering breaths in the center- this will help ground you in between rounds. Continue breathing for as long as you like. There can never be too much meditation! 

Use of a Mantra

We understand- sometimes breathing can be boring. That's why we love using a mantra. It's a great way to bring your mind to a point of focus other than just the breath. A great mantra to use is "So Hum," AKA "I am." This is a super relevant mantra, because it brings your focus inward, allowing you to acknowledge that you are present in your body and that you are not equivalent to your crazy monkey brain. Hey, we all have them. 

Use of a Mala

You've likely seen mala beads for sale in yoga studios and on yoga apparel websites. They include108 beads, plus a larger bead, which is called a guru bead. While a lot of people wear them as jewelry, they're meant to be used for meditation. 

To meditate using a mala, hold it in your right hand, and beginning with the guru bead, roll beads one by one through the thumb and middle finger as you inhale and exhale. When you reach the guru bead again, stop or go back and do it again. 

 
 

Meditation is a lifelong practice, and the more you practice it, the easier it will seem. It will undoubtably change your life if you let it, so try setting aside just five minutes in the morning to sit and meditate. After you feel comfortable doing that, increase it to six or seven minutes, and keep going up from there. You'll be shocked by how zen you'll become! 

And if you're in need of a laugh, check out this meditation video. It's one of our favorite pick-me-ups.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_K4HajZfVk

FK & Chill With Us

Ciccio Restaurant Group, AKA CRG, is the brand behind CAMP and all of your favorite restaurants in Tampa. Because let's face it- what would Friday night in Soho be like without a Green Lemon margarita? And if you don't take your squad to brunch at Ciccio Water, do you even like your friends? But it's Fresh Kitchen that wins us over time and time again. Oh, and did you know that as a CAMPer, you get 10% off at FK? So what are you waiting for? Here's everything you need to know about FK, if you've never been, as well as some insider secrets for even the most frequent bowl-eaters. 

 
 

First of all, FK is everything you love about Chipotle but 1 million times better. Imagine a place where you can get healthy, delicious food, customized to your taste buds, that can be in your belly in a matter of minutes. Now instead of imagining it, type 1350 South Howard Avenue into Apple Maps, because it exists here in Tampa, and it's only 5 minutes away from CAMP! 

We've heard from our friends that walking into FK as a newbie can be a little intimidating. There's so many options- how can you possibly choose? Read on for some tips from pro FK-ers Tyler and Taylor Berlingeri. PS- Taylor works at FK, so make sure to say hi to her when you're in line! 

First of all, you must be aware of Fresh Kitchen's peak hours. Even if the line is out the door, you'll still be eating in about 15-20 minutes, so never be too intimidated by the crowds. But why wait when you don't have to? Tyler recommends 11AM (AKA right when they open), because the food is super fresh and the lines are nonexistent. This would be a great time to eat if you hit one of our early morning classes- 6AM people, we're looking at you. 

Now, it's time to craft your bowl. We recommend starting with the four bowl, which is just filling enough post-workout. But if you're feeling super hungry or you're going for #gainz, go for the six- it's all healthy stuff, so you can never feel too guilty. 

 
 

On to the bases, AKA the foundation of your amazing meal to come. Both the four and six bowls come with your choice of two bases, and while some people prefer to keep it all green, we like to add in some carbs, especially post-workout. Tyler loves the combination of sweet potato noodles and perfect spice rice, as well as the summer salad with coconut rice. Just make sure to stick to cold bases if you're in a salad mood, and warm bases (like the sweet potato mash!) if you need something to stick to your ribs. 

The veggies are all amazing, so you really can't go wrong here. The roasted brussels sprouts and the parmesan broccoli are the most popular, but some people love to add in the sesame green beans if they're going for an Asian-inspired bowl. You can also pretend you're eating at a steakhouse if you get the roasted mushrooms and choose steak as your protein.

 
 

There are always a couple crowd favorites when it comes to the proteins, and BBQ chicken tops the list every time. Buffalo chicken has also made its re-entry onto the menu, so don't miss trying that out if you love spicy food. Tofu is great for vegetarians, especially when it's lathered in sauce- so check out how it's prepared before you choose it. And if you get steak, make sure to get the herb balsamic vinaigrette as your sauce and dip each piece into the vinaigrette- Tyler swears by this method. 

Now you get to pick your sauces and add-ons. You can never go wrong with avocado, even if it is extra, so don't forget your dose of healthy fats. Coconut sriracha is always a great choice, especially with the tuna poke. And if you chose coconut rice as your base, go for the creamy ginger, and be sure to put the sauce directly on the rice- this method of preparation will change the game, according to Tyler.  

So you're finished making your bowl- you must be done, right? WRONG. If you leave FK without getting the paleo cookies, you're truly missing out. Tyler loves to dunk her cookies into cafe no moo for a healthy, dairy-free version of milk and cookies; if you go this route, make sure to ask for an extra water cup so you have somewhere to pour your "milk"! And not that we're endorsing alcohol as a post-workout solution, but mixing tequila with the slimberry juice is a combo you just can't miss out on. 

 
 

Next time you hit up FK, make sure to snap a picture of your bowl and tag @camptampa! We'd love to know if you used our tips or have discovered some of your own! 

What is Cycle-Yoga Blend?

Are you the type of person who spends 20 minutes scouring Yelp, trying to find the perfect place for dinner with your crew? Or do you get anxiety just thinking about picking your protein at Fresh Kitchen? If you answered yes to either of these questions, let me introduce you to Cycle-Yoga Blend, your new favorite class here at CAMP. Cycle-Yoga Blend is made for the people who want the best of both worlds, the people who hate making choices, the people who end up going to multiple classes a day because they can't settle on just one. In any of our Blend classes, you get the energy of multiple instructors, plus the challenging combination of two popular offerings, all within the span of an hour. But what can you expect from your first Cycle-Yoga Blend? And are all Blends created equal? Read on to find out. 

 
 

First of all, Cycle-Yoga Blend is 25 minutes of Cycle, followed by 25 minutes of Yoga. You start in the Cycle room to get your cardio on, then you migrate to the Yoga building for a shortened power flow sequence. We also offer Circuit-Yoga Blend, as well as Cycle-Circuit Blend, so you're always able to combine classes here at CAMP. But what if you want more? Lucky you- we offer a monthly CAMP Triathlon, which features all three of our offerings in a 90 minute stretch of intensity. But since Cycle-Yoga Blend is so popular, we'll spend a little extra time on that class here. 

 
 

Each Cycle-Yoga Blend class is different, thanks to the unique perspectives our instructors bring, but all of them are considered equally challenging. So if you're looking for a workout that will kick (and sculpt) your derriere, then you should definitely consider trying Blend. We don't mean to scare you away by saying this, because this class is also a great option for new CAMPers. Cardio-phobes are able to get the benefits of Cycle without committing to a full 45 minutes, while yoga haters are allowed to practice challenging postures without getting stuck in a room with headstand professionals. However, we will warn you- we've converted many diehard Cycle fans into devoted yogis (and vice versa!), so prepare to open your mind to a little change.

 
 

Looking at it from a fitness perspective, combining Cycle and Yoga is a great way to improve your resting heart rate and your flexibility without increasing your risk of injury. We've all suffered through broken bones and torn ligaments, and at CAMP, we know how much that sucks. But Cycle-Yoga Blend is great because you're able to do two effective workouts back-to-back without over-stressing your joints or your muscles. So it's really in your body's best interest to do a Blend! 

Did you know that we have themed Cycle-Blends? The Yoga portion of every evening Blend is candlelit, which creates a really special, relaxing atmosphere for all of our aspiring yogis.  In addition, Ashley and Kim's Blend on Wednesday nights is #WCW themed, featuring a different female artist (or group of artists) every week. Stay up to date on their Instagrams for specific themes- rumor has it that Ladies of the 80's and Princesses of Pop are coming up! 

 
 

In conclusion, Cycle-Yoga Blend is a class that you just can't miss. Whether you're brand new to CAMP or a seasoned professional, you need to make Blend a part of your weekly routine. Your body (and indecisive brain) will thank you! 

#willcycleforsavasana