Why You Should Have Your Cake & Yoga Too



Hi Crush FAM! My name is Phoebe Nygren and I am joining the team as the resident wanderlust yogi, handstand fanatic, and of course dark chocolate lover. I've touched my hands in 38 countries and look forward to bringing you along on the journey to balance in every aspect of life. Passion oozes into everything I do – whether it's meditating with monks in Laos, biking to beer gardens around Austin Texas, or teaching yoga on a secret beach in Thailand, I love making people smile. 


I can't wait to dive into the passion and purpose that drives every one of you, and hopefully together we can start to fuse a little bit more balance and smile into the Crush community. This balance is tough to come by – we live in a sweet N' low world filled with half N' half, Yin and Yang, everything existing in contrast. The sweetest times in life, the peak pose, the blissful feeling of breaking a personal goal must exist alongside struggle. We never get anywhere special without the struggle. Having your cake and yoga too means striving for that balance, and realizing that you can 'crush' your workout one day, eat cake the next, and finish in savasana. We are imperfect beings striving to make sense of the madness. It's okay to eat your cake and yoga too...Here's why! 


Life's too short, eat the damn cake. This can be literal (ice cream cake if you ask me) or figurative. I mean really taste life. Enjoy it. Linger in the joyous moments and observe those of darkness. We rarely have the ability to sit with our thoughts, living life like a SnapChat played on fast forward gets exhausting. It's always onto the next one – scrolling through life like an Instagram feed allows us to see the beautiful surface, but rarely dives into the layers. 


Yoga cuts into the layers, it reveals the frosting on the inside. Yoga can be an intimidating word/world for most of us. I was an athlete my entire life, a balls-to-the-wall, leave nothing behind person. I lived life a million miles an hour, and never thought of slowing down for yoga. I was (and still am) a gym rat, but yoga is different. Before I took my first hot yoga class I was so intimidated I almost didn't show up. But after my very first class, after getting over the fact that I felt silly breathing so that my neighbors could hear me, or closing my eyes in a room full of people, I began to open up to the beauty of yoga. 


Learning to love yo-self. As cheesy as it sounds, yoga opens us up to the gift we all have inside us, the gift of breathe and movement, sweat and emotion, and ultimately self-love. I have realized over the years that it's not so much about the pose - yes handstands are freaking amazing, and I love to do them all over the world. But, the pose is not the point. The point is how the practice makes you feel, how it has the ability to turn you inside and out and upside down to put you back together again. 


I promise yoga is for you, it's for everyone. Yoga has a million meanings and you get to choose what it means to you. The definition is ever-changing and everyday, every flow, every class will teach you something a little different about yourself. Some days may teach you to sit within the stillness, you may realize that a teacher telling you to sink 2 inches deeper infuriates you. Let it marinate, observe it all and then simply let it go. Breathe, scream, laugh, cry, invite every emotion in and then let every emotion go. 


To me, yoga is the purest form of unfiltered freedom. It's raw and weird, and the practice allows me to breathe into the space of what it means to be human, to be alive. I know that sounds corny, but it's true. The best part is, it doesn't have to be serious; I laugh, make faces at my friends, and some days roll around on the floor. Guess what, that is yoga too. So have fun with it, and try and enjoy the crazy roller coaster ride. Remember, you can always have your cake and yoga too! 


Get Your Goal On



A date. A number. A red marking in your calendar. Or maybe a day, emblazoned in your head, as bright and captivating as the fireworks that mark the start of the new year!

For January 1st brings about the possibility of change. Not of yourself per se, but of your choices. A fresh start, poised and ready for you to take hold and propel yourself forward on your new fitness journey! And that’s the key after all. Not viewing this date as the end all of who you used to be, but using it as the starting point for your new lifestyle. Because it’s the very word-- ‘lifestyle’-- that promotes the idea of consistency. It’s not a promise for a quick change; there is no easy way out, or short cuts to take on this journey. There’s commitment and the knowledge that time will reap results!

But, how do you ensure that you’ll stay on track? Well, it’s within human nature to be imperfect. And that means that sometimes our path will be curved and jumbled, twisted and impeded by the obstructions and distractions of everyday life. But that’s okay… because it’s keeping with it in the long run that’s important. And here are my tips for how to do just that!

  1. Balance in your everyday diet: Too often we are bombarded with the idea that “eating clean”, or “cutting out sugar”, or “limiting ourselves to one treat a week” are the keys to a healthy diet. But that couldn’t be further from the truth! For those ‘tips’ aren’t endurable in the long run. So, instead, strive for balance. Have your veggies and your cookies too! Eat your oats in the morning and then go out for froyo with friends at night! Keep in mind that flexibility is key-because food is meant to be enjoyed, and if you remind yourself of this, you’ll be sure to keep up with your new ‘diet’ as the year unfolds.
  2. Finding something you love: The truth is, not all of us are long distance runners or yoga enthusiasts or find joy in hitting a new squat PR in the gym. And that’s okay! Because we are all our own unique individuals, we all have our own likes and dislikes. So, instead of forcing yourself to a soul cycle class because your friend hasn’t stopped raving about it, strike out on your own path and find something you actually enjoy doing! Look into swimming, cross fit, boxing…try any number of things! Find classes to take in your area, put together your own routines, workout with a friend! Find something that works for you, and you’ll be surprised at how much you’ll want to stick to your new routine!
  3. Don’t compare your progress with everyone else’s: It’s unfortunate that so often we feel compelled to contrast ourselves with others; to pit our achievements against theirs, to feel down if someone appears to be excelling faster than we are. Comparison can truly be the thief of joy. But the thing is, a fitness journey is all about you! It’s not about how many pull-ups your friend can do in a row, or what your sister’s mile time is compared to yours. It’s about how you’re choosing to better yourself each and every day. It’s about the progress you’re making and how you’re enjoying it along the way!
  4. Remember to rest: Oftentimes, a lifestyle change can engrain the idea in our minds that we have to go, go, go and never stop! But part of making this a lasting change is recognizing when we need to rest. So, make sure that you’re taking the time off that you need! That if you’re sick or simply don’t feel like going to the gym that day, that it’s okay. Because it’s putting your mental and physical health first that’s crucial! Listen to your body, to your mind, and know that the gym will always be waiting for you when you’re ready to go back!
So strap on your gym shoes, throw on your neon green tank top, and grab your water bottle! Run, walk, do some yoga, try out a dance class. Grab a smoothie after your workout. Lay on the couch and watch a movie. Go out for ice cream with your family. And above all, remember that balance is key, and that this year truly is the start of your new lifestyle!

Tick Tock Fitness



In summer your days are longer, you’re no longer weighed down by schoolwork and sports team obligations; the sun feels blissful, and you have the luxury of fitting in a full hour and a half gym routine at the end of your day. You can stretch and foam roll idly before your workout, make the decision to throw a last minute cardio session in at the end of your lift, and even consider stopping for a protein smoothie on the way home.

And then, suddenly, without quite knowing how it happened, your much-anticipated college life has arrived! But, the weather starts taking a turn for the worse, your life becomes jam packed with papers and midterms, your various social obligations and Greek life, and soon, the long hours at the gym you enjoyed over the summer are not much of an option anymore. With your schedule running rampant, you’re left to ask yourself: how can I maintain my workout routine when I only have 30-40 minutes in the gym on a good day?

This is the exact same question I asked myself a week into school when it became apparent that making time for everything would require one, often very difficult feat to balance: effective time management!

So, here are some tips to help you make every minute you spend in the gym worth it:

  • Plan your workouts out ahead of time. Decide what muscle group you’re going to train, and then list out the exercises, reps, and sets you’re going to do, and write it all down. That way, all you’ll need to do is take a quick glance down at your phone to know what your next move is.
  • If you’re unsure of the proper form of any exercise, look it up on Youtube or do a quick image search before you hit the gym! Having a good idea of how to properly execute each exercise will save you some precious moments during your session.
  • Incorporate circuit training into your routine. While you may have to lower the weight so as to prevent injury, the fast-paced style will see you jumping between exercises and torching calories in the process. Staying active when you’re on a time crunch is key for finding that added burn.
  • Get jumping: try adding plyometric exercises to your routine. Interspersing jump squats, jump lunges, burpees, mountain climbers, etc are great ways to keep your heart rate up for the duration of your workout.

  • Opt out of your typical LISS session for a HIIT workout. Tack off ¾ of the time, kick out some intervals, and effectively promote fat loss in just under 15 minutes.

Lastly, remember how important it is to take time off. College comes with quite the change, both mentally and physically. You’re living on your own, you’re taking care of yourself, and that means you have the responsibility to make decisions that are right for you and your own mental health. So remember that it’s okay to take two days off in a row from the gym. It’s okay to grab a nap instead of a quick gym session. It’s okay to give your body and mind the time it needs to recuperate. Because no matter where you go or how much time you take off, the gym will always be waiting for you when you’re ready to come back!

Fit in the City - Chicago


Chicago brims with life on every corner! From the tall, sculpted volleyball players speckled across Oak Street Beach, to the slew of neon-clad runners bounding up and down the Lakefront, the city practically doubles as a haven for the actively inclined. And what’s a city goer without their confidence…or for that matter, their fashion!

Take a simple walk down Michigan Avenue and you’re just as likely to spot a group of suited businessmen and women striding down the street, as you are a pair of shiny purple leggings or an orange highlighter jacket. Yoga mats are as frequent as briefcases, and sometimes it feels like Soul Cycles are sprouting as fast as Starbucks storefronts.

In this day and age, our world before us at the click of a button, our schedules achingly packed to the brim, we hardly have time to even change for the gym; and frankly, nor do we want to. But luckily, we don’t have to, because it appears that athletic wear has finally found its rightful spot as comfortably chic, and acceptably appropriate everyday attire. What was once reserved for fast paced walks from the gym parking lot to the weights and back, is now cause for fitness boutiques sprouting across the country. Now we live in a time where the word “lemon” is indisputably linked with “lulu” before the image of the tart yellow fruit even pops into our minds.

And when you’re constantly on the go, the practicality of being able to sprint to the subway in yoga pants rather than jeans, or jump across a puddle of rainwater in bright Nikes instead of a pair of heels is almost too good to be true. Because nowadays, the seemingly endless hustle and bustle of the city only presents itself as yet another opportunity to workout! And what’s more convenient than already sporting active wear when you and your friend decide on a spontaneous bike trip through Millennium Park?

So now you may be wondering, what’s a typical fitness outfit of a Chicagoan look like? Well, like anything you wear, it’s all about two things. The first? Your own personality. Nike Pros in psychedelic prints; Forever 21 cut-out sports bras; Alexander Wang oversized cotton t-shirts; neon shoe laces almost as bright as the shoes themselves; seamless tanks as blue as Lake Michigan. In a city as big as Chicago, anything goes, as long as you have the second thing: confidence! It’s walking with your head up high, it’s striding down the sidewalk, it’s using that strength you’ve been gaining from your workouts and translating that to the street. Because at the end of the day, it’s not just about what you’re wearing, it’s how you’re wearing it!