Do you want to break a sweat, push yourself, build a community of new parents and have fun? Oh, do you want to bring your baby too? No problem, because Cru Row Club in Minneapolis checks every one of those boxes.
Betsy Koch and Elizabeth Fulmer started Cru to fill a need in the Twin Cities fitness community: low-impact workouts that still get your hear racing. Another big need? Workouts that cater to new parents who might not have the luxury of leaving their little one for a workout.
Cru classes center around using a rowing machine, which offers the opportunity for an aerobic and anaerobic workout while using numerous muscles groups, all at the same time. These classes offer the ability to push yourself or listen to your body and slow down.
Currently, Cru offers a Row and Sculpt class several times a week, as well as a Postpartum Core and Cardio Class. The latter of the two is meant to ease new parents into working out, all while focusing on rebuilding your core after birth. Attendees can even bring their little one, setting them next to their rowing machine and spending time on the mat with them during the workout. For parents that want a little me-time, Cru also offers child care in their play lounge with advanced sign-up.
I was invited by Cru co-founder, Betsy Koch, to strap into a rowing machine and check out what their classes are all about. I chose the Row and Sculpt class and I'll tell you from the jump, it was hard work, but it was well worth it.
Fun fact about me, I was a rower in college. I have spent many, many hours on a rowing machine. I was both excited about this class and terrified; I hadn't rowed in almost a decade. Luckily, everything came back quickly. Not so lucky, I am way too competitive and pushed myself to row like I was 20 again.
Betsy does an amazing job of setting up a class that is going to be both challenging and allow you to take it at your own pace. At a Cru class, you're competing with yourself, which only further helps to build a sense of community with your fellow classmates.
My class alternated between 500 meter sets on the rowing machine and toning moves on the mat. I loved that I was able to break up my time on the rowing machine and still keep my heart rate up. Pro tip: you feel amazing when you start your 500 meter set, then half way through you realize you started way too fast. Always take it slow to start and build up intensity as you go.
I also loved that Betsy really motivated us through out the class; she had a way of saying just the right thing at the right time. In rowing, there is a position called the coxswain. The coxswain steers the boat, but they also encourage you through the race, giving you instructions on how to row given what's happening. Folks, it's a doula. A rowing doula. I was a rower and a coxswain in college, so it's really not a stretch to see how I found myself as a doula today.
Cru makes it really easy to try out their classes. You can checkout their schedules and register for class online. They also offer an introductory package that essentially allows you to try three classes for the price of two! Love me some deals.
I highly recommend dropping in for a class. I'm sure you'll be walking out with more confidence, lots of sweat and a few new parent friends to add to your village.
Huge shout out to Meredith Westin Photography for taking photos of me while I sweat my ass off.
It's swaps time! This year I've committed to swapping five items for more eco friendly, non toxic and zero waste options each month. Rolling into March, I'm still so excited about what the rest of the year has to offer. So far, it's been pretty easy to find alternatives for some of my most-used items. Best of all, none of the items I've swapped so far have been a dud. I've really loved each item I've changed out and it hasn't impacted my life negatively in any way. So, if you're considering making some swaps, do it!
This month, I focused mostly on my beauty products. Because I use these daily and on my body, it felt important to start looking for more non toxic options that are also eco friendly and zero waste. You'll notice that Lush was my brand of choice. Before we dive into my swaps, let's talk about researching brands before you buy.
Lush is a zero waste angel. Many of their products are package free, which means taking your beauty routine zero waste is pretty simple. While they're champions at being zero waste and pretty eco friendly, they aren't necessarily the most non toxic. Lush does a great job at clearly outlining what's in their products, which makes it easy to spot which items have non toxic no no's like fragrance. It's super important to research what's in the products you'd like to buy so you know you're choosing options your comfortable with. While there aren't a ton of non toxic Lush options I feel comfortable with, my swaps this month include three products that fit the bill.
Honestly, you can pry dry shampoo out of my cold, dead hands. I love it so much. The classic dry shampoo options out there come in aerosol cans, filled with added fragrance and chemicals: So not eco friendly, non toxic or zero waste. I had been using Suave's Natural Refresh Dry Shampoo. Just because "natural" is in the name doesn't mean it's good for you, sweetie.
Lush's No Drought shampoo falls into my comfort zone of non toxic and is more eco friendly than an aerosol can. While it's not exactly zero waste, all of Lush's packaging is made from 100% recycled, BPA-free plastic produced near their factory. That feels pretty good to me!
This dry shampoo is white, so pro tip for brunettes: Use it before bed. When you massage the powder into your roots and then sleep on it, you wake up with grease-free locks, but no white residue.
You can find No Drought in Lush stores, or order it online here.
My last swap took me out of the bathroom and into the kitchen. Plastic tupperware haunts my dreams. I never have the right lids, even though there are substantially more lids than bottoms, and they get so dingy. Plus, I always have to remove my leftovers from the tupperware before heating it up, because I don't want that nasty plastic leeching into my food.
Finding completely zero waste tupperware was challenging, especially when I want to buy in-person to be more eco friendly. I've heard that Pyrex brand doesn't hold up that well, so I looked at my trusty fav Ikea.
So far, we love these glass leftover dishes. They come in a number of sizes, we chose both rectangle and square dishes in a deep and shallower option. Now, the lids are plastic, but I feel really good about the fact that we've cut down on plastic use, plus those lids don't go into the microwave. Win!
You can find these dishes in Ikea stores, or order online here.
I'm so happy I tackled some of the items in my beauty routine this month, I can't wait to swap more!
Follow along on Instagram from more behind the scenes of the Eco Simple Challenge, including how these products are working for me. You can also share your own swaps by tagging @thesownseed and using the hashtag #ecosimplechallenge.
Let me know some of your March swaps or ask some questions below in the comments!
Want to see previous months' swaps? Check them out here: