Tag Archives: pilates

The FITiST

Last night I had the fabulous pleasure of attending an event on behalf of NBC NY Go Healthy. It was promoting a new company called FITiST.

I arrived excited to see Ali and Dori.  (I secretly have a huge crush on off them, and I guess it’s not so secret anymore.) I also met to great new bloggers, Mallory and Sarah.  You can check out there transcript review of the event here, unfortunately, my work schedule did not allow me to partake, but it’s fun to read and actually explains what FITiST is, which I think is best explained by someone else.

When I arrived, I was blown away by how gorgeous the event space was–dream apartment comes to mind.  It was a huge airy loft with exposed brick, tons of windows and the most magnificent kitchen I have seen in NYC!

IMG_0004 IMG_0007

IMG_0011

Chefs in uniform were making smoothies and bottles of wine were set out for an after class reward. An abundance of Smart water and Zico coconut water ensured that no one would get dehydrated.

IMG_0005 IMG_0012 IMG_0014

While I couldn’t make it for the chat session review, I will share with you my notes, which review each class.  Keep in mind, these are unpolished notes :)

Order of classes

 

After quite a bit of waiting around, we had our first class, Kristin McGee Yoga.

Kristin McGee is a yoga instructor to the stars, so I was excited to take class with her. I also have a girlfriend who swears by her DVDS.  The class was a vinyasa flow class, it moved right along and gave us a chance to warm and open up our bodies. It was a basic yoga workout with a few challenging combinations, such as the eagle pose to standing split series. Kristin set herself apart from the other instructors by being one of the most encouraging and friendly instructors I have met. She consistently said, “great,” “you all look gorgeous,” and “this is beautiful,” which made me feel like I was a yoga rockstar.  The yoga was a good segway into the more intense classes to come.

The event was fully staffed, so we barely had to move a mat between classes.  In fact, men in nice black suits went to work rolling up our mats for us.  It was funny that there were a bunch of sweaty people attending the event in workout clothes and all the event coordinators looked straight out of Devil Wears Prada with the cutest dresses and 4 inch heels—that’s a compliment btw, I wish I looked that cute at work!  Or ever!

  IMG_0010

Per above, no I give myself full credit.

AeroBox

Aerobox was a throwback to my cardio kickboxing days. It was a high energy, in your face workout, that is sure to help you get out any aggression you might have inside. We went through several punch series mixed with cardio strength intervals, such as squat jumps. It was hard to get a real feel for the full class in 15 minutes. I was also a little disappointed that he didn’t explain exactly how to punch, so I at times, I was just flailing my arms as fast as I could.

IMG_0016

Per above, yes and yes.

I am going to lump the Pilates together because it seems to make sense to compare and contrast, but there was a class in between.

Real Pilates

Our first Pilates class was lead by the owner of Real Pilates. The instructor immediately set to work trying to cast aside the  apparently “stereotypical” image of Pilates, but her lecturing felt a bit patronizing. While I am sure Real Pilates was cutting edge when it opened over a decade ago, most of us have experienced Pilates with standing work and weights—Crunch Burn and Firm with Ellen Barrett anyone? She started us with knee lifts to warm us up—“see we are not on the mat,” she said. We then moved on to standing squats with weights.

What I will say is that the workout was hard.  I really couldn’t believe how much the squats with arm raises burned. It was all I could do to get through five of them. What I like best out the Real Pilates is that the instructor really emphasized form. Her corrections made a huge difference. “Make it perfect,” she commanded. By the end, I was pretty sure I had completed the hardest 15 minutes of Pilates of all time. While I didn’t really enjoy the instructor’s sense of humor and instruction style, her class is a workout.

re:AB

The second Pilates class was completely different from the first. It was led by the owner of re: AB Pilates, who explained that there are a lot of types of Pilates, but no matter what you take, you should be sweating. The class reminded me of the Pilates classes I used to take regularly at my gym when Pilates launched into popularity. We went through signature Pilates moves: the hundred, leg circles, ab curls with weights. After the intense bootcamp, it was nice change of pace. While I could also feel each muscle working during the movements, I also felt relaxed at the same time. It definitely reminded how enjoyable Pilates can be with the right instructor.

Between classes this is what we did:

IMG_0017

Basically, chillax and mingle.

    IMG_0015 

Warrior Fitness Boot Camp

Exactly what you would expect from a bootcamp—replete with men in fatigues! We were yelled at, told to start over if everyone wasn’t counting and doing the reps, and given only seconds to transition between positions! For each exercise, we counted out load until 15—the magic number.  (This often ended up being more than 15 since we often had to start over.)  The class took place in two lines, and like any good bootcamp started with jumping jacks. Next we moved to the floor for pushups. We continued alternating cardio with strength until everyone was sweaty and ready to drop. I wouldn’t say the class was fun, but it was a workout. Girly girls should pass on this one. It’s definitely a challenge and perfect if you literally want to be whipped into shape. By the end of 15 minutes, I felt like I had been through basic training! While the instructors were loud and demanding, they had a hint of a playful attitude and congratulated us at the end.

IMG_0009

Flybarre

Flybarre was a f un class that drew from Pilates, the Lotte Burke method, ballet and strength training. This class was well focused moving from body part to body part seamlessly. The arm section with weights was intense; I could hardly believe I was only lifting 3 pounds!  This class reminded me a lot of Physique and Core Fusion, so obviously was my favorite.  Another big plus was the super nice and very pretty instructors who knew we had been through 5 classes, but still made it feel fresh and energizing.  The pop music was  tailored it perfectly to the workout and we finished on the last beat of the final song. I have tried Flywheel and really liked it, so I can’t wait to check out the full Flybarre class.  I think the two workouts are perfect complements!

Overall, I was pretty impressed by the intensity of all of the works—they made 15 minutes count.  They all proved I have no arm strength and they all incorporated a fair amount of cardio.  We actually were supposed to try two more classes but after 2 hours and 20 minutes, most of were ready to go.  But I was glad to be invited because how often do you  get to try  a whole bunch of new workouts in one evening?IMG_0006

Weekend Wrap Up, Workouts, Reviews!

Wow, I feel like more has happened in the week I have been home than in the entire six month before I left.  Fortunately, a lot of it has involved two of my favorite things, fitness and friends!

I have mentioned that I am getting back into my workout routine and that it has been more difficult than I anticipated, hello sorebody!  However, I am definitely beginning to feel like myself and 30 minutes of cardio no longer kills me!  In fact, I am back to normal as of today! 

Just to recap, this weekend I went for my first official long run of the marathon training session—one down!  I met Katherine and one of her great friends for an easy 10 miles.  One full loop, plus the 4 mile loop of the park.  We took it easy and enjoyed the fact that NY Road Runners was having a long training run, replete with plenty of water stations to steal from hehe!  I was thrilled to have finished 10 miles, six longer than I had run in a month without much difficulty at all.  Especially considering I had consumed more than a couple glasses of prosecco while out with a girlfriend at Dove and Otto the night before! 

That evening I went out to try a place I have heard a lot about, but had been resistant to try: Studio Square (aka the new beer garden).  I had been resistant to try it not because it didn’t look nice (in fact it got 4 out of 5 stars in the Time Out Review), but because I have such a love and esteem for the old beer garden, and I didn’t want to cheat on it for it’s younger, chicer, hipper cousin. (photos below from google images)

Studio Square

I have to say Studio Square thoroughly impressed me.  It was packed, there must have been easily 1000 people spilling over the surround bar patio and out of the huge outdoor seating section.  I actually wasn’t sure if we could find seats.  But fortunately we did and the night involved lots of fun, meeting new friends, learning new games, and flip cup—during which we were enthusiastically cheered on by at least a hundred fellow patrons.  haha. While I do not consider myself a beer fan by any stretch of the imagination, I would definitely recommend skipping the sangria, it was way too sweet. 

IMG_0707

On a final note, the new beer garden is not replacing the old, it serves a different purpose.  If I want to wear heels and have a slightly lounge/club vibe, I will go to the new beer garden.  For a laid back, bring the (big and boisterous) family and wear flops experience, that’s beer garden classic.

YOGA ROOM REVIEW

On Sunday I woke up surprisingly full of energy, and was eager to try out The Yoga RoomI have Gena’s awesome yoga post to thank for that! The Yoga Room has two locations in Queens, and the LIC studio just moved to a gorgeous space just three blocks from my casa! I took advantage of the $10 classes open house special and signed up for Hot Yoga and Hot Bodies Pilates.  

This was the fourth Bikram class I have taken, and the first one in a few years.  The room was HOT, definitely 110!  The class had a good mix of veterans and newbies.  Bikram involves 26 poses, and you do each twice in a row.  I really enjoyed the standing series.  Interestingly enough, the standing side stretch was one of the most challenging for me.  I seemed to have plenty of strength and flexibility for all of the others, although I got wobbly at times—balance is apparently not my forte! I like the 26 poses because you can really focus on getting into the pose or focusing inward, since there is not a lot of jumping around from position to position.  That said by the time we got to the mat poses,  I was experiencing occasional bouts of boredom and wanted things to move a bit faster.  The second half involves sivasina between each pose.  Nevertheless, at the end of the class I felt longer, more limber and even a bit leaner, it was a wonderful stretch for my entire body.  I was also fairly invigorated and totally drenched in sweat, in an extremely cleansing way not a gross way.  I went to the changing room to switch outfits and get ready for Pilates.

I grabbed a free mango zico coconut water—yum, that was being given out in the lobby.  When I asked where my Pilates class would be, they said the same studio.  Wait, what?  The hot room?  Stupidly, I thought hot bodies Pilates was just a cute name for a vigorous Pilates class.  It never occurred to me that a Pilates class would be hot.  I have never heard of bikram Pilates.  I was more than a little nervous to spend 2 and  a half hours in a such a hot room, but my yoga instructor was taking the class, so I decided to just try it and see if I would be okay.  Fortunately, the Pilates class wasn’t as hot as the yoga, maybe 90 degrees. 

While I really enjoy Pilates, I don’t get the chance to take it very often, so this was a nice treat.  The class was about a fifth the size of my yoga class, so we got lots of personal attention from the instructor.  The class was pretty challenging.  We used the ring a lot, which really added to the intensity of the ab work.  I like that Pilates feels like a workout more than yoga, but I like how yoga lets you focus on something beyond the workout and get in touch with yourself and the world.  I will say that I don’t really see the need for heat in Pilates (or even yoga for that matter).  I definitely appreciate the renewing feeling and opportunity for focus that a bikram yoga class offers.  But I see it as an occasional novelty, not something that I would take on a regular basis. I do look forward to trying the non-bikram yoga and Pilates and reformer classes at the Yoga Room since you can work more intensely when you are not in such hot conditions, and consequently, drenched in sweat. 

Overall, I really enjoyed both classes, the stunning and spacious—rare in yoga–studio (will take pics next time) and friendly staff! The Yoga Room isn’t cheap, classes are $18 each, although you save a few bucks when you purchase a class card. They are offering a special of $89 for unlimited monthly classes, almost half off the regularly cost and far cheaper than the Core Fusion or Physique 57.  Speaking of P57, workout dvds have finally been released for those non-NYers, NYers (like me) that can’t afford $35 a class, or NYers that like the convenience of not having to stick to class schedules, which tend to fill up anyways!

On a final note, I always think of taking a yoga class as a way of doing something special just for myself.  I think of it as treating myself and my body really well.  I hope the Yoga Room continues to offer great specials, so that I can treat myself more often :) Sunday was definitely a great day for some “me time,” some R and R with the roomie, and settling happily back into my life in the city.

Smart Workout Review!

Today I had the opportunity to check out a gym that specializes in personal training and small “semi-private” group classes.

The gym is called Smart Workout.  It is located on 40th street between Lex and Park, which made it an easy breezy sub-fifteen minute trip from my apartment.

For a small gym, the offer a great variety of classes, pilates reformer, kickboxing, spinning, yoga, pole, a variety of dance classes, hula hoop, trampoline, strength and more.  There was also a small area with weight machines.

I was signed up for a 45 minute pilates reformer class followed by a 45 minute personal training session.

The classes are limited to 4-5 people, and my pilates class was full.  It was actually my first time doing pilates reformer, so I was really excited to finally try it.  I have always really enjoyed mat pilates, but haven’t taken it since I moved and canceled my NYSC membership.  I think pilates is something that small classes are very good for because it is easy to think you are doing a move right, but just a small adjustment by the instructor can may a huge difference.  While I interned at Self, a private instructor would come give pilates classes once a week, and I quickly learned how challenging pilates could be when you were in the right position.  Anyways, Meghan the reformer instructor at Smart Workout was great.  She explained things very clearly and with great visuals.  I was more challenged by the reformer than I thought I would be.  You are always working several muscle groups to stablize and move either your body or the machine.  I didn’t realize how many props were involved, there is a bar, weights, straps, and a box, and you use the little reformer in all different ways, lying on your back, on your stomach, sitting up facing front, lying on your back with legs in table top.  The class flew by and I enjoyed every minute of it–and there wasn’t even music!  I have always been more of a pilates girl than a yoga girl and I am excited that I now have reformer under my repetorie.

Next up was my personal training session.  My instructor’s name was Meghan, different Meghan than the first one!  She was full of energy and enthusiasm from the moment we shook hands.  She said we could do any kind of workout I wanted to do, within the format: 5 minute warm up, 20 minutes cardio, 25 minutes strength and 5 minutes stretch.  I said I was up for anything, I just wanted it to be HARD.  She then asked me if I had areas I wanted to work in particular.  I said yes, the areas I most want to tone are my hips, thighs and glutes, and under arm area and calves.

She turned on some great tunes and we were off.  She did the cardio part with me, which was kickboxing.  I find kickboxing to be really fun, kind of Rocky meets Billy Blanks.  In fact, she played this song, which I liked so much I just downloaded: Ain’t Nothing Wrong With That ny Robert Rudoulph and the Family Band 

I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect from a personal trainer.  I was half expecting a very Jillian approach, replete with choice phrases like ” i want you to feel like you are going to die” or ” you should be gargling your heart by now.” But Meghan was actually really friendly, enthusiastic and focused on how I was feeling.  After every move she asked me how it felt. It wasn’t as intense as I had imagined, but I definitely learned some things about my form that will be very useful.

The strength portion was fairly standard, squats, lunges, arms with weights, some abs.  It was nice having someone correct my form throughout, and it was nice that it wasn’t embarrassing since no one else was around.  I hate being called out in group classes.  I also liked having the chance to ask lots of questions.  I learned that lunges and squats are really the best exercises for the lower body and high intensity cardio intervals are best for body fat reduction. 

I also learned a  new ab move.  It isolates the lower abs.  You lie on your back with both legs bent in 90 degree on top (not on the sides) of an exercise ball. You squeeze the ball toward your butt between your calves and hamstrings and reverse crunch in.  This was really effective. Here is a great description.

Incledon%20Ch8_img_10m

SmartWorkout has a variety of membership, day pass and party package options.  

  • Annual membership: $245 intiation and $145 a month or $1585 for 14 months prepaid membership
  • Six week shape up-12 45-minute personal training sesions and 12 classes for $1100
  • Day pass-six for $210
  • Fitness party $1400 for 3 hours with 5 trainers and a new class every 45 minutes
  • Pole party: $360 for 2 hours of pole fun for up to 12 guests aka “the divorce is final party”

Sadly the never-ending rain meant the Blogger Hike had to be canceled since slippery muddy rocks and rain does not for happy hikers make.  Sorry ladies :( So instead, I have to get ready for the Blogger Brunch.

Oh, last night I saw The Proposal with a friend.   I was nervous it was going to be really bad, but since it was a midnight movie, I didn’t think I could handle anything too intense or thought provoking. 

If you ignore the fact that the premise, plot, character’s decisions and the outcome are completely unrealistic in everyway, the movie is pretty funny and totally enjoyable if you are just there for the ride.  There are some great lines and funny scenes and Alaska is gorgeous, but it is really hard to buy how ridiculous the storyline is, but I won’t spoil it for those who want to see it.  Go see it, if you are just in the mood for fun. 

 

Hardcore Yoga for runners

This was a great question I recently got on the blog, and sometimes I really get into researching the questions and like to do a whole post.  I was a history major, it is in my blood!

Here is the fabulous question:

I’ve noticed that you do a fair amount of yoga.  I am a runner (like you) and a spinner, but want to start to incorporate more yoga into my routine. Which studio(s)  do you prefer in the city?  Oh, and I should say I still want my yoga to be a good workout

In looking at yoga studios or classes, you want to look for vinyasa, power, jivamukti, hot yoga flow, or vinyasa flow in the title or description.  These types of classes move more quickly through the poses and have more jumping, which really gets the heart rate up.  While hatha, ashantaga, and lyengar can be challenging because they require lots of strength and balance.  I tend to lose focus and get bored when I have to stay in a pose for too long, and I never really feel like I got a workout.

My answer:  I do some yoga, but I have never been truly addicted to yoga. I really really wanted to be, but while there have been amazing classes, I never felt the same way about yoga as I do about spinning, running, pilates, Physique 57 type classes or dancing.

But there is something about yoga that keeps me coming back, wanting to try and find the perfect class, so it has an attraction that is special in its own rite. 

Balancing running with something that lengthens the muscles is really important to me because running shortens and tightens the muscle more than almost any other cardio exercise.  And I need all the length I can get.  While stretching is great, I like to take an extra step to keep things loose and fluid.

Also, I totally agree that I want yoga to be my workout, there is often just  not enough time to take a 90 minute yoga class and get in a run.

So with that said I will give you some of the best yoga classes I have taken and some of the ones I have heard are highly recommended.  And I will give you some non-yoga ideas to get the stretch, strength and many of the mental benefits of yoga while also getting in a great workout.

My favorite yoga classes to date:

Jivamukti open classes.  A Jivamukti open was the first yoga class, where I really felt worked out and sore.  I have never had a bad class there, but some instructors are much better than others. My friend Heather is a long time jivamukti fan–whose fitness opinion has never lead me wrong–says that two best instructors are Jeff S. and Ruth…that’s it!

Laughing Lotus-midnight yoga and Edward’s Yoga Lotus Flow 2/3. 

I will say that I had a really good class at Om, but it was an easier level class, and I can’t attest to their higher level classes, but I bet they are really good.

Outside recommendations:

Yoga Effects. I had one very good class here, but it is not convenient location wise and I would like to take another class before personally endorsing it.  But Betsy loves Yoga Effects and she is a hard core girl and fabulous runner.  So I do recommend trying it.

I am very curious to try Sonic Yoga. They were the city search reader favorite for Best Yoga 2009 and apparently their level 2 class is KILLER! So that is on my list of places to check out soon.

According to NYMAG the hardest yoga is the following (this review is hilarious):

Hardest Yoga
Pantajali Yoga Shala
430 Broome Street
One word: Madonna. The Material Mom may prefer house calls, but devotees of her favorite style — Mysore ashtanga — practice at the SoHo satellite of the Mysore, India ashram. (Classes sold in sets of 12; curiosity-seekers not welcome.)

The best Bikram Studio is supposed to be Bikram Yoga Union Square. I have heard good things from friends and I am eager to try it. Bikram NYC didn’t really impress me.

Here is a review from the AP:  Bikram Yoga Union Square is also known as hot yoga gets a lot of flack for being “unyogi” like, but there’s many devoted students of this intense and sweaty yoga. Honestly, this is the best workout you will ever get in your life. Geared for more type A personalities; I am sure even professional Athletes will find the 90 minute classes challenging. The studio is a spacious loft with a locker room filled with shower stalls. You are going to need it after practicing in 105 degree heated room.

So those are my recommendations for yoga.  How else do I get my Om on downward dog free?

Pilates-I really ENJOY pilates. It is a good workout, and does a decent job of stretching me out and it tones my muscles.

NYC Ballet Workout-My book is falling apart! I have had it forever and it has traveled overseas with me twice.  It is wonderful to get the mental focus of yoga while strengthening, lengthening, toning and slimming your muscles. Bonus:within days of doing the stretch section, I become three times more limber, no lie! I also have the second dvd, which is good, but I typically use the book.

Core Fusion DVD:  I am really falling in love with this dvd.  It combines a lot of yoga elements to make it a centering experience, but also a killer workout.  It combines strength and stretch in a way that increases lean muscle, which helps you burn more calories at rest-score!  I think the dvd is even more holistically based than the class, and you get a free class with the dvd, so you can decide for yourself which is the best for you.

I know it can be hard to clear your head and find calm in the city.  I actually find just turning off my (beloved) ipod when I am walking or on the subway can give me a much clearer head space to think, day dream, bring attention, and work things out.  It’s weird but it works for me!

Hope that helps! Anyone who has additional recommendations feel free to add them!

Weekly Workout Wrap Up

Monday: Pilates at Crunch

Tuesday: Yoga at Yoga Sutra+ 40 block walk to yoga studio. For the record, I passed 6 Mister Softee’s on the way to the studio, but since we are in an open relationship, I decided not to smother him :)

Wednesday:

5 mile run+Zumbanda workout video (just felt like dancing and this is an easy one).

The run was not the NYRR Anniversary run I was so excited about. Things kind of crumbled and there was a lot of miscommunication, but it’s a looong story, so I’ll spare you! I ended up doing the run on the NYU Rooftop track. Normally the thought of running on a track is pretty hellacious to me, but the dark muggy gym was even more so, plus I was hankering for a run! It was far more pleasant than I anticipated and I had it to myself for most of the time, save a few boys who did a few quick laps and an old crazy guy.

On a side note, the track felt so nice on my legs, so much better than concrete or the treadmill. I might have to use it more often. In general grass, a track, dirt or sand (which is awesome for burning extra calories and toning your legs FAST) are more gentle on the knees and legs than pavement, treadmills or other hard surfaces.

Thursday: Morning workout: 45 elliptical, and 20 minutes of ab and leg work. Using the ball, stability board and lots of lunges.

Friday: Morning workout: 45 minutes elliptical, 15 minute run. 100 squats. 40 block walk and then an AMAZING midnight yoga class at Laughing Lotus. So Friday night I went out to have dinner with my girlfriends, and fellow marathon runners. They were both getting up in the morning, one to do a 40 mile bike, one hour run in prep for an Iron Man, the other to do a 6 mile race and an hour long Pilates class. Needless to say, when you have friends who are really into fitness you feel slightly more normal, say, spending your Friday night doing yoga. I have actually always wanted to do the midnight class at Laughing Lotus (10pm-12AM), despite wondering who would be there. Super yogis? People in AA trying to avoid the bars? Losers? Me? Anyways, it seemed like a good opportunity, so I stuck leggings and a tank top in my bag, just in case. We finished dinner at Cafe Deville around 9:45, so I had just enough time to get to the class. After a moment of considering meeting up with friends at the Beer Garden (flip cup can be a workout :)) I decided to seize the moment and get over feeling like a huge dork. I am glad I did. I really enjoyed the class and the people were pretty normal.

I realized I had been afraid to take more challenging level classes because I don’t really consider myself a yogi and I didn’t think I was ready. But I really enjoy classes that challenge me, and it’s okay if I can do all the crazy handstands and things, I can try! Plus, I definitely have the stamina to keep up with the fast-paced classes and lots of jumping…my favorite. I am also fine at anything involving back bends (thanks to years of gymnastics), so really it’s the poses and inversions that require lots of upper body strength that I need to work on! Yay, beginner no more!

Saturday: 7.5 mile run to Astoria Park and back+40 block walk. I love this place, even though it’s a much longer run from my new apartment, I think it is worth the effort. I am not sure if it is because it was one of my first “discoveries”when I moved to Queens from Manhattan, but I adore it.

I love the MASSIVE pool with the super old-fashioned triple decker diving board and sprinkler pool, plus the 50 meter and 16 lane main pool! I lifeguarded for 7 years, and even I would be intimidated to guard there! I also love that it was built as a public work during the depression.

So I payed homage to the pool and stopped for a second to watch the filming of a movie. I couldn’t figure out what it was, but there was a few trailers, tons of equipment, and a large crew that was melting in 100 degree weather. I ran back along the water, which was moving pretty quickly for a calm day!
I actually prepared for my run remembering to put on sunscreen and bring my metrocard in case of emergencies. I even dressed the part, wearing my race ready spandex shorts, so I could stash my key, card and one of the bottles from my fuel belt–which I left at home. I actually could have used more water, so perhaps I will wear my fuelbelt next time.

Dressing the part isn’t a bad tip, it kept me running. I didn’t want to be seen wearing spandex (hate it), sweating like a pig and walking :)
Sunday: Total lazy day, the dry heat from yesterday has been replaced by serious humidity. I think that paired with a late night at the bars last night has made me a bit tired. So I did a very relaxed 40 minutes on the elliptical after dinner. Just kind of cycled around while watching ENews!

Exciting news, I was so disappointed about missing Masala Bhangra on Monday, and I guess someone from Crunch read the post because they emailed me inviting me back to actually attend. I CAN’T wait. Thank you so much Crunch. Good things come to those who blog.
xoxo Meliss

Pilates Mat at Crunch/Vinyasa at Yoga Sutra

Okay, let me start this post by saying that I had been looking forward to taking Masala Bhangra at the 13th Street Crunch for weeks! I was literally dying to take it. I took the mini class at Self Workout in the Park, and loved every single second. It is at the addiction level of spinning. Basically it’s like a big Indian Wedding vibe, but you’re more doing a Bollywood-esque dance. It’s an incredible cardio workout, but your having so much fun, it’s almost unfair to say it’s a workout.

So what happened? I am basically an idiot. I was planning to get to Crunch for the 6:15 MB class at 13th street, but I thought I knew where the 13th street Crunch was, so I didn’t look it up or anything. I arrived at the gym, showed my free guest pass, sat through about 10 minutes of the speil by the membership rep, and took a tour of the gym, when I mentioned the class, the rep looked at me blankly. Suddenly I realized that I was at the wrong place. I came to find I was at the Union Square location–for the record the 13th Street location is much closer to Union Square than the Union Square location. So I didn’t get to go the class but I put a link to a 7 minute video of Sarina J’s class below, there are a ton of them on youtube. Plus, here is an article on Sarina from Cooking Light.

So I was at the gym and ready to go, so the rep suggested the Pilates class. I got the last spot on the list, and although I was a bit disappointed, the rep assured me the class was really intense.

He wasn’t kidding. The class was like Pilates on steroids. Ridiculous! The instructor Tina Thompson was super energetic. Every move was done at an incredibly high pace and with endless reps. Tina would say 20 more, and as soon as we got to 20, she would say 20 more, this happened three or four times for each move. Clearly math was not her best subject. So we did over 100 reps of a lot of moves. I actually found this really annoying, if I have 200 reps left I would like to know that rather than hearing 10 and knowing that I am no where near the end and the number has zero significance.

None of the moves were the Pilates moves I knew, but it was definitely an incredible workout. I am surprised my abs aren’t killing me today! We did over 200 butterfly kicks while having our upperbody lifted with arms overhead and went directly into 100 leg drops! There was also weights and plates to really work the arms. One of the moves was doing a push up on the weights then jumping legs out and back. By the end of the second arm move, it was all I could do to support myself in plank position.

I did fairly well in the class, I never made it through all the reps of any move, but I did better than most. No one was able to do everything. I definitely left feeling the burn. I will say that the studio was like a sauna, at first I thought it was Bikram Pilates or something, but someone did suggest we turn on the fans, which helped a bit. I mean I was sweating five minutes into the class!

I would definitely recommend Crunch as a gym. There are plenty of locations in Manhattan and tons of great classes. The gyms are nice (not super posh, but more than serviceable)and the staff is incredibly friendly and helpful. Memberships are around $100 a month.

Since my yoga class at Yoga Sutra was not to exciting, I’ll give a quick recap. The studio had a great reception area with a cute shop and lounge space. But it had no where to change! Everyone was shoved in a hallway, trying to wriggle in and out of clothes in a tiny space. -5 for bad karma!

The studio itself was nice and the 6:00 class was very full. I arrived early, even though I thought I was going to be late. As I mentioned, I grew up in a family that firmly believes that if you are on time, you are 5 minutes late, so the mere thought of being late sent me into a panic, and I practically sprinted the 40 blocks from work, making it to the studio in a record 25 minutes.

The staff was nice, but the instructor was late so I had to lie around on the mat for longer than I would like. I was thinking about the emails I could be sending if I could just go grab my blackberry from my bag, but I tried to remember where I was and focus on less material things. Namaste Melissa!

Finally the class started. It was a beginner/intermediate vinyasa class, but it was the easiest yoga I have ever taken. The class was fine, a great hour and 20 minute stretch.

But
-it did not bring me any closer to being a yogi
-it definitely didn’t feel like a workout, but I guess that’s not the point

However
-I did feel much longer and leaner when I left
-I still feel well stretched and all the back pain and tightness I have felt lately are gone
-my friend says the lyengar classes are really good
-it was free

So I am still on my quest to find the perfect yoga studio for me, but I have not written off yoga benefits by any means.

Also Betsy recommended a place called Yoga Effects, which was pretty awesome, possible my yoga nirvana. Another reader recommended Prana Power Yoga, which I have to try–the schedule just isn’t the best for me!

Workout like(with) a guy!

Sorry if I have been totally MIA. I have been so busy with school and volunteering, that I haven’t gotten home before 9pm all week!

It has definitely hurt my workout schedule. I actually went to the gym at 11:00pm on Tuesday! I haven’t done that in long time. I always play Smile at You by Fleetwood Mac for the line run from the darkenss. haha

Working out this late is good and bad. I am all amped up for a few hours, so I can study or clean until 1 or 2 without crashing. But it does make it harder to wake up. It also can make me pretty hungry, so I have to practice serious self-control to keep my calories from adding up to a full fourth meal.

Anyways, my tip this week would be to try working out with a guy. I worked out with a co-worker this week, and I got a whole new routine and kickass workout. Plus you tend to be a bit competitive when you workout with a partner, push yourself a bit harder.

So this was our workout.

  • 30 minute treadmill run at 7mph.
  • 10 minutes on the rower.
  • 15 minutes on the elliptical.
  • Final five minute push on the rower with underhand grip.
  • Abs on the balls.

Good stuff! A good solid 60 minutes of cardio feels good and switching up the machines allows go to keep your speed up without getting bored.
In other news I went back to Exhale and did the harder Core Fusion class. I have to say, it’s not for me, sorry exhale lovers! It is a really good Pilates/strength/yoga combo, but their just isn’t enough cardio-like elements for my taste. I like more on the barre and less on the mat. However, the spa is gorgeous, and I love the Green Dragon clothes they sell. But for a kick as workout, I am going to stick with Physique 57 for now.

Next up to try: Prana Power Yoga and Laughing Lotus.