Life is in the details, so I’m glad I took some time to remind myself of the little things that don’t necessarily come up in passing conversation.
What started as one gym in Sydney in 2013 has grown to over 850 studios in 22 different countries and “coming soon” locations popping up constantly. So why are so many people drinking the F45 Kool Aid?
In December, I signed up for my first half IRONMAN race - in Wilmington, North Carolina on October 13, 2018.
When I clicked register - I knew there was a chance that I wouldn’t make it to the start line. Either a work trip would come along that I had to be at, or my legs (shins) wouldn’t get me through the training. What I really wanted was a summer spent swimming, biking and running with my friends who had agreed to sign up with me.
I was excited for free outdoor lap swimming at NYC pools, Saturday long rides up 9W and on Long Island, and getting myself back to weekend running and brunching with friends. Even if I didn’t become a (half) IRON(wo)MAN I knew that if I enjoyed the training, it would have been worth it.
When I train for something – I tend to get tunnel vision. This 70.3 race consumed most of my spare time and mental energy from June up until yesterday. I did what I had to do to stick as closely to my training plan (this one) as possible – weekend plans meant Thursday morning long bike rides before coming into the office. Monday rest days were sacred. Foam rolling was a daily occurrence. I convinced myself that tart cherry juice was helping with inflammation and I submitted myself to 4 weeks in a row of acupuncture even though I’m terrified of needles.
I swam farther than I had ever swam before (and cried tears of joy) and found myself more and more comfortable in the pool. I biked further than I had every biked before. I PR’d Harlem Hill multiple times. I surprised myself on every transition run off the bike. I showed restraint on my weekly running mileage.
Overall, I trained 1,000 + miles and I continued to tell myself throughout the 14 weeks that THIS was the accomplishment. Whether I made it to the start line and whether or not I crossed the finish line, I was so grateful for 4 months of discipline and dedication and purpose and pride.
I was so grateful for 60 miles on Long Island with my best friends followed by yacht club beers with my parents. I was so grateful for open water swim practice while on family vacation at the lake. I was so grateful for the people of Clinton, NY who found me a bike to train with while I was in town for work. I was so grateful for the Friday night run to the pool followed by dinner and drinks. I was so grateful for a return to morning park loops with Tiffanie. I was so grateful for the once a week F45 training with Abby when I just didn’t want to swim bike or run for once (not as grateful for the box jump injury resulting in my shin being Steri-stripped shut). I was so grateful for vibrating foam rollers and compression leggings and the discovery of Asser Levy Pool at sunset.
So when our North Carolina IRONMAN was cancelled last Monday because of Hurricane Florence, I was in a bit of a dazed disbelief, but I was also telling myself that it was OK. That the 1000 miles I trained were more of an accomplishment than the 70.3 on race day. And I still 100% believe that’s true. That’s what I’ll continue to be most proud of.
But I also didn’t want to be robbed of the proof that my training had worked. That all those hours could get me from start to finish of a 70.3 distance triathlon.
On Friday I happened to see a post on the North Carolina race page that MightyMan Montauk was offering $40 off registration to anyone who could show they had been registered for North Carolina. The race was on Sunday and they offered a half Ironman distance option.
I texted my friends asking, “Is this crazy?” And their response of “Yes, but I’m totally in” is why I love them. I booked a hotel at 5 PM on Friday. I packed a bag Friday night. I got some sleep, woke up Saturday morning, got myself on a train, and at 3 PM I was in Montauk.
I walked myself, my bike and my massive backpack the mile to registration, paid my $200 cash, and was officially signed up 20 minutes prior to packet pick-up closing.
I continued the .5 mile walk to Atlantic Terrace, checked-in, and was told that there would be a wedding happening outside our room until 11 PM. Grrrreat.
Next I walked to IGA, bought a banana, walked to Herb’s, got a chicken cutlet/cheddar/avocado/spinach sandwich on a roll, took a picture of the beach, shaved my legs, put my race tattoos on, organized my stuff and crawled into bed where I sat listening to Armchair Expert until 9.
I also eavesdropped on the maid of honor and best man speeches of the wedding – they weren’t that great. Around 9 I turned off the lights, popped a melatonin and dozed off until Abby and Annelise arrived at around 1 AM.
That’s right, 1 AM. They’re the crazy ones.
We got settled, they filled out the registration paperwork so it would be ready to go in the morning, and we all fell into bed. 3 hours and 45 minutes later, our alarms were going off and it was GO TIME.
I got dressed:
-Favorite Sports Bra
-Voler Tri Shorts
-Wet Suit Legs on, arms tied around my waist
-Garmin (life changing realizing I could wear it for the swim!)
Downed some Stumptown canned cold brew, triple checked my bag, body glided the neck and ankles, triple tried to poop (and failed) and we were out the door by 5:15.
It was a half mile walk to Fort Pond transition area where Abby and Annelise registered and got tatted up. The sky was starting to lighten as we made our way to the second transition area and laid out everything we would need for the run (the course had officially changed on Friday when they announced that they couldn’t hold the swim at Fort Pond due to algae levels – just another wrinkle).
I ate half of my PB banana wrap, gathered everything I would need for the swim/bike and we set off on our bikes (in wetsuits and flip flops) to the swim start/transition one at Navy Beach. It was about a 3-mile bike ride and we were feeling warmed up.
At Navy Beach we racked our bikes, set up what we would need to transition from swim to bike, got our timing chips and most importantly, Abby braided my hair and gave my wetsuit a loopy hookeroo.
The entire time a woman was on the microphone going over the different swim courses and I was just getting more and more confused. We donned our hot pink swim caps and headed towards the water where we asked multiple people, “Do you know where we are supposed to turn?” The general consensus was just keep the buoys on your left at all times which seemed simple enough (foreshadowing – it was not simple).
Everything had moved so quickly that morning that I hadn’t really had time to freak out at the fact that the water was pretty choppy looking.
What I liked about the swim start was that we just waded into the water up to our chest and once they said go, people went as they pleased – once you crossed the buoy your timing chip activated. It was a lot less stressful than a jump start, though there was still a lot of kicking and splashing as people got started.
I had just figured I would follow the hot pink swim caps and figure out the course, but it was evident pretty quickly that most of the pink swim caps were going to be wayyyy ahead of me. I felt the familiar feelings of “oh my God I can’t do this” and then I looked around and for the first time realized that these were no joke WAVES and they were not cyclical, rolling waves – they were choppy waves coming from all different directions and crashing into each other and rolling you around and making buoy spotting next to impossible. My mindset was “I have an hour to get this done – until they force me out, I’m going to keep trying.”
At one point, I looked up and saw Annelise next to me and felt so much relief. Then I saw that she was struggling too and tried to calm us both down.
It was chaos out there – and because they had used the backup swim plan, I felt like most of the lifeguards on paddle boards and jet skis were also confused as to what colored caps were supposed to be swimming where. At one point I was swimming into oncoming swimmers which yes, seemed wrong in retrospect, but I was keeping the buoys on my left like they had said! One of the lifeguards started aggressively screaming at me, telling me to stop backstroking and swim, and generally acting like I WANTED to be swimming off course. It was ridiculous.
Luckily, at that point in the swim Abby and I had found each other and though we were one of only a few pink swim caps left in the vicinity, as long as I had her in my sights I felt OK. We somehow navigated to the turn buoy (me, entirely by backstroking and looking at the sky and trying to calm myself down and swallowing giant mouthfuls of salt water as waves crashed over me) and thankfully once we turned all those waves were pushing us into shore and I could finally put my swimming to use. I settled into a pattern of 10 backstrokes, 21 freestyle, sight, 10 backstrokes, 21 freestyle, sight.
The times I was actually swimming were definitely the best I’ve done in open water. I could exhale this time without panicking about the fact that it was pitch black.
The closer we got to the swim exit the more crowded and stressful it got but I swam as much as I could instead of standing and running on the rock bottom and dragged myself up onto the shore. I like to think I made this look partially more graceful than the others around me not used to rocky bottom swim exits. Thanks, North Shore!
1.2 Mile SWIM: 44:48
I knew Abby was close behind me so I took my time in transition so that we could head out on the bike ride together. I ate the second half of my wrap, put on my arm sleeves, put on my socks and bike shoes, made sure all my things were in my bag so that the race people could transport it back to Fort Pond bag check, put on my sunglasses, did the hokey pokey, turned myself about. Me, Abby and Annelise set off – “Just like any other Saturday ride!” I told myself.
Transition 1: 8:17
The first 15 miles of the bike were awesome. I felt really really good. I ate a date at mile 10 and was cruisin’ even up the very hilly straightaway to the lighthouse. The hills were hard and numerous but I was handling them well mentally. And seeing the lighthouse was so nice and memory inducing!
But around mile 15 I started to get the familiar post-swim cramps. These were like NYC Tri x 128390. I couldn’t sit up straight, I couldn’t take a full breath in, I felt like I was being stabbed in the side and back and stomach and my chest was tight. I honestly started to question if something was seriously wrong.
Abby passed me and I told her what was up and that I was just hoping sometime over the next three hours, the pain would go away.
Even though it was the last thing I wanted to do – I knew I had to keep drinking and eating if I ever wanted to make it through the rest of the race – even though my stomach felt so so awful.
The cramping was really bad for about 45 minutes and then it eased up a little but I couldn’t get out of my head telling myself that there was no way I was going to be able to run.
I knew that thought was not at all useful and I needed to just focus on the bike. I never found the rhythm I had had for the first 15 miles and I knew I was going much slower than most of my training rides. I’m very bad at self-motivating on the bike – if I’m next to someone I can keep up, if I’m alone on a highway – not so easy to get my RPMs up.
This was a course where you were alone a lot.
But I kept going, kept eating a date every 10 miles, had half an RX bar in the last 10 miles, and swapped out my water bottle at the halfway point.
I knew Abby wasn’t too far ahead of me and I kept telling myself to reach her so we could run together but my legs just weren’t having it. Eventually, the bike was over and I ran to my rack where Abby was finishing up her transition and checked on my cramp status which was definitely better than when she had seen me on the bike but also not great.
57 Mile BIKE: 3:33:29 (15.7 MPH)
She headed out and I followed behind, after changing my socks and putting on my sneakers. Last minute I decided to run with my phone in my Spibelt because I fully expected the cramps to make this a loooong, slow, walk-filled half marathon with possible phone calls crying to my parents. I left transition and started the run, clutching a melted half of an RX bar in one hand.
Transition 2: 4:11
I ran with Abby’s advice in mind – run each mile and only think about that mile. I just concentrated on getting to each aid station, where I allowed myself to stop, drink, and walk to the garbage can before starting to run again. My first mile split was 8:25 which was much slower than my usual transition runs but I figured that was safe and smart.
Stomach was feeling OK, right shin was hurting, left glute pain that I’d been worried about seemed numb – all systems were go and I breathed a sigh of relief knowing that the next two hours were by no means going to be easy but that this was possible and I was going to make it happen.
By the second aid station I realized that Abby was coming from behind me because she had stopped to use a porto potty at a construction site (so resourceful) and I breathed a huge sigh of relief that we could run together.
I had been entering a head space that I did not want to be in – due in part to a lonely bike ride and the almost entirely crowd-supportless course.
We agreed that there was no need to run up “Murder Hill” or any of the other vertical incline hills that the race creators for some reason decided to include on the run course. It was seriously unreal. 806 feet of elevation climb on a run course?! You’ve gotta be kidding me. We had trained for a 56-mile bike ride with less elevation gain.
Even with Abby beside me, there were times I started telling myself that I didn’t want to keep going. That this was stupid hard and I should never have signed up. That I should just walk. That I couldn’t keep up with her. Mainly, I just kept thinking, “I want this to be over, I want this to be over.” And – “HOLY HELL MY ARM PITS ARE CHAFING SO MUCH.”
I don’t know what would have happened if I didn’t have Abby next to me step after step. In true Abby fashion - steadfast, strong, positive, realistic, random (refusal to put down her orange) – I just kept doing what she was doing and I knew we’d make it.
She waited for my two porto potty stops (there was some GI distress happening), we walked the hills, we drank 6890 tiny cups of water, we cringed at the thought of any form of sustenance, we said things like “single digits left!” and “5K left!” and “this straightaway is going to suck but then it’s going to be the best!” and “Shalane and Emma to the finish!”
And when we crossed the finish line together, it was the sweatiest, happiest, proudest hug ever with maybe some tears - I don’t really know, everything was a little blurry.
13.1 Mile RUN: 2:09:34
We got our medals and towels (which were not soaking wet and cold like I had hoped but still very nice towels) and gave Annelise big sweaty hugs and walked over to the food table where I demolished many many pieces of watermelon which was everything I didn’t know I had been waiting for.
We zombie walked around for a little, took some photo booth pics, took some phone pics, called my dad, got some popcorn (also a great post race snack – yum salt), got our bags, got our bikes and walked back to the hotel.
Things to note: my swim cap smelled like straight up seafood stew. Yuck. I somehow ripped two big holes in my $300 wetsuit. Wonderful. I was very sunburnt. It was a perfect day weather wise! I was proud that I kept myself sufficiently hydrated and fed. I was never hungry and I was peeing clear all day (this is what you get when you read a race recap, sorry).
Overall the race was fairly well organized – the bike and run courses were clearly marked to differentiate between the Olympic and Half distance races. I liked that everything was super close to where we were staying. I liked that it was a small race that kept things from seeming overwhelming.
I didn’t like that the swim was so chaotic, the bike course was almost entirely unsupported in terms of water/mechanics/etc., and there was no crowd support. Oh, and like I said, the run course was just stupid difficult. I would consider doing this course as an Olympic in the future though!
After we all showered we got food at Gig Shack (burger, fries, beet and goat cheese salad, hummus platter with mushrooms, endive, candied macadamia nuts, parsnips – it was phenom) where there was live music and outdoor seating.
Next stop was Montauk Brewery (so glad to have finally made it there!) and there double IPA was so so good. Last stop for the day was John’s (duh) for ice cream (Peanut Butter Blast) and a frozen chocolate covered banana (there’s always money in the banana stand).
Abby, again, is a crazy, wonderful human and drove Annelise and I back to our apartments before driving back to her house late last night.
I don’t remember falling asleep it happened so instantaneously.
Nothing about yesterday's 70.3 was how I had pictured it in my head since I signed up 10 months ago.
There was no careful taper - I spent the week before the race working 12+ hour days on my feet, eating chicken tenders and drinking copious amounts of wine (in what was the most fulfilling work week of my life to date, so no regrets!)
There was no time to stress about my outfit, to carefully pack my bags and to triple check my to-do lists. There wasn’t even time to MAKE a to-do list. 15 hours after seeing that MightyMan Montauk was offering day of registration and a discount for those whose Ironman NC 70.3 race had been cancelled, I was on a train.
There was no expo and practice open water swim and big race night dinner with my friends. I ate a deli sandwich alone at the hotel while a wedding raged outside my window and my friends drove through the night to arrive at 1 am.
We we're supposed to have a down-stream fast channel swim and a flat bike and run course. We got a chaotic ocean swim (ok it was a bay but it opens up into the OCEAN), a hilly bike, and a run with so many hills I stopped counting.
I was supposed to finish with two other incredible women who supported me and pushed me and trained 1000+ miles with me. Knowing that Kayla couldn’t be there and that the unexpectedly wavy swim course rattled Annelise definitely changed the celebratory mood that we had all dreamed of and worked towards. They trained just as hard and are more than capable and beyond prepared to go the same distance.
But there are silver linings to every changed plan.
I had no time to doubt myself or to panic. I felt like this race was truly just a chance to give my training a shot in a scenario where I otherwise wouldn't have gotten to race at all.
It cut training short when I was starting to feel burnt out anyway and it came after a week of relatively low mileage since I had been away for work.
There were no delayed flights or lost bags - just a train ride to one of my favorite places.
I got to complete my first 70.3 on the island that I love so much - I felt comfortable and at home.
And i got to run 13.1 miles with my best friend - something I haven't done since 2016.
Without you by my side for every step Abby- those last two hours would have been a lot less pretty. But your experience and steady determination kept me going and smiling and crossing the finish line with you was a definite life highlight.
To everyone who has exclusively heard me talk about 70.3 training for the past 4 months ITS OVER and I'm sorry I’ve been a broken record and thank you for listening.
(And no, I’m not ready to sign up for a full!!!)
As someone who travels 5-6 months out of the year for work, I've seen the full spectrum of hotel gyms.
I've been in a 6x6 room with just a treadmill and elliptical and I've also been in massive fitness centers with rowers, pools, medicine balls, spin bikes, sliders and resistance bands.
Is it frustrating to be trapped at a hotel with a shitty gym for 2 weeks? Absolutely. But it's also a fun challenge to come up with creative workouts that use minimal equipment in unconventional ways.
I'm lucky that I have some great friends/coworkers and when we join our fitness minds together, we can come up with some killer workouts!
Now I actually look forward to developing these workouts. I write them up the night before so that I don't have to think about anything in the morning. Just need to get up and get it done.
Here's one that Sabrina and I collaborated on in Annapolis - using just a bench for a total body workout! You don't even need weights to get in a major sweat - but there's always the option to add dumbbells if you want to many of these exercises.
- Hands Elevated Mountain Climbers (example)
- Hands Elevated Push-Up (example)
- Shoulders Elevated Hamstring Walk (example)
- Feet Elevated Donkey Kick (example)
- Plyo Pushup to Plank Transfer (example)
- Hands Elevated Burpee (example)
- Bench Squat Sit Jumps (example)
- Split Squats (example) *add a hop at the top if you're feeling crazy (example)!
- Feet Elevated Push-Up (example)
- Feet Elevated Mountain Climbers (example)
- Step Ups (example)
- Tricep Dips (example) *IT ME!
- Reverse Crunch (example)
There are a number of ways to structure the workout. Personally, I did each exercise for 10 reps and went through the circuit 4X. You could also do:
Exercise #1 for :30, Rest :10 - Repeat 4X
Exercise #2 for :30, Rest :10 - Repeat 4X
Etc. through Exercise #13
Exercise #1 for :30, Rest :10
Exercise #2 for :30, Rest :10
Exercise #3 for :30, Rest :10
All the way through Exercise #13, then repeat 4X
The options are endless!
The hope is that one day I'll figure out how to photograph/film these workouts so that I don't have to use examples from the most random sources on the internet! But until then...this is the best I can do.
If you want some more difficult bench exercises - watch this video from Men's Health that showcases 57 bench exercises! A lot of them are in this workout - but there are also a number that I was a little intimidated to attempt.
What's your favorite exercise using the bench? Let me know in the comments!
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Once upon a time I wrote mainly about running and workout classes and restaurant reviews. Lately, all I've done is write about my travels - running isn't a thing I've done much for the past year+
It's a touchy subject.
But how about something new? How about a "These Are a Few of My Favorite Things" post? Also known as "Loving Lately," or "Fave Finds." Call it what you will - I'm just going to ramble about a bunch of things I've been feelin' these days and catching you back up with my real-life here in NYC (as opposed to work-life and travel-life!)
I've read some DAMN GOOD books lately.
The Fiddler In The Subway by Gene Weingarten
One of my neighbors put a bunch of old books they were getting rid of in our lobby and I randomly scooped this one up. It was one of the best things I've ever read.
The book is a collection of feature stories written by Washington Post journalist Gene Weingarten. The subjects are all over the map - but each story is brilliantly written, insightful, creative, clever, moving. I cannot explain how incredible Gene Weingarten's writing is.
As a journalism undergrad, I'm disappointed I was never made to read this book because I honestly think that it would be convinced me to continue down the path towards becoming a writer.
Please pick up this book! It's great because you can just read one story at a time - not too much comittment!
When I was younger, you couldn't find me without a book. I brought books out to family dinners - sat in a booth at a noisy restaurant and just kept on reading.
Nowadays, there's not as much time for uninterrupted, full-on face-in-a-book reading. But with Beartown - I found that 12 year old ability of mine to shut out the world and travel into the story.
I read for an entire flight and an entire Sunday afternoon because I just couldn't put the book down.
From the author of A Man Named Ove - Beartown is incredibly timely and is also about hockey and Sweden - two things that you could say are somewhat pertinent to my life. Backman's ability to describe human nature and to create characters that really come to life are what made this book so compelling.
If you've read it - comment who your favorite character was! I want to discuss!
The Sound of Gravel: A Memoir
If you don't utilize your public library's ability to lend eBooks - what are you doing?! So easy and also, free! That's how I came to find The Sound of Gravel.
This is the story of Ruth Wariner as told by herself - about growing up poor in a polygamist family. It's a fascinating look into a culture that I knew very little about before reading the book.
2. Romantic Comedies
I don't watch movies, as a general rule of thumb - unless I'm on a long flight.
But for some reason a few weeks ago, I found myself watching a different romantic comedy on Netflix every night of the week. Huh? You're all going to laugh - because I'm only about 15 years late to the party on one of them and the other two are garbage.
Bridget Jones' Diary
Sleeping With Other People
So tell me, what's your favorite romantic comedy?
That's right - it's happened everyone. I can officially say the words, "I like yoga!"
WOW. It took me years and years but I've finally learned to appreciate a good, sweaty, yoga class. I've even learned how to view it as a damn good workout, not just a stretch. (Read this post from April of last year where I wondered if I was starting to like yoga!)
It's mid-March and I've been to 16+ yoga classes already this year, which is probably more than the combined number of classes I had taken in my life prior to January 1, 2018.
Like so many runners out there - CorePower was my gateway drug. I had taken Core Power classes in Denver and Raleigh - but it was my class in Boston with Kayla that was a game changer. The instructor was phenomenal and I took my Free Week back with me to NYC and went NUTS. I took 5 classes in 7 days!
I also tried the Yoga Sculpt class without realizing it's basically heated barre - and I liked that too!
Y7 has an intro package that gets you 3 classes for $45 which I did when my CorePower free week was up.
I wasn't expecting to like Y7 as much as I did - hip hop isn't exactly "me" but I loved the classes that I took. My favorite part is how the class is set up - you know what to expect and there's no opportunity for laying on the mat wondering, "are there 10 minutes left or 50? How much more do we have?" (Because let's face it, I still have that moment about halfway through each yoga class).
At Y7, you go through 3 separate flows. For each, you go through once slow, once "one breath, one movement" and then the third time the turn the music up and let you go on your own. I loved this because it kept me super focused the entire time so that I could remember the flow - keeping myself mentally focused on yoga is a challenge and I found that this really helped me.
There are multiple Yoga Vida locations, but I took all of my free week classes at the NoHo location (no showers, which is a bummer considering this is the studio that offers heated flow!)
All the instructors here were amazing, the space is HUGE and you can't beat a free week! Plus, they have a bunch of community classes each week that are donation based. Holla!
Favorite class? The one taught by my friend Bertha! Getting to see her do her thing was so cool! But even better was the fact that she is an AWESOME instructor.
When Abby and I requested a class with lots of hamstring stretching and an arm balance - Bertha delivered exactly that. The whole class I didn't even realize we were working towards side crow and then WA-BAM all of a sudden it all made sense.
I'm not sure what the shift was, but I'm very glad that I've come to value more low-impact exercises like yoga and barre (and I'm trying out a Pilates class this weekend!) I've been very unkind to my body in terms of how I've exercised for the past 4 years, and I'm really digging some days without burpees and jump squats and wall balls.
4. Live Music
Hearing someone with an incredible voice belt out a good song is probably one of my all time favorite things. I get chills. Every time. And wish that I had been blessed with some vocal chords that can SANG. Alas, I cannot. But I have been doing lots of listening.
My family and I recently went to Don't Tell Mama in Hell's Kitchen and though we waited over an hour to be seated, and they tried skipping over our name on the list - it ended up being such a fun night. Singing along is highly encouraged. They sing a great mix of classic, show tunes, popular songs, oldies - and the singing bar and wait staff are out of this world good - they're all definitely Broadway actors and actresses.
My other favorite piano bar in NYC is Brandy's on the Upper East Side - both of these are really small venues with two drink minimums but every time I've gone it's been more than worth the pricey drinks. These aren't your average piano bar wannabes - they're extremely talented performers.
If you go to Brandy's - order a Tequila Cosmo!
I had been to Rockwood Music Hall a number of times for various concerts but none of them at Stage 3 (around the corner on Orchard Street). It was such an intimate venue - everyone gets a seat which I hadn't been expecting.
We were there to see Wakey!Wakey! aka Michael Grubbs of One Tree Hill fame. He performed an hour-long show with his piano and damn is his voice powerful.
For a $15 ticket and a $10 glass of wine (everyone has to buy a drink - but you can get a soda or coffee) it was the perfect Friday night and I was still in bed by 10:30!
Always my favorite form of live music - I am of the belief that there is nothing like a Broadway musical. We recently went as a family to see the new Jimmy Buffet jukebox musical "Escape to Margaritaville."
While the production was far from artistically groundbreaking, damn was it FUN. Maybe we had a little too much fun. It seems that my "FINS TO THE LEFT, FINS TO THE RIGHT" dance moves may have interfered with some lighting. And apparently the somewhat stuffy audience wasn't on board with yelling "Salt! Salt! Salt!" during the title song. But c'est la vie - not everyone can be a Parrothead.
My family and I thoroughly enjoyed the show - despite the incredibly forced references to song lyrics and predictable plot line. It certainly helped that our margarita cups were always filled (thanks, Dad!)
The best part was my dad finally realizing just how much he must have listened to Jimmy Buffet when we were kids - my sister and I seemed to know more words than anyone else!
Next up for live music is a concert this week at City Winery! We'll be seeing Joshua Radin and while I haven't been to a show at this venue yet, I have a feeling I'm going to like it. Bar stool + acoustic music + wine seems like the recipe for a wonderful Thursday night.
5. Rock Climbing
I've loved rock climbing for as long as I can remember - I was a total monkey as a kid. Climbing trees, climbing the rope faster than anyone else in gym class.
I finally got myself belay certified and asked for a 10-climb pass for Christmas - so if anyone wants to go rock climbing at The Cliffs in LIC let me know!!
It's such an adrenaline rush and I love the fact that by the end of a day at the climbing gym - my arms are actually shaking they're so exhausted. I still get a little nervous while belaying - the fact that I'm actually in control of someone's life is slightly terrifying - but practice makes perfect?
6. Argan Oil & Chakra Oil
My moisturizing game has never been stronger thanks to these two products.
My coworker bought us each a bottle of this in the Copenhagen airport after we used the tester and fell in love.
The smell is dreamy, and putting this on after the shower makes me feel like I'm treating myself to a spa day. I'm almost out, and I can't find it online, and I'm having a slight meltdown.
Want your hair to feel super hydrated and luscious? Use this stuff.
I take terrible care of my hair. I get it cut about once a year. I straighten it, blow dry it, curl it - and half the time I'm showering at New York Sports Club whose shampoo I swear doesn't actually do anything.
But ever since my mom got me a little tube of hair oil in my stocking stuffer - I've been using it non stop and I can see a huge difference in the look and feel of my hair.
There was awhile there where I seemed to be on a doughnut hiatus. Thank God that ended.
East Main & Main - Port Jefferson, New York
Long Island is finally get involved in the doughnut game!
Dilla's Delights - Detroit, Michigan
Citrus old fashioned! GET IT!!!
Kane's Donuts - Boston, Massachusetts
This was Kayla's introduction to doughnut tasting and I was so happy that she got totally into it with me. We started with one - but that was just a lie we were telling ourselves.
Dough - Tampa, Florida
More than anything, what I appreciated about Dough was that they gave me the opportunity to have a ridiculous doughnut photo shoot with my friends portrait mode. And the fact that their creme brulee dooughnut was ridic.
Stuffed - New York, New York
Ice cream + doughnut ice cream sandwiches. Yeah, I went there.
(And in the same day, after brunch, we ate a Dun-Well doughnut AND two scoops at Davey's Ice Cream. Still unsure how I have avoided diabetes thus far).
Talk about strange combos - Carlson's was a MUST VISIT while I was in Annapolis. I mean, when I hear that there is a run down shop that serves doughnuts from 5 AM - 11 AM and then becomes a Thai restaurant for dinner - you couldn't keep me away.
The best part? These doughnuts were ridiculously good.
I didn't really expect to like podcasts, but now I listen to them almost daily during my commute. They're great on the stationary bike. And sometimes I even just lay in bed and listen to one! I sound like I'm a podcast junkie but in reality, there are really only two that I listen to at the moment, so please send your recommendations my way!
*Also very interested in any podcast that has had JK Rowling as a guest.
I think Ali was made to have a podcast. She's a phenomenal host who is clearly passionate about her guests, the subjects and the project in general.
What I love about the Ali on the Run Show is that there's a structure to it, but depending on the guest each show is obviously very unique! I absolutely love the "Sprint to the Finish" portion of the show when Ali asks each guests fun questions like "Where was your first kiss?" and "What would your last meal on earth be?" These questions really help humanize the incredible (running-related) guests that she has on the show.
Unlike the Ali on the Run Show - Dax Shepard's new podcast has almost no structure whatsoever yet somehow I keep finding myself listening to to 2+ hour episodes where he interviews fellow celebrities and digs into some serious topics like anxiety, depression, addiction and has really candid talks about being a celebrity and what that's like for your psyche.
By far my favorite episode was the first one when Dax had his wife, the wonderful Kristin Bell, on as a guest. I immediately started stalking them on Instagram and it's safe to say that I would like them to adopt me into their family.
I also love the end of each episode when their family friend/podcast fact-checker Monica Padman comes on to call-out all of Dax's erroneous statements from the show.
9. New Workouts
Like I said - running is still a thing that my body doesn't seem to be interested in. Actually, it seems very disinterested in it. And finally, I'm listening and I'm saying "That's cool - let's do some other stuff!"
Normally I would write a full review for each of these classes but in an effort to make up for the past, oh, I don't know, year that I neglected to do class reviews, I'm going to keep it brief.
I checked out two OTF classes while I was in Tampa Bay and I gotta say - I didn't like them as much as I was expecting to.
The first time, we didn't even get heart rate monitors, which was a complete bummer (I'm a numbers girl when it comes to a workout!) and the second time, I was just very frustrated at how hard it was to get my heart rate into the "Red Zone."
I like the concept - and I like switching stations to do both cardio and strength - but it just wasn't the "OH MY GOD AMAZING" workout that I was hoping for.
To be fair, I may actually have been asleep for the second class as evidenced by this photo.
This boxing studio, owned by George Foreman's son, started in Boston and recently opened up in NYC.
Whenever I take a boxing class, I leave feeling like I got my ass kicked and Everybody Fights was no exception! It's a really big space that offers a bunch of different kinds of classes and I definitely wouldn't be opposed to returning!
Curious about boxing? You can check out my reviews of some other NYC boxing studios using the links below!
My friend Bertha is a badass babe who regularly goes to Kings Thai Boxing.
I said I would go as long as she was there to help me - and I'm so glad I did! It was definitely out of my comfort zone - I felt pretty lost most of the time - but the instructor was SO helpful and friendly and by the end of class I was a) drenched in sweat b) sore as hell and c) feeling like a total badass.
Abby came to class too - so we got to work as partners which helped a TON. I felt less guilty every time I made a mistake holding the pads (which was very very frequently - sorry, Ab!) To be honest, remembering the sequences was harder as the person holding the pads than as the one doing the punching and kicking (at least for me).
Can we just talk about the ~casual~ way this class ended? A ladder of DEATH, that's how.
1 Left Kick
1 Right Kick
2 Left Kicks
2 Right Kicks
Up to 10. Back down to 5.
I have never come closer to throwing up (or collapsing during a push-up).
Saturday's at noon Kings Thais has a Beginners Class if you feel like feelin' fierce!
When I started getting targeted ads for this new fitness studio on my Instagram feed I was instantly intrigued.
It looked so unique and mainly it just looked plain fun! Also, it seemed to be somewhat low-impact which I could use some more of! So I signed up for their intro deal (2 classes for $20!)
When Bertha, Abby and I went to this class - there was only one other person there. Normally, I would think, "GREAT it's like a private class!" But instead, our instructor was super robotic and unenthusiastic the entire time. Even though we were clearly new students, and clearly the studio isn't batting people away.
Despite that - I really did like Spiderbands just because it was so different than any other class. There's a TON you can do with these giant resistance bands which is evident when you realize they offer 6 different classes ranging from bosu ball to kickboxing to HIIT.
We took the "Signature Spiderbands" class but I will definitely be using my second class to try something new!
Come prepared to take an epic Boomerang after class, and plan on staying a bit after to enjoy their BEAUTIFUL showers/locker rooms.
I have a feeling Fit House is about to be all the rage in the NYC fitness world - especially now that ClassPass has become too expensive for a lot of people.
The concept is pretty simple - a $99/month membership to attend classes at Fithouse studios across the city (right now, there is only one, but they plan to expand quickly to at least 3 more neighborhoods).
While the membership doesn't gain you access to a typical gym space, it does grant you access to a bunch of different types of classes. This includes HIIT, Yoga, Strength and Barre.
I found a discount code for a FREE two week trial when they first opened, but unfortunately, the Bowery location was pretty inconvenient for me and I only got to attend two classes.
+Big studio with lots of equipment for different types of exercises
+Automatic lockers (no need to bring your own lock)
+Close to subway station
-No showers at the Bowery location (they are hoping that some of the other studios will have showers, but TBD)
-No spin or boxing classes (personally, two of my favorite kinds of classes!)
-The one bathroom stall is INSIDE the studio - so if you arrive before class and need to use the restroom but there's a class going on inside the studio - you can't. It's a weird set up.
I took two of the higher intensity classes - Strength Station and Slam. Bother were 45 minutes long. They were good - but not great. Hard, but not killer.
The best part of Fit House was the instructor Mark - he was great!
I think as more studios open, as they hire more staff, as they add more classes, Fithouse definitely has the potential to be an affordable option for people who like to take a lot of classes as opposed to belonging to a gym.
They're currently running a $19 deal for a 2 week trial! (Just be sure you cancel if you don't want to sign up or they'll automatically start charging you at the end of the two weeks!)
It was sweaty, it was yoga. It was a yoga class I took before I liked yoga - so not much to say about it!
Who woulda thunk that my first Barry's Bootcamp class would actually be in SWEDEN?
That's right. While I was in Stockholm for work, I went to a Barry's class! I ended up finding a class on the schedule that was taught in English and thank God for that. I don't know why I had been thinking it would be no problem taking the class in Swedish - I definitely would have regretted it as we did some pretty complicated moves with the stepper and resistance bands for the strength portion of the class!
This isn't new - but it's a workout that I have been LOVING and doing very frequently. Each year, Chris runs a Facebook group that challenges you to do a deck of cards workout every day from Thanksgiving to New Years' Eve. I've done it the past 3 years and at the end of it, I'm always in SUCH GOOD SHAPE.
It's a strength workout, a cardio workout, an ab workout, and uses a lot of the exercises that I normally let fall to the wayside that are actually super important (glute bridges, donkey kicks, etc.)
He keeps the group running throughout the year - so if I'm ever feeling uninspired at the gym I'll check the page! We were lucky enough to have Chris in NYC a few weeks ago and got to do the deck of the day live and in person in Central Park which was awesome :)
You can also follow along on his Instagram account.
Instagram sponsored ads are my best friend and my worst enemy. They can show me an ad enough times and I'll 100% start to think that I need it. Like that damn Quip toothbrush they keep pushing on me.
But Billie is one that I barely even hesitated before purchasing. Essentially, it's a month subscription for new razor blades. The concept behind it is basically my internal monologue of:
WHY IS IT SO DAMN EXPENSIVE TO BUY REPLACEMENT RAZOR BLADES AS A WOMAN?
WHY DO I ALWAYS END UP JUST BUYING A NEW RAZOR BECAUSE IT'S HALF THE PRICE AS A PACK OF BLADES?
SHOULD I JUST GET THESE SHITTY DISPOSABLE ONES?
I thought that maybe my whole life I was missing something - but nope, apparently the founders of Billie were on the same page.
Razor blade prices + laziness + my travel schedule ensure that I am almost always using razor blades that are far too old and dull to effectively shave my legs. In fact, they're probably downright dangerous.
The ratio of the amount of time I spend at a gym in shorts and how often my legs are well-shaven is not socially acceptable.
So I ordered a Billie razor in a cute coral color. It came in the mail with a super ~minimalist~ magnetic holder that takes up zero space in the shower. It came with two razor blades that are smooth and wonderful. Every 3 months I'll get 4 NEW BLADES FOR $9.80. In the mail.
I don't know why this is so exciting to me but it is. I wrote an email to all my female coworkers the day I found out about it and group texted like 20 girlfriends.
WHAT A TIME TO BE ALIVE.
They also have a super cool message about the "Pink Tax" which they define as -
PINK TAX: the extra amount women are charged for certain products (*ahem* razors) or services. For no reason. Unless being female is a reason.
So, help a sista out - if you use the link below to order your Billie razor I'll get some coupons or somethin'
Not much to say on this except I have been LOVING everything from the Gap and it's getting to be a problem.
I online shop with my Gap Cash because, "It would be a waste not to use it," and then I tell myself, "There's a Gap right near the office, just order it and it if it doesn't fit you can return it." Except can you guess how much I have ordered and decided to return? That's right, none of it.
On any given day, you can find me wearing multiple items from the Gap. Most recently, I have purchased not only clothing from them but undergarments and workout clothes as well - so that my entire wardrobe is beginning to resemble the store.
THAT WAS FUN!
I feel like we're all caught up, and now I can start pushing out some new, relevant, timely posts! Thanks for stickin' around.
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My tour de boxing studios continued recently with a trip to the "dive bar" of boxing studios - Overthrow Boxing Club on Bleecker Street. Overthrow is housed in the previous home of the Youth International Party, or "Yippies," a "radically youth-oriented and countercultural revolutionary offshoot of the free speech and anti-war movements of the 1960s," according to Wikipedia.
The space stays true to its roots - despite becoming a fitness studio, it is far from "boutique" looking - with much of the original architecture remaining. Overthrow takes its own political stances and jabs, with graffiti like Donald Trump being knocked out and the quote, "When they go low, we go high."
It's a fitting way of connecting the building's history with our present political reality and the building's new use as a boxing club.
The interior is cramped, dark, and quite frankly, it seems like it might collapse! Up the stairs is a small locker room with two showers and two bathroom stalls - along with lockers that have seen better days. Bent metal, missing locker doors, wobbly benches - it's hard to tell if many aspects of the studio are part of the aesthetic or actual .instances of disrepair
There are actually two spaces where classes at Overthrow take place. The main level has around 6 bags along with a boxing ring while the downstairs studio has about 12 bags - covered in duct tape, these bags are a far cry from the water-filled tear-drop-shaped beauties at Rumble. Then again, they're only purpose is punching them. There are numbered spaces along the floor, though in my class we didn't really use them for anything.
The first class I took was in "The Underground" (which makes me thing of the upside down, which makes me excited for another season of Stranger Things).
We all lined up in side by side rows for the warm-up which consisted of lots of cardio drills like high knees, air jabs, jumping jacks, etc.
To me, the warm up seemed to last for a long time. It may have had to do with the fact that I wasn't wearing my usual sneakers and my feet were really bothering me every time I jumped - but I also think the warm up dragged on and on with not much to it.
Eventually, the endless warmup indeed ended and we were told to pair up with a partner for the next part of class.
We lined up in two rows down the length of the room, with partners facing each other and being told different combinations - we were technically "boxing" with each other, but obviously not full out punching our partners. Some of the combinations included more than just throwing punches - we were told to "jab, jab, cross, burpee," and various other exercises. To me, this part wasn't very challenging - the pace was pretty slow, which I guess depends on who you get as a partner.
The line was continuously filtering towards the front of the class - when you and your partner were up in front of the instructor, you did a few punches with her before re-joining the line.
When this was over, I was still only sweating due to the temperature of the room.
The next portion of class it was time to bring out the bags - and this is where I sweat buckets and my heart rate rocketed. We were given a ton of different combinations and I pushed myself to keep moving throughout the 15 or so minutes of straight bag work.
With three of us on a bag and the bags sliding around the pole they were attached to, we did have to stop every so often to adjust the bag and stop it from moving into the group next to and behind us. I didn't have much space and by the end I was getting pretty frustrated.
Then, before I knew it, class was over. I will say that the time flew by, and by the end I was pretty exhausted - but I left a little "meh" about the class overall.
The second class I went to at Overthrow I took in the upstairs section - it was a similar set up with half of the class taking place on the bag and half taking place "in the ring" with a partner. But I liked this better because it seemed less crowded and the warm-up wasn't as long. We also finished up class with an ab series that was pretty solid.
I found myself partner-less and got to work with a staff member that wasn't teaching class at the time which was great! The combination was really tricky and I only got it right about 75% of the time, but I still felt pretty accomplished. At the end, I told him that I was hungry because the mitts looked like they had avocados drawn on them. I think I found the comment funnier than he did.
WHAT I LIKED:
Classes at Overthrow fly by. The grunge-y atmosphere is super fitting for a boxing class. Both instructors that I've had were good at explaining things, though at this point I can't really consider myself a "beginner" so I might take some things for granted when it comes to instruction.
I also really like that Overthrow is located off of the 6 line.
WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE:
Overthrow is definitely not as organized as Rumble or Shadowbox. Those two studios' classes run like well-oiled machines whereas my second class at Overthrow was more like, "Alright, what should we do next?" "Okay, let me run downstairs and get some gloves for everyone 10 minutes into class." That sort of thing. Rumble and Shadowbox have their shit together a little more in terms of flow and focus - but Overthrow has them beat on the boxing ~vibes.
THE STUDIO – 7
Nuts and bolts in terms of amenities - but there are lockers (bring your own lock, and beware that half of them are missing doors as part of the aesthetic), bathrooms and showers and it's pretty impressive that they make the space work as two separate studios/class spaces.
The history of the building is an added bonus - if you're there, see if you can spot the old Youth International Party manifesto on the walls!
CLASS SIZE - 5
The classes are a decent size considering the small space - and I definitely felt like I was super crowded and couldn't fully enjoy the class because of it. Perhaps the morning classes are less crowded - but I've only been in the evening and each time it was jam-packed.
SWEAT SCALE – 6
The first half of classes at Overthrow usually are more focused on shadowboxing, form, and a warm up - it's helpful for actually learning boxing, which I appreciate, but doesn't leave me with an elevated heart rate. But the second half is usually much harder - once you start using the bag. In my most recent class, Queen had us finish with 5 Push-Ups, 5 Burpees, 5 Mountain Climbers, 5 Squats, 10 Push-Ups, 10 Burpees, 10 Mountain Climbers, 10 Squats, 15 Push-Ups, 15 Burpees, 15 Mountain Climbers, 15 Squats. It was brutal in the best way.
FUN FACTOR – 7
If you like boxing, it's a good time.
AMENITIES – 6
Everything you need but nothing overly fancy.
COST - $$$
Standard for NYC, a class at Overthrow costs $34 for a single class. Unfortunately, they don't have any deals for first time students. I attended for free in exchange for a review on my blog!
I like the vibe at Overthrow a lot and I've learned more here than I think I would learn from taking consistent classes at Rumble and Shadowbox. That being said, if you're looking for a boxing class that doubles as a hard workout (you know, since you're paying $34) I might suggest getting your ass kicked at a different studio. These classes are certainly a challenge - but they aren't 45-minutes-worth-of-non-stop-challenge.
I'll continue taking classes at Overthrow because I actually want to improve my boxing skills and I think the instructors here have that same goal in mind. Also, keep in mind that Overthrow offers two different classes - one in the "Underground" - more of a boxing bootcamp/high cardio class and one in the "Ring" which is more focused on form and technique.
Gloves are included in the class and wraps are available for purchase.
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I'm not denying that yoga has endless health benefits - that it's good for your body and good for your mind.
I'm not denying that yoga can lead to increased strength and flexibility and decreased aches and pains.
I'm not denying that it can connect you to your breath and your thoughts and teach you how to be in the moment - to embrace discomfort and to breathe through the most uncomfortable parts of your practice.
But despite all of this, I still have never found myself super pumped about yoga. Instead, I've viewed it as a necessary piece of marathon training, or something I "should" do. To me, yoga has always essentially been glorified stretching. I hated the meditative aspects of it, couldn't sit still during shavasana, and got frustrated by my severe inflexibility. Hot yoga made me feel like I couldn't breathe, but during regular yoga I didn't work up a sweat and felt like I'd wasted an hour of my life.
But in the last few weeks, a fitness funk and a running rut had me willing to give yoga another shot. An acceptance that I can't go 100 mph all day, every day, gave me a new appreciation for "easier" workout days. A need to get out of my own head and to breathe deeply had me smiling and nodding along to mantras like, "the pose begins when you want to get out of it."
Basically, the stars aligned and the universe spoke to me and suddenly, yoga just made sense! Okay, that isn't even close to what happened.
What really happened, was my friend Sabrina forced me into going with her to a hot yoga class when we were in Pittsburgh for work. We found a studio (Urban Elements!) that had both hot yoga and spin classes and bought a $20 pass for 10 days of unlimited classes. In order to get the most bang for our buck, I reluctantly agreed to an evening yoga class one night when we got out of work on the earlier side.
Sabrina's exclamations of "I'm so excited" were met by my eye rolls, sighs, and "Kill me's." To say I was dreading 75 minutes of yoga was an understatement.
But then something weird happened - I kind of enjoyed it. It was a hot vinyasa power yoga class - but not so hot that I was only focused on the beads of sweat rolling down my arms.
The studio had The Twelve Laws of Transformation written on a chalkboard and I read through them before the start of class:
- 1. Seek the Truth
- 2. Be Willing to Come Apart
- 3. Step Out of Your Comfort Zone
- 4. Commit to Growth
- 5. Shift Your Vision
- 6. Drop What You Know
- 7. Relax with What Is
- 8. Remove the Rocks
- 9. Don’t Rush the Process
- 10. Be True to Yourself
- 11. Be Still and Know
- 12. Understand that the Whole is the Goal
I realized that the quote, and the style of yoga practiced at Urban Elements, came from Baron Baptiste. Many people, including Ali, have insisted that I would like studios like Lyons Den who practice the Baptiste methodology. Turns out, those people knew what they were talking about!
I liked that instead of feeling like I was stretching during this class, I felt powerful in each of the poses. The heat really did loosen me up and I was able to get much deeper into the poses than I ever had before.
By the end of class, yes, I was wondering "How much longer?" but it went by much quicker than usual and before I knew it I was in shavasana (I still fidget incessantly) and the instructor was placing a cool, lavender compress over my eyes. It was heavenly - and I actually felt myself relax into the restful moment.
Urban Elements Power Yoga and Indoor Cycling - you the real MVP! It was after this class that I first had a "WOW I liked that" moment following a yoga class.
(Urban Elements' classes also use Ryder bikes, which rock from side to side like a real bike! It was challenging and awkward getting used to it - and I couldn't really stand and ride fast on them, but it's awesome technology that I think should be in more studios. It's an added core challenge and just all around closer to actually cycling outdoors).
YOGA TO THE PEOPLE
A few weeks later I found myself thinking, "I want to go to a yoga class after work."
The second the thought entered my brain and I acknowledged it, I was baffled.
I hate evening workouts.
I don't like yoga.
I had already worked out that morning.
What was going on?
I didn't really know what was happening, but I Googled the Yoga to the People schedule and made my way to the 5:30 p.m. hot yoga class.
It was much hotter than Urban Elements, and half the time I was trying not to gag as my own sweat rolled into my mouth in downward dog. But the flow was powerful and quick (I can be a real baby about holding poses for any significant length of time) and we did some of my favorite hip opening stretches - pigeon and lizard. The music was good, the instructor gave great cues and again I was scratching my head as I left thinking, "I'm really glad I randomly did that!"
(I was also really glad that Yoga to the People offers $7 classes!)
NEW YORK YOGA
And THEN I finally went to a hot yoga class at New York Yoga with my friend Kayla. I am not exaggerating when I say that Kayla has been trying to get me to a class with her for over 2 years.
I had 730+excuses not to go - but I finally ran out last Sunday and agreed that I would go with her to a 75 minute class (thankfully, I wasn't hungover or I would have 100% died).
Kayla has been a big reason I believed in the benefits of yoga for runners and athletes even if I personally wasn't a fan. For almost 2 years she struggled with IT Band Syndrome and was unable to run - a huge adjustment for someone who was used to training for and running marathons. I watched as she went from a super sad and stressed sidelined runner to a super strong and happy yogi. Yes, she always missed running - but yoga kept her active and strong and sane.
I don't know why I resisted for so long, when I saw the effect it had on Kayla right in front of my own eyes - but then I realized, "Wait a minute - I'm a super sad and stressed sidelined runner - maybe I should give this a try!" I finally paid the steep $30 for a class.
I was really nervous. What if I hated it and was trapped for 75 minutes and then had to tell one of my best friends that I thought she was nuts for loving this place? What if I needed to leave because I was going to pass out? What if they used terminology I had never heard before? I'm more of a "triangle pose" girl than a "Trikonasana" girl.
The studio was HOT. There were people who literally looked like they had been in a swimming pool at the end of class. I had 3 towels and they were all completely drenched by the end of 75 minutes.
But maybe even more than Urban Elements and Yoga to the People - this class challenged me and left me feeling really glad that I had gone.
It was a perfect mix of fast flow and deep poses. The fast flow got my heart rate up and had me breathing like I had just run 6 miles. The constant chaturanga had my arms burning in the best way. The times when we could go through a flow at our own pace helped me really focus on connecting breath and movement which is usually something I roll my eyes at during a yoga class.
And then there were the parts that I hate, but know are important - the poses that you have to hold for 10 breaths as your legs shake and everything screams "OMG STOP PLZ." For me, this is usually Utkatasana (chair pose). But more than the physical act of holding a pose that's difficult is the mental challenge of talking yourself through it and refusing to let yourself quit. It's also crazy that "breathing into" the areas that are the most painful actually helps!
A shower never felt as good as the one after my class at New York Yoga.
So, I think it's finally happened - I've started to find enjoyment in yoga. Here's what I've realized are the keys to a good yoga class (for me! Yoga preferences, apparently, are super personal and you might have to experiment for 2+ years to figure out what you like...)
- An instructor that gives helpful queues about body alignment, breath, and how each pose should feel.
- I like hot yoga, because it loosens me up and makes me (slightly) more flexible - and I don't like going to a yoga class and feeling like I can't do anything!
- I like a lot of ~flow~. What worked really well for me at New York Yoga was learning a sequence slowly, staying in each pose for a few breaths, and then being told "Now do that 5 times fast." This got my heart rate up (It was over 100 degrees!) and going at my own speed let me connect my breath and movements.
- Instructors that give different options are great - but I need them to actually TEACH the other options. Telling me, "feel free to go into _____ if it's in your practice" isn't helpful if I don't know how to even attempt the more advanced pose.
- I don't like chant-y music. An acoustic Spotify playlist with some Lumineers or Bon Iver, please!
- I really like a quote at the beginning or end of class!
- If every yoga class could have pigeon pose, that would be great. THANKS!
Does anyone have any other suggestions of yoga studios they think I would like? I know Core Power Yoga is coming to NYC and Lyon's Den, Y7 and Modo Yoga are on my "To Try" list - but any other recommendations are appreciated!
There's something about boxing classes that make you feel like a total badass.
Each time I go, I'm reminded just how much of a total body workout punching a bag really is. It looks deceptively simple - but I've never once left a boxing class thinking, "That was easy." I'm always shocked at how good of a cardio workout it is, and my arms and back are totally trashed the following day.
In the past, I've taken classes at Work Train Fight (review here), New York Sports Club, and most recently a 30 minute class at Tapout Fitness. I've enjoyed them all, but was really looking forward to trying out Rumble Boxing - which has been absolutely all over my Instagram feed since it opened.
What makes Rumble Boxing unique is that it's a HUGE studio made just for boxing - there are individual water-filled boxing bags for 30 people and floor stations for another 30 - meaning that 60 people can take the class and will have equipment the entire time. It's like a spin studio for boxing! You even reserve your station online before showing up for class.
The studio is absolutely gorgeous, with awesome artwork throughout! When you check-in, you'll have the option or purchasing wraps ($6) and renting gloves ($3). I passed on the wraps and just rented gloves, which worked fine for me - though they highly suggest using wraps to protect your hands and wrists. Oops.
There are lockers and restrooms upstairs if you're already dressed for class - or you can make your way downstairs where you'll find the men's and women's locker rooms along with the studio itself. Everything is extremely clean, and you'll be able to grab a towel on your way into the studio.
The studio is massive - like I said, it holds 60 people per class. And I was shocked that many classes I looked at online were completely filled up!
Each "Floor Station" has a step and 4 sets of dumbbells in various weights - there's heavier dumbbells in the back of the room as well.
The class is split into 10, 3 minute rounds of work - but what I liked was that even during the "breaks" you were encouraged to move around and jog in place. When you were on the bag, you were supposed to use the rest for active recovery - doing sit-ups and punching the bag twice at the top of each sit-up.
Starting on the floor, I did 3 rounds of floor-work, 3 rounds on the bag, 2 rounds on the floor, 2 rounds on the bag.
Round 1 - Floor
8x Right Hangs (These were a cross between a pull and a clean - you squated down and then pulled the dumbbell up to just below shoulder height, leading with your elbow).
8x Left Hangs
10x Squat and Press
There were weights ranging from 5 lbs to 15 lbs already at each station, with the option to grab heavier from the back of the room. I stuck with what we were given ;)
These rounds were performed as an AMRAP - completing each set of exercises as many rounds as possible over the course of three minutes.
ROUND 2 - Floor
8x Right Leg Romanian Deadlift
8x Left Leg Romanian Deadlift
I am so dreadfull at single-leg deadlifts. Every time I do them I'm reminded of my weak hips and the fact that I seriously need to work on my balance.
ROUND 3 - FLOOR
10x Seated Bicep Curls
10x Chest Press
20x Russian Twist
For this circuit, we used the step that was at our station.
Round 4 - bag
The bags used at Rumble aren't like your typical punching bag. They're "aqua training bags" - they're filled with water and kind of reminded me of the giant buoys we used to tie our boat up to!
What I loved about Rumble was the easy way that the punches were numbered:
2 - Cross
3 - Front Hook
4 - Back Hook
5 - Front Uppercut
6 - Back Uppercut
I know numbering the punches in a boxing class isn't a revolutionary concept, but this was the first time that it really clicked for me. 1, 3 and 5 are you weaker side and 2, 4 and 6 are you strong, power punches.
For the 3 minutes on the bag, we switched between a few different combinations which were conveniently projected onto the walls!
ROUND 5 - Bag
This round, we learned a 3 punch combination, followed by a 4 punch combination, before combining them all together for a 7-punch combination.
At first I thought, "there's no way I'm going to keep a 7 punch combination straight."
But then - I did! And it felt awesome.
ROUND 6 - BAG
Similar to round 5, but with different combinations!
Round 7 - Floor
This was the core portion of the class, and we used the "brass knuckle" weights that were inside of our steps.
10x Boxer Sit-Ups with 1-2 (two punches)
10x Sit-Up with Twist
10x Plank to Pike
Round 8 - Floor
This final floor round was tabata-style in the sense that we did each exercise for :20 second at maximum effort.
:20 seconds each of-
Speed 1,2's (cross, jab)
Speed 5, 6's (upper cuts)
Speed 1, 2's
Speed Jacks with weights
ROUND 9 - BAG
This was the "rumble round" - we did 20, 30, 40 and 50 cross/jabs as quickly as we could. It was intense!
Round 10 - bag
Similar to the final floor round, we complete the last round on the bag with :20 seconds maximum effort.
Speed 1,2's (cross, jab)
Speed 3, 4's (hooks)
Speed 5, 6's (uppercuts)
Our instructor for the 7 AM class was Danielle, and she was great. It's a lot to explain to 60 people of varying levels and she did a great job of moving the class along. The music was solid and she was super motivational for an early morning class. I don't feel like Rumble really allows for an intimate connection with the instructors, though I'm sure people have their preferences.
WHAT I LIKED:
+In a lot of boxing classes I've experienced, there is either a fair amount of down time, or a lot of time that's not spent actually boxing - either with a bag or with an instructor. At Rumble, you are working the entire time and you have a solid 50% of the time with your own bag.
+This is truly a total body workout between the cardio, boxing, strength, weights, core, tabata, etc.
+I liked that you switched between floor and bag twice - I think I would have gotten bored if I had to complete all 5 floor rounds before switching to the bag.
+The fact that the floor workouts and punching combination were projected at the front of the room was SO helpful - and also looked awesome. Without being able to reference the combinations, I definitely wouldn't have been able to remember a 7-punch combination. But having it right there in front of me made a huge difference.
WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE:
-In Rumble, there's no one-on-one boxing with an instructor. You get lots of time on the bag, which is great, but the instructor is trying to coach 60 people at once - so your chances of receiving individual feedback are very unlikely.
-The advertising for Rumble is EVERYWHERE on my social media, and I think it's reliance on models and stick thin girls and jacked men is obnoxious, send the wrong message, and makes them seem pretentious. That's not the vibe I got once I was at the studio AT ALL - but their advertising bothers me.
-Our instructor was running a little bit behind schedule as therefore there was absolutely NO cool-down, which is no bueno!
THE STUDIO – 7
It's a near perfect studio - it's beautiful, well decorated, themed, clean and HUGE. That being said, when a class holds 60 people, you probably need more than 4 showers. Entering the locker room after class was like Boxing Round II. There was a huge line to shower after class and even 30 minutes post class it was impossible to get a spot at the mirror to do hair and make-up.
The only other thing lacking that would bring it to the next level would be a smoothie bar a la Swerve or coffee/snack bar like Peloton next door. Not really necessary by any means - but always a nice touch!
CLASS SIZE - 7
The classes are huge. If you're really looking to learn about boxing and get some one on one training, I wouldn't recommend Rumble. That being said - there is ample space and it never feels crowded! (Until you get to the locker room after class).
SWEAT SCALE – 7
A shower was 100% necessary after this class! Like I said, I'm always surprise at just how exhausting boxing is!
FUN FACTOR – 8
Black lights, blaring music, and punching the shit out of bag. Yep, I'd file that under, "things that are fun."
AMENITIES – 8
So many fancy products to use in the locker room!
COST - $$$
Standard for NYC, a class at Rumble costs $34 for a single class. But if you're a first timer, you can buy your first two classes for the price of one!
Rumble is a great cardio AND strength workout that gives you a ton of time actually boxing. You'll be punching a bag for 50% of the class, which is more than can be said for the other boxing classes I've taken.
The way the punches are numbered, taught at the beginning of class, and projected on the wall during class make learning to box simple and stress-free.
That being said, you won't get one on one time with an instructor or any individual attention and training. It's like if you really want to learn to paint, you probably shouldn't just go to a Paint Nite at a bar. Sure you'll leave with something on a canvas and hopefully a nice little buzz, but you won't really be a painter.
I will definitely be back for a fun, sweaty class at Rumble again next week! (And not just because I have another class credit!)
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Slowly but surely, I'm seeing the cities and sights of California. Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose and now, San Diego!
All quick trips, but I've been fortunate to have the world's best tour guide in San Fran and San Diego. Emily made sure we stuck to my jam-packed itinerary and crammed a TON into the 48 hours.
By far my favorite part of the journey from Los Angeles to San Diego was our afternoon spent exploring La Jolla Cove and creating a workout as we took in the stunning views of sea lions, rainbows, cliffs, caves and the sea.
Next time you're taking a road trip and don't have access to a gym and think you don't have a second to spare to sneak in some sweat - use some of these moves to stay active wherever you are. Whether it's La Jolla Cove or somewhere else, use your surroundings as inspiration - you don't need fancy machines or equipment. Here's what I came up with at La Jolla:
Single Leg Bench Squat
Lateral Bunny Hops
Plank Leg Lifts
Plank Shoulder Taps
Seated Knee Tucks
A Mario Bros. mural covers the walls, instructors wear polos and whistles around their necks, and students store their belongings in cubbies. All signs point to middle school gym as you remember it in the 80s and 90s – but the workout you get at Throwback Fitness is much more intense than a game of middle school pickleball – and even more fun.
Throwback is a small studio within an office building. It’s lacking a proper locker room and showers if morning workouts before the office are you jam - I had to make my way over to New York Sports Club before going to the office.
That being said, the studio itself is spacious enough and jam packed with equipment like rowers, medicine balls, kettlebells and dumbbells.
Throwback offers two main classes - Strength/Power and Endurance/Speed. I've now taken both - and they are pretty much as their names imply. Leaving Strength/Power I felt strong and leaving Endurance/Speed I felt like I had gotten in a good cardio workout. Regardless of the particular class you pick, the workout is split into four sections – a warmup, Phys Ed, homework and recess, keeping with the theme of the studio. A little kitschy? Sure - but it works.
I've now taken three classes at Throwback Fitness and each time, class started by introducing ourselves and answering a quick question about ourselves - favorite game show (Figure It Out), Favorite Famous Animal (any monkey) and Favorite Cereal (Peanut Butter Puffins). After intros, the warm-up always incorporates exercises into some kind of game.
In Throwback Fitness Questions you had to perform 8 shoulder taps followed by 8 alternating lunges before you could ask a yes or no question to our instructor, Java, to figure out which celebrity he was thinking of.
We did this for three minutes, successfully guess Oprah Winfrey, Donald Trump, and Steve Harvey while continuously completing our shoulder tap and lunge reps.
In another warm-up we performed a series of exercises before being allowed to fire a foam ball at the little army men lining the top of the ceiling beam (harder than it looked).
And in my last class, we played "Musical Medicine Ball" - traveling around the room performing high knees, butt kicks, etc. until the music stopped. The people left without a medicine ball were sent to the rowers for 100 meter row penalty before joining back into the game.
In Strength/Power, "Phys Ed" was the main strength portion of the class. We split into two groups and completed the following sets of exercises for 3.5 minutes, 4 times for a total of 14 minutes.
14 American KB Swings
14 Spiderman Push-Ups
14 Bent Rows
14 Megatrons (One handed snatch + lunge)
7 Squat Thrusts
In Endurance/Speed, the "Phys Ed" section is where you use the rower. I'm frustrated every time I row because I look over and see people rowing at a 2:15 pace and I'm struggling to hit 2:45. But it certainly provides a challenge and raises the heart rate!
In both Endurance/Speed classes I took, the rowing portion was down with a partner. While you row, your partner completes a circuit of exercises (10 cannonball push-ups, 16 kneeling up/down squats, 20 bicycle flutterkicks). Either you row until your partner finishes the circuit or your partner repeats the circuit until you've hit a predetermined distance on the rower.
At the end of Phys Ed, based on the number of meters rowed, a first, second and third place team is announced.
This section is a 3-4 minute core-interlude. For example:
:30 Left Side Plank/:30 Left V-Ups
:30 Right Side Plank/:30 Right V-Ups
:30 Hollow Hold/:30 Tuck Ups
Another class, we did a 3 minute AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) of:
12 Medicine ball sit-ups
12 Medicine ball roll-outs
12 Medicine ball Russian twists
The last part of class, recess, is where the group is split into two teams for a competition. In my first class, Recess was a relay race. Each time had 4 people lined up in a row, doing a different exercise. As one person finished 6 laps of a bear crawl, the group shifted to the next exercise. Each time you finished 20 reps, you grabbed a flag. The team with the most flags at the end of the 5 minutes was the winner.
1 Arm Dumbbell Overhead Squat – I couldn’t do this for my LIFE. I’m determined to work on these!
Reverse Lunge to High Knee
6 Bear Crawl Laps – These kill me every time! Why is bear crawling so hard?
Another time we played corn hole! Every time you completed 7 push-up jacks, 9 tuck ups and 11 frog jumps, you got to throw the beanbag. Let me tell you - something about starting your day with corn hole really just sets you up for success.
Class always finished with both teams lining up and high-fiving and "good game"-ing and my first class, we also made a group Boomerang.
After my first class I wasn't 100% sold on Throwback, but by the end of my 3 classes there, I found myself really enjoying it.
I took a class with each of the three main instructors - Java, Brian and Ryan and can honestly say that they were equally wonderful instructors. They were thorough but quick in their explanations of some complex exercises/games and super motivating and positive throughout class. Java may win for best class playlist though!
WHAT I LIKED
I liked that Throwback used a number of complex exercises in their classes. Instead of sticking to isolation exercises, there were tons of compound moves that targeted multiple body parts at once to make Throwback a true total body workout.
The option to choose between a class geared more towards cardio or strength is something that I think more studios should implement.
The community vibe at Throwback is great - the instructors call almost everyone by name, and as the newbie, they were very encouraging and made an effort to learn my name as well. I also loved that during the rowing portion of class, they would continually walk around the room and let you know how many meters you needed to catch up to the front of pack - it definitely kept me from phoning it in when I got tired.
The class manages to be just the right amount of competitive. The games motivate you, but don't get so intense that anyone would feel "bad" about their performance.
Another aspect I like is that there are challenges that go beyond the people you're in class with - there is a Throwback Fitness-wide system for earning gold stars and completing different challenges that regulars get really in to!
WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE
In my first class, my opinion of the "games" was that they were too gimmicky - but by the end of three classes I figured out that they're designed so that you can make them as intense or as laid back as you want.
My one complaint was that the studio was SO HOT AND SWEATY. That, coupled with the lack of showers, made me feel pretty bad for the people around me on the subway to work.
THE STUDIO - 6
The studio itself is fun to look around, with all the 80s posters and paraphernalia. Plus, as I mentioned, there's a ton of equipment packed into the space and a lot is possible.
Lacking however are the additional amenities offered at many other boutique fitness studios.
CLASS SIZE - SMALL
There's been about 10-12 people in each class I attended, which was a perfect amount. It never seemed too crowded, though 3 or 4 more people and it might have started to feel a little cramped.
SWEAT SCALE - 7
Both Power/Strength and Endurance/Speed were pretty damn sweaty! The way these workouts are set-up, you can push it to the limit and get a killer workout, or if you're having a meh day, take it a bit slower.
FUN FACTOR - 9
Throwback is a great time, and that's it's appeal. Not only are you getting in a great workout, but you're doing it in a fun atmosphere - led by the great instructors at Throwback.
AMENITIES - 4
This is where Throwback falls short.
COST - $$$
A single class at Throwback will cost you $32, which seems a little high for what it offers. I had bought a 3 for $30 package on Black Friday, and they also offer 2 classes for $19 for first-timers, which I highly recommend checking out!
THE BOTTOM LINE
You could go to a class like Tone House or Barry's and get a KILLER workout. You could go to Mile High Run Club or Swerve and kill it at cardio. But Throwback is the option for the days you just want an all around good workout - to not kill yourself, and to thoroughly enjoy your workout!
I'd add this to my list of "You Should Try It!" (I should actually make this list at some point...)
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There are only a few fitness fads that I haven’t tried, and a handful that I’ve tried and just haven’t really enjoyed (Barre – ow! Yoga – ugh! Zumba – womp!)
There are no fitness fads that I’m not willing to give a shot (still need to make my way to a “flirty girl fitness class,” aerial yoga, trampoline and trapeze!) Even if I look like a spaz and make a fool of myself, it’s only for an hour!
Feeling like a total spaz was par for the course during my first boxing class at Work Train Fight – but the challenge fell into the land of “motivating” instead of “demoralizing” (which is how I felt attending a step class full of 60+ jazzercisers before I walked out of the only class I’ve ever quit).
Since then, I’ve taken a few classes at NYSC at have found them to be pretty enjoyable. My arms are always so sore the day after a boxing class and I love that feeling of “OH SHIT I did WORK yesterday.”
So I thought it was time to throw some legs into the mix and attend a kickboxing class – an intimidating idea for someone with little to no coordination when it comes to things that require choreography.
After looking around at some studios, and really wanting to use the 2nd Avenue Subway – I came across The Kickbox Haus on the Upper East Side. Not only did they offer kickboxing, but fusion classes with kettlebells!
I talked to studio owner and instructor Michelle and it sounded like a pretty challenging class – so I signed myself and a friend up and hoped for the best.
Kickbox Haus is a very small studio with about 10 punching bags set up in very close proximity. There’s really nowhere to put your things – I had to shove my winter coat, boots and backpack behind my punching bag which was odd but worked out fine.
It’s $5 to rent gloves.
Michelle was teaching our class and she was full of personality and energy – she gave lots of instructions and soon we were set up by our bags with kettlebells of varying weights and a mat to get started with some glute and core work.
The bulk of the class alternated between kettlebell exercises and bag work.
Michelle is extremely qualified to teach all about kettlebells – a piece of fitness equipment that’s typically misused. She was very adamant about proper form for kettlebell swings which was very helpful. Kettlebell swings tire me OUT, man. I eventually got the hang of them, but 30 seconds straight of kettlebell swinging is no joke.
We also worked on some cleans and I was a little less graceful with those – banging up my elbows, shoulders and wrists pretty well in an attempt to get the kettlebells into the racked position.
My favorite part was the bag work – incorporating not only jabs, crosses, uppercuts, hooks etc. but straight and roundhouse kicks. We did a ladder with roundhouse kicks that sounded simple, but by the time I was up to 10 kicks I was beat!
WHAT I DIDN'T LOVE & WHAT I LOVED
My favorite and least favorite part of the class was actually the same thing – Michelle took a lot of time after each set/exercise to explain what was coming next.
As someone taking my first kickboxing class and still new to Kickbox Haus, I really appreciated the in depth instruction and attention to form and proper technique. That being said, my heart rate kept coming down during the instruction, and if I were a regular I would have been irritated by all of the talking!
The periods of work were hard, don’t get me wrong – but the class overall could have felt like a much better workout if the moves had been explained at the beginning of class and then we powered through them all with less rest.
I still left feeling really glad that I had attended – and wanting to add kickboxing (with an actual bag) to my regular workout routine – as well as using kettlebell swings in more of my DIY gym workouts. They’re a great power+strength+cardio exercise!
The Kickbox Haus offers a variety of classes in additional to kickboxing and kettlebell – there’s TRX training, Muay Thai, American Boxing, and more.
If you’re looking for real training and instruction on proper technique I highly recommend taking a few classes at The Kickbox Haus.
Just bear in mind – there are no showers or changing/locker rooms – it’s a small space with the bare minimum.
AG6 is Asphalt Green’s fitness class that uses new technology to create a light-up workout experience that’s one of a kind - according to the marketers, at least.
AG6 takes place in one of the buildings that’s part of the Asphalt Green complex on the Upper East Side. There’s not a dedicated locker room and changing area for the AG6 studio, and instead, participants are asked to wait in the lobby until it’s time for class. There are two bathrooms in the actual studio where you can change if need be, but showering after class would prove to be problematic if you aren’t an Asphalt Green member.
AG6 is open to the public, even if you don’t have an Asphalt Green membership. A little more thought and planning in terms of convenience for those folks would be appreciated.
The class takes place in the dark, but each of the 7 stations have lights that glow and blink and flash and change colors throughout the 45 minute session.
The class is high-intensity interval training and we rotated through each station 3 or 4 times. The first round was 30 seconds at each station but after that, we went for a minute at each.
The last round, our instructor gave us the option of going back down to 30 seconds but I loved that myself and another girl said LETS DO A FULL MINUTE. Getting our money’s worth, right?
We did T-pushups with a weight – with our feet on a bosu ball! It not only worked your chest and shoulders but KILLED your core trying to stabilize for the entire minute.
We stood in front of a wall with 9 circles. We sprinted up to the wall and tapped the glowing circle – which signaled the light to move to a different circle. Using hand eye coordination and speedy reaction time, we had to hit 4 circles before back-peddling to the starting line and running forwards to repeat for the given amount of time.
Resistance bands around our ankles, we pivoted in the squat position, moving up and down a line on the ground and trying to stay low with our legs spread wide.
We used circles on the ground to step out for diagonal lunges while double-shoulder pressing two kettlebells over our head.
On subsequent rounds, we added a kettlebell deadlift to the mix.
We used gliders on a slippery portion of the floor to do an IMPOSSIBLY difficult mountain climber variation where one foot was on the glider and the other was elevated. Yeah, I don’t know either. I wanted to weep every time I was at this station.
With a mat under our knee, we pulsed in the lunge position with a shoulder press, alternating legs every 10 reps.
This was a cardio-focused station that changed each round – but always included some suicide sprints or pushing a heavy plate down the grass portion of the floor. When we were asked to double hop while pushing the plate, I thought I was going to casually tip over and die.
Our instructor was a little all over the place when he explained some of the stations – he’d change his mind about what we were doing which made things a little confusing.
The plus was that he was incredibly encouraging and motivating with super high energy throughout the class. Also? He played Dark Horse by Katy Perry which is my all-time favorite song to sweat to.
WHAT I LIKED
One of the things I liked most about this class was the fact that everyone taking it was incredibly nice. It had a great community feel, and most people in the class were clearly regulars. At the end of class, we all high fived and said great job – which is definitely not something you get at a place like SoulCycle.
The other thing I loved was that even though there were clearly people of all fitness levels participating in the class, the moves weren’t dumbed down – they were CHALLENGING.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
I was actually motivated by the lights for the part where you run to the wall and hit the different targets, but for the most part this “state of the art technology” didn’t really seem to contribute much to the class at all. Sure, it looked cool and set the mood, but it didn’t provide any metrics, statistics, or challenge to the class which was disappointing. Our instructor had informed us that some of the technology was acting up – which was the second time I was told that when trying to come in for a review.
It doesn’t seem like the most reliable technology. That being said, it was still a great, challenging class. I just wouldn’t come if you’re only excited about feeling like you’re in a real life video game like some of the advertising suggests.
THE STUDIO – 6
As I mentioned before – there are no real facilities for those who don’t belong to Asphalt Green. The studio itself is of course, pretty cool – with its black lights and stations built into the ground and walls. It’s also very spacious.
Something to note about AG6 is that their class schedule is limited – so be sure to check their website to see when AG6 classes are offered!
CLASS SIZE - 7
There were only about 10 of us in the class, which was great. That being said, with three people at each station, some of them were a little bit cramped – especially the one where we were pushing plates.
Sweat Scale – 7
This class was definitely a challenge and definitely left me sweaty and sore the next day.
Fun Factor – 8
It was a unique class and the technology helped to keep things fun with flashing lights, changing colors, etc. But the best part was that the class was engaged and supportive.
Amenities – 6
There are two large restrooms easy enough to use as changing rooms before class, but there is nowhere to shower (at least that I was made aware of).
Cost - $$$
Standard for NYC, a class at AG6 costs $35 for non-members and $25 for Asphalt Green members.
I wasn’t as impressed with this technology as I expected to be after reading articles about its ability to tap into an athlete’s “6th sense.” It seems there’s a lot of other studios doing more with metrics than AG6. Sure, working out in a dark room that flashes and blinks and changes colors was cool, but at the end of the day it seemed a little gimmicky. Luckily, the exercises and workout spoke for themselves and provided a challenging class for a great group of people.
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Photo Credit: Asphalt Green
As I entered the nondescript door on Broome Street for my first class at ConBody, I immediately heard the drill-sergeant-like count bubbling up through the stairwell. I could only imagine the blood pumping, muscle-burning exercises that were accompanying the “one-two-three-four-ONE-one-two-three-four-TWO” being shouted by multiple voices.
As the doors of the elevator opened to the basement fitness studio, the voices were louder and more intimidating. I stepped into the waiting room and immediately noticed the jail cell door separating me from the studio where ex-con Shane Ennover was leading a small class.
BEHIND THE BARS
The story behind ConBody is perhaps its most intriguing quality. It doesn’t promise any advanced equipment, crazy class formats, team competitions or fancy metrics. Instead, it promises results based on a method developed by creator Coss Marte while he served his prison sentence.
That’s right, the founder of ConBody was in prison for 7 years after running a drug ring in New York City starting at the age of 13. Overweight and out of shape, doctors warned Coss that he wouldn’t last much longer in prison if he didn’t do something about his health.
He used his time incarcerated to drop 70+ pounds and when he got out, he beat the recidivism odds by creating a business out of his workout plans.
Coss’ workouts involve no equipment other than your body and require minimal space as well – they were created in a 9x6 prison cell after all.
The genius in ConBody is the fact that they offer not only in-person boot-camp classes in their studio in Manhattan, but they stream workouts to customers all over the world – and those customers can perform the entire workout using the space of a solitary yoga mat!
Founder Coss isn’t the only ConBody instructor who has served time. In fact, all of the studios’ trainers have spent time in prison, or have close family members who have been to jail.
The class takes place in a small room with a matted floor – no shoes allowed! The only equipment are the four walls (used for wall sits and wall walks) and bars for pull ups.
The class size is small, with around 10 people in my morning class. There’s nowhere to hide and our instructor, Shane, didn’t let us half-ass anything!
Shane kept the class moving in an extremely organized way, explained everything, and kept great count (with the classes help). There was a huge variety of bodyweight exercises – both cardio and strength focused and it was a great reminder that you don’t always need a ton of fancy equipment to get in a great workout.
Jump lunges, bear crawls, pushups, mountain climbers, wall sits, burpee broad jumps and more kept the class moving and interesting. The 45+ minutes flew by with a killer ab sequence at the end that had me clutching my stomach!
As I mentioned, the studio isn’t huge. There aren’t a ton of bells and whistles but that’s to be expected from a studio that’s “prison-style.”
Though there aren’t locker rooms – there is one shower that you can sign up for when you get to the studio. But it could end up being quite a wait despite the 5 minute time limit.
The story behind behind ConBody is inspiring, interesting and unique. I think my favorite part of my experience at ConBody was speaking to Shane after class and hearing about the garden he now has at his house on Long Island. He took vocational classes during his incarceration focusing on horticulture.
It’s inspiring to see fitness giving people hope, community, health and a second chance. I think fitness provides that to many people – not only ex-prisoners – and time and time again it’s a great way of connecting people from all walks of life.
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After reading about Body Space Fitness on one of my favorite blogs, Kayla In The City, I knew I wanted to check it out and review it for myself.
Founder Kelvin Gary's boutique fitness studio first specialized in semi-private (small group) training and personal training sessions but has recently expanded it's offerings to include various group fitness classes.
Torn between Body Camp and Metabolic Burn, I made a last minute decision to take the two classes back-to-back. One at 5 p.m. and the next at 6 p.m.
Read on to find out if I survived - and what I thought of the Body Space Fitness!
Body Space Fitness is super nondescript from the outside. When you open the door on the 5th floor of a building, you're already in the thick of things - with kettlebells being swung, sleds being pushed, and medicine balls being slammed all around you.
Though the space itself isn't extremely large, it is packed with functional training equipment. There's not a stationary machine in sight - something that I absolutely love. There's an entire area where clients can get stretched out and rubbed down, an ALTER-G TREADMILL, and the main work-out floor complete with sandbags, medicine balls, TRX, sleds, kettlebells - they've got it all.
Classes take part on the back half of the "turf" and while things got a little congested during the Metabolic Burn Class, the workout is expertly designed and executed to make things run smoothly and for the space to be shared effectively.
It's as if the instructors are performing choreography in the way that they explain circuits and exercises, set stations up and dismantle them, and keep things flowing.
BODY CAMP FORMAT
On Body Space Fitness's website, they describe Body Camp as a "55 minute, strength based class in a small group setting features stations of functional exercises designed to sculpt lean muscles."
100% accurate description.
The class was comprised of a warm up followed by two different strength circuits.
I loved this warm up. Lots of agility/cardio exercises to get the blood flowing. There were only 6 of us in the class and we did high knees, caterpillars, lateral shuffles, karaoke, and more including a few torturous moves with the resistance bands around our ankles.
We performed each exercise :42 ON | :18 REST for 3 rounds.
RFE Split Squat - Fancy terminology for "Rear Foot Elevated" Split Squat. These are more like lunges and we performed them hold a kettlebell (weight of your choosing!)
JB Slam - "Jam Ball" (Medicine Ball) Slams
TRX Hamstring Curls- These bad boys BURN and I struggled to do them for the full :42 seconds, especially with proper form (hips UP)
SB BO Row - Sand Bag Bent Over Row (There were tons of different weight options!)
1/2 Knee DB Press - Kneeling shoulder presses with dumbbells
Again, we performed each exercise :42 ON | :18 REST for 3 rounds.
KBDL - Kettlebell Deadlifts! I appreciated the fact that the instructor, Dean, came around and encouraged me to up my weight. It's always nice when an instructor pushes you!
Lateral Box Step Up
SB FS - Front squats with the sandbag!
Floor Chest Press
The instructor, Dean Sheremet, was absolutely the best part about the class. He took this from just a circuit workout to a great group fitness class.
He was encouraging, enthusiastic and extremely helpful in terms of describing the format of the class, demonstrating each exercise, challenging people individually, offering advice on form and was also a great DJ (hi, Spice Girls!)
WHAT I LIKED
I loved that you could make this workout as hard as you liked based on the weights that you chose for each exercise.
I thought it was a great mix of leg and arm exercise with abs thrown in their as well. None of the exercises were too difficult to get the hang of, but all really effective!
WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE
For some of the exercises, I wanted to challenge myself by going up in weight - especially since this is marketed as a strength focused class. But I found :42 seconds was a long time to perform a strength-based exercise with heavier weights. With the interval set at :42 seconds, it's clearly a more high-rep scenario which means lower weights.
It would be interesting if the amount of time you performed each exercise changed throughout the circuits so that you could experiment more with "going heavy."
METABOLIC BURN FORMAT
Described on their website as their "cardio and endurance based class," Metabolic Burn promises to be "filled with high intensity, calorie burning, low impact exercises using a wide variety of toys such as, but not limited to, sleds, battleropes, ViPRs, sandbags and Airdyne bikes. This class, focused more on endurance than strength, gets your heart rate up with 40 second intervals where you do the most amount of reps possible in the allotted time."
THE WARM UP
We did a lot of the same things for Metabolic Burn's warm up as we did for Body Camp. I like this kind of warm-up because it's not static stretching and actually warms you up- I was definitely breathing a little heavy by the end of it!
We performed the following exercises for :40 seconds with :20 rest as we rotated to the next exercise. We completed this circuit 4 times.
Single Arm Kettle Bell Swings
Sand Bag Shoulder Press - You essentially lifted the sandbag from one shoulder, up and over your head, to the other shoulder. It was deceptively difficult!
Burpee Bear Crawl - Bear Crawl to the front of the turf, burpee, bear crawl backwards to the wall, repeat. I looked like a total spazz doing the Bear Crawl.
Lateral Shuffle With Resistance Bands
Medicine Ball Jack Knifes
Sandbag Shoulder Squats - Starting with the sandbag on one shoulder and switching it to the other halfway through
Lateral Medicine Ball Throws
As you can see, these exercises were much more cardio focused than Body Camp.
The class finished a a 5 minute "Cardio Blast" where we performed the following exercises for :30 with a :12 rest - 4X through.
Hand Release Push-Ups
Nicole Bunyan taught Metabolic Burn and she was great! Supportive, attentive and great at keeping things moving. She had a more difficult job than Dean in terms of keeping things organized since there were so many more people in the same tiny space.
Nicole gave some great tips on form - like keeping your nose pointed up at the ceiling during the medicine ball jack knifes.
WHAT I LIKED
To be fair, Metabolic Burn is just more my style. I like the cardio aspect of classes like this - I like feeling like I'm going to die in a pool of my own sweat because I'm a freak.
I also realllllly liked the fact that a lot of these exercises are low impact. My shins have been bothering me a lot (shocker) and not having to be constantly jumping yet still getting in cardio was great.
WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE
There wasn't anything I didn't like, really! I didn't love love love it, but it was a very good class all around.
THE STUDIO - 7
What the studio lacks in space and "sparkle" it makes up for in phenomenal functional training equipment, cleanliness and organization. They pack a LOT in the space that they have - and it's all things that help get their clients a killer workout.
After speaking with Kelvin, he explained that they've had some growing pains since incorporating group classes. They're working on expanding and after some renovations, the space should be a lot more conducive to all that Body Space Fitness has got goin' on.
CLASS SIZE - SMALL
Body Camp was a teeeeeny class with only 6 of us. It was great, and we got tons of attention from the instructor because of it.
Metabolic Burn was larger, but in the grand scheme of fitness classes, 12 is still a small class and allows for lots of personal pointers.
SWEAT SCALE - 7
Both Body Camp and Metabolic Burn are the type of workouts that are as hard as you make them. It really depends on how hard you push yourself! I made it through 2 classes without feeling like I couldn't go on - but I also didn't go balls to the wall during Body Camp knowing that I still had another class coming up!
FUN FACTOR - 7
This place had good vibes, great instructors and jammin' tunes. As I changed and got ready, the class prior to Body Camp was RILED UP about something - it sounded like a competition of some sort. My point is, people are happy and having fun here which makes a workout a lot more pleasant!
AMENITIES - 6
They aren't out of this world but they have everything you need. Including a hair dryer in the locker room so that you don't need to lug one in your bag!
I will say that when I got out of class, every single locker in the locker room was being used!
COST - $$$
Unfortunately, this is just the cost of a boutique fitness class in NYC - $32 a pop. But if you're a ClassPasser, you can sign up for classes at Body Space Fitness!
This is the kind of fitness studio that I love. They care about putting together a quality, total body workout that is well designed and not just about having people do burpees until they puke for the sake of it.
They offer a ton of different services, classes and packages and are filled with the type of functional equipment that's most effective (in my humble opinion).
Every time I go to a studio like Body Space Fitness and have wonderful instructors like Dean and Nicole, I'm tempted to cough up the money and time to get my personal training certification!
Definitely stop by BSF if you're looking for a great workout that will leave you in a good mood.
Everyone always tells me they think I would love Flywheel - SoulCycle's equally trendy and expensive but less cult-ish and more performance-based counterpart.
The class was held at Flywheel's Chelsea location (on 17th Street between 7th & 8th Avenue) but they have many throughout New York City (9 to be exact) and throughout the US. They've even gone International - hey, Flywheel Dubai!
Everything looked new and sparkly clean but walking in was totally overwhelming. It was PACKED and I was surprised to find that there were no locker rooms - just shower/changing rooms and a bathroom. The lines were long and class started late because there were still so many people waiting to change.
There were lots of things around the waiting area that were convenient - like hair ties and mints, apples and bananas but I wish there had been locker rooms.
The cycling studio itself was large and set up stadium-style so that no matter where you were sitting you had a great view of the instructor.
Flywheel offers 45, 60 and 90 minute classes and the one I took was 45 minutes. For me, that's a good amount of time for a spin class because I typically am able to push myself realllly hard and am completely dead after those 45 minutes.
WHAT I LIKED:
-The shoes all seemed brand new and the bikes were nice as well.
-Focus on Metrics: Each bike has a small computer that lets you know metrics throughout your ride including RPMs, torque (resistance) and an overall score.
-TorqBoard: Another thing I loved about the class was that if you had a username registered with Flywheel, it appears on a leaderboard (the "TorqBoard) that comes up on the screens throughout class so you can see how your score stacks up. They also give you the option of opting out of the TorqBoard, which I think is great since some people might not feel comfortable with it.
Having metrics is HUGE for me in a spin class. It's why I love SWERVE and Peloton so much. Not only does it ignite my competitive spark with the other people in the class, but it drives me to do better each class that I take and to compete against myself.
-What I appreciate about Flywheel is that while they have you "tap it back" a number of times throughout class, that's pretty much the extent of the movement on the bike. There's no crunches and squats and other weird bullshit that you would never do on a bike (I'm looking at you, SoulCycle and Cyc!)
WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE:
There was one song that focused on arms during the class - using 2 or 4 pound bars instead of free weights. As usual, I half-assed this portion and focused on keeping my legs going.
The instructor was great about letting you know how much resistance should be on your bike and how fast you should be aiming to spin during every song.
The music choices were solid as well and there was just the right amount of inspirational babble. I'm not being sarcastic - there really is a sweet-spot for that kind of stuff during a class.
THANKS RACHEL & JORDAN!
After class, we all got goody bags from Rachel and Jordan filled with chia seeds, Justin's peanut butter and other treats. There was also free Suja juices and samples of Barely Bread awaiting us in the lobby. I was so surprised by how delicious the odd-sounding red-cabbage, lemon water concoction was! (It was the Lavenade that I tried). The Barely Bread grain free loaf was ok, but the bagels were downright disappointing.
THE STUDIO - 6
The amenities were gorgeous but it was a real bummer not having a separate girls locker room where I could change. Instead, tons of people were waiting in line for the changing rooms. The line was so slow moving because people from the previous classes were showering.
CLASS SIZE - Large
There are probably around 50 bikes per class so you definitely won't be getting any personalized corrections or attention from instructors during a Flywheel class, but spin is one of those things were a large class doesn't really make or break the workout. You've got your own space so it doesn't feel overcrowded.
SWEAT SCALE - 8
I always leave spin a sweaty, sweaty mess. This was no different at Flywheel.
FUN FACTOR - 7
The fun factor here didn't really come from anything that Flywheel did, but rather the fact that I just generally enjoy spin classes. Give me a dark room with loud music and some stats to push myself and I'm having a good time.
AMENITIES - 9
Free apples, bananas, water bottles, hair ties, mints and shoe rentals earn Flywheel a big thumbs up.
COST - $34
It's expensive, but standard nowadays in NYC.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Everyone who told me I would love Flywheel was right. And if I could afford it, I might become a regular. Flywheel is a no-nonsense on the bike spin class that uses metrics and a competitive atmosphere to push you to a great, sweaty, workout. Flywheel has secured itself a spot in my top three spin studios and I'll certainly be back.
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Helloooo! Here is where I delude myself into thinking that the readers of PB Is My BF have been waiting with bated breathe for my TOBAY Triathlon race recap.
I love writing race recaps for something to look back on. Sometimes they are reminders of a well-organized, fun race that I'd like to do again. And sometimes they're reminders that "I WILL NEVER RUN THE BROOKLYN HALF MARATHON EVER AGAIN..." (lies).
Saturday morning Callie and I walked our bikes and backpacks across Central Park and hopped on the subway down to Penn Station. We met our friend Abby and the joys of traveling on the Long Island Railroad began. Let's just say that LIRR cars are not bike-friendly and we had to create some interesting bike sculptures in order to keep our bikes out of the aisles.
2 hours later we were at my house and shortly thereafter, headed to pick up bagels for some relaxation at the beach.
Abby and Callie get major points for loving my North Shore beach despite it's rocks and for happily floating around for a little bit in the Sound to test out the temperatures. We were pleasantly surprised that it was so warm!
I was happy as a clam eating my egg bagel with egg salad, lettuce and tomato while soaking up the sun and chatting. We stayed a few hours, changed back at my house, and accompanied my parents to the yacht club for a drink on the deck.
Surprisingly, I was feeling pretty zen every time the tri came up - I think part of me couldn't believe it was actually going to happen. Throughout the day we would vocalize our fears - mine being drowning, Callie's being getting a flat but overall we were confident that it would be a fun day no matter what happened.
After a beer at the yacht club (it was a struggle to keep it to 1 - Monkey's Fist IPA by Shipyard is fab) my parents dropped the three of us off at Mavi - a Mediterranean and Turkish restaurant near my house.
We went to town on pita with hummus, babaganoush, white bean salad, and olives before entrees of chicken shishkabob with bulgar, rice, grilled veggies and tzatziki sauce. I still don't have a "go-to" pre-race meal but after reading my nutritionist Julie's advice, I thought Mediterranean was a good choice. I'm used to eating it, it's fairly simple, and my meal had protein and carbohydrates along with some veggies. Bonus points: delicious and such a cute little restaurant!
We got home and were all shocked at how exhausted we were considering it was only 7:30 at night. We got our things organized for the morning and I did a little Addaday and lacrosse ball rolling while we watched Mean Girls. That movie will truly never get old.
Obviously I couldn't go to bed without the dessert my mom had picked up for me - Tate's White Chocolate Macadamia Nut cookies! If you've never had a Tate's cookie (Long Island made!) you need to get on that. They have tons of Gluten Free options too.
I took a Melatonin before bed because I expected to have trouble sleeping due to nerves, excitement, and sleeping on the couch but I'm constantly surprising myself with my ability to sleep - I didn't have any trouble at all.
WHAT I PACKED
I've got my pre road race packing down to a science but with a triathlon, damn is there a lot to think about!
Tri-Shorts - I found mine on clearance at Marshall's well over a year ago, when doing a triathlon was just a tiny little thought in the back of my mind. Impulse buy for the win! I saw tons of people wearing Orca shorts and they worked perfectly for me. I trained in them too, because no new things on race day!
They're fast drying, have leg grips that keep your shorts from riding up your quads during the bike, and a quick drying pad between the legs that helps make up for the fact that you're not wearing fully padded bike shorts.
The tie in the front kind of bothered me, but for $15, they were great. Another brand I saw out on the course a lot was Zoot.
Flip-Flops- Before the race, I walked around in flip-flops and left them at my transition area when we walked down to the water for the start of the swim.
Road I.D. - I finally got a road I.D. and I've been wearing it on all of my bike rides and runs - especially with so many awful stories in the news about runner's being attacked.
Nutrition- Since working with Julie from The Athlete's Palate, I've been trying to be better about fueling during workouts and now, races. I've been using Clif Bloks and have always had success with Clif Shot gels so I packed one of each.
Water Bottle- I'm very bad at hydrating, but I kept a water bottle at transition to remind myself to drink!
Sports Bra- Duh.
Shirt- My original plan was to take off my wetsuit after the swim and finish the tri wearing my tri-shorts and a sports bra. But then I realized I needed to pin on a bib for the bike and run! I pre-pinned my bib to one of my favorite shirts - my blue Sugoi one - it's so light and soft!
Necklace- Yes, I wore my necklace for the entire race! I'm so used to working out in it that I didn't notice it once.
Wetsuit- I don't know if I would have made it through the swim without wearing a wetsuit. It provided so much buoyancy and gave me a little extra confidence. It didn't fit me perfectly, it's my mom's, but I'm glad I had it as my security blanket.
Swim Cap- We were the white swim cap wave and we had to wear the swim cap provided by the race. I was nervous it wouldn't fit my head, but it was actually perfect.
Ear Plugs- I had a slight scare while setting up my transition area when I realized that my ear plugs were in my dad's truck. Luckily, he was able to go and grab them. I've never swam without them, and constantly get swimmer's ear, so that would have been a disaster.
Goggles- Self-explanatory. I like the pair I use. Callie found them and I'm not sure of the brand, but they stay fog-free for the most part and are pretty comfortable.
Helmet - Also important. Safety first!
Flat Repair Kit- I keep this in a little pouch under my seat, though if I had gotten a flat during the race I'm not sure I would have been able to repair it on my own.
Cycling Shoes- I love mine because they're teal and they're actually tri shoes! Again, I bought these a long long time ago before I even owned a bike, and they ended up working really well. They slide on super easily, which is what makes them great for tris. That being said, they're very open and my feet freeze in the winter.
Feetures Socks - I love the pull tab on these. No blisters!
Garmin Forerunner- I didn't want to down my Garmin on the swim, so I put it on when I got out of the water and wore it for the bike and run.
Sneakers- For the run portion I wore my Asics GT-2000. I haven't been loving any of my sneaker options lately, but that might be because everything hurts regardless of what shoe I choose to wear. I like these Asics because they're very cushioned.
Our alarms went off in perfect synchronization on Sunday morning at 4:45 a.m. I shockingly wasn't all that exhausted due to the 9:30 bed time.
The first thing I saw was a text from my sister, who had also set her alarm for 4:45 a.m. so she could wish me good luck. AW!
We quickly dressed while my dad loaded the bikes onto the rack on his truck. My mom thought it was so weird that Abby, Callie and myself all wanted the same thing for our pre-race meal:
2 Pieces of Whole Wheat Toast
Callie and I also had coffee.
The car ride was uneventful as we ate and made comments like, "I can't believe this is about to happen," and, "Just going for a lovely swim in the Sound." We enjoyed pump up music like Shots! and Yeah! Nothing says "IM ABOUT TO RACE MY FIRST TRIATHLON" like Lil Jon at 5:30 a.m.
My dad pulled over near the entrance and we took our bikes off the rack. After a short meltdown where I couldn't work the tire pump and was convinced I had a flat, we walked over to packet pick up (super easy) and started to set up our transition areas.
I racked my bike without incident and laid out my towel while attempting to organize things on it in some type of order. I didn't have a chart or layout, but I imagine that one day I might very well be that anal triathlete who has checklists and balloons for my transition area.
For now, I just tried laying everything out in the order I thought I would need them. That's when I realized my ear plugs were missing and frantically told my mom through the fence that my dad had to look for them in the truck. I also handed her my bag - something I would miss when it came time to pack up all my things at the end of the race....rookie.
Next stop was "Body Markings" which might have been my favorite part. While the lady wrote my number and age on my arms and legs she told me it was so I could see someone in my age group and try to pass them. Gotta love that competitive spirit! I felt like a badass with my new tattoos.
But this badass realllllly needed to pee. So we hopped on the porta potty line which was long, but not too awful.
Dad saved the day with the earplugs and after lots of hugs and "OMGS" we headed back to our bikes where I slipped on my wetsuit, grabbed my goggles, swim cap and earplugs and headed toward the water.
As we got closer, my eyes tracked the course and my stomach twisted. That looked far. We joked as we walked, "Look - it's like a minute walk from where to go into the water and wehre we get out - it must be really short!" But I could stop looking at all those buoys marking our route.
It helped when my parents popped up next to us near the water. They got this really great picture of us looking like athletic aliens. I gave them lots more hugs and my mom told me she would see me when I got out.
This was the part where I needed to start consciously breathing slowly and deeply to keep the nerves at bay and I was shocked that I was able to do it. I had an almost totally calm feeling as we stood knee deep in the water (somewhere, got the blue sky breeze and it don't seem fair...) which was a beautiful temperature.
Next thing I knew we were going! As I looked around, i saw that almost everyone still had their heads up and were slowly making their way towards the first buoy while the group naturally spread itself out a little bit.
My wetsuit, which I had promptly peed in, was helping me float fabulously and I didn't feel too much urgency to start freestyling - my doggy paddle technique was going just great. At one point, Callie and I looked up and were right next to each other doggy paddling along - we smiled and cracked up which are two things I did NOT think would happen during the swim portion of my first tri. Tears and stress? Yes. Smiles and laughing? Not so much.
Soon Callie started swimming for real but I was like, "Nah, this whole swimming with my head out/backstroke/doggy-paddle is extremely inefficient but it's also much more relaxing and enjoyable."
I swallowed a lot of water. A lot of times I just stopped and treaded water in place. The sun was very bright and I couldn't really see where I was going. It was very slow going. I veered off course more times than I can count. I ran into some people. Some people ran into me. A lot of times it seemed like I wasn't getting any closer to the end. But there was never a time when I thought, "I'M GOING TO DROWN OUT HERE!" In fact, I even remember thinking, "This is actually kind of cool that it's a gorgeous day and I'm going for a swim in the Sound." I probably stroked a total of 20 real swim strokes, but I traveled the half mile and emerged from the water with a smile on my face and that my friends was the first victory of the day.
SWIM TIME: 26:13 or 3 minutes/100 yards
My wetsuit was the one that was victorious, however, as I struggled to unzip it on my run from the water to my bike. People kept trying to help by shouting to me which shoulder it was over but heck if that helped. I was so frazzled from having just spent a half hour in the water with the sun in my eyes and earplugs in my ears. I was a little discombobulated. But I did hear my parents yell for me which made me happy, even if I couldn't focus on actually making eye contact with them!
I made it out of my wetsuit and since it doesn't fit me perfectly, it was really easy to peel it off. I put on my Garmin, drank some water (definitely not enough water), popped a Clif Blok in my mouth, wiped my feet off on the towel and put on my cycling socks and shoes, threw on my shirt, strapped my helmet, lifted my bike off the rack and wobbled my way to the bike start. I was actually surprised at how fast I ran in my cycling shoes - maybe not smart, but thankfully I didn't eat it.
I got on my bike without much trouble and was on my way to the bike portion.
TRANSITION ONE TIME: 3:04
I didn't know much about the course going into it other than there was one fairly large hill.
The course wasn't too crowded in the beginning which was nice, but soon I found myself surrounded by more people. For much of the bike, part or all of the street was open to traffic which I didn't love, but it didn't cause too many problems. The one part that sucked was when we were on a main road that was still open and we could only ride in the shoulder. I wanted to pass people on the up-hill but was forced to slow down at some points.
When I got to that one large hill - there was no question that it was "the one." It was a hill alright. My legs were screamin' and seeing people walking their bikes up it realllllly tempted me to do the same. But I shifted down to the lowest gear, grit my teeth, and made it up the hill even when I felt like the end would never come.
After that, the rest of the course was fairly flat and the end was downhill. None of the turns were too scary and though my legs were tired, I tried to give them pep talks that they still had to run 3 miles.
On one of the downhills I shakily grabbed my water bottle and took a sip and somehow managed to get it back in its cage without flipping over the handlebars.
The bike was probably the most enjoyable part of the race for me, but that's also because I was purposely taking it easy and trying to relax and enjoy.
Soon I was nearing the bike finish and gingerly dismounting while trying not to flop onto the ground. My legs were like jelly!
BIKE TIME: 32:24 or 17.6 mph
The run from bike back to transition was a lot slower. I switching socks and decided to go for it, putting on my Feetures followed by my Asics.
I should have already had my Garmin going, but alas, I did not.
I grabbed my Clif Shot gel and got to see my parents again as I went out for the run!
TRANSITION TWO TIME: 1:46
In my head, this was going to be the victory lap. The best part of the tri. Totally fun. Easy, breezy. I had practiced going from biking to running twice and both times was pleasantly surprised.
But the TOBAY Triathlon course had some serious hills in store that I was not mentally prepared for.
The entire first 1.5 miles of the run course was straight up up up. What made it even worse was that it was an out and back, and the entire time people who had already made it to the turn around were whizzing past me on the downhill. It sucked. Plain and simple.
My shins were absolutely screaming bloody murder.
At the second water station, I did something I RARELY do - I walked while drinking my cup of water. Even though I only had 1.5 miles to go, I ripped open my Clif Shot gel - I needed something, anything, to get me up the rest of this mountain.
When I finally made it to the turn around and started running downhill, things got marginally better. My legs were still in pain, but at least I knew I was in the home stretch.
Without around a mile left to go, someone near me on the course started joking with a friend about how crazy we are to do this stuff for fun and it made me smile and get out of my head for a second to realize "Hey, I'm doing this, I'm going to finish my first triathlon!"
When the finish line was in sight I was able to kick it into high gear and finish strong, bursting across the finish line and instantly chugggggging a water. I was definitely super dehydrated. Woops!
First I saw Callie and gave her a big sweaty hug and high five - WE DID IT! Then my parents came from the other side and got sweaty, wet, salty hugs too. It was so so so amazing to have them there since they have heard me bitching and moaning about swimming for over a year now.
They took some very flattering post race pictures and next thing we knew we were cheering Abby across the finish line too and WE WERE ALL DONE!
The run was actually so much faster than it felt at the time (unless the course was short!)
RUN TIME: 23:50 or 7:41 pace
We packed up our things (I forgot my wetsuit and had to go back for it later, fail) and went over to the post-race festivities for ice cream and beer. It was a really nice finish area and we sat out in the sun recapping the race and taking more pictures because heading to Huntington for brunch with our familias! Avocado bacon burger with a Bloody Mary was the perfect recovery meal!
I was asleep within 10 minutes of the train ride back to the city and a lazy blob the rest of the day!
The race was very well organized and the perfect size! It wasn't overwhelming at any point and everything went pretty seamlessly.
The swim, though many people said it was long, was very calm and warm.
Now that I know I don't need to be Michael Phelps to travel half a mile in the water, I'm much more comfortable with the idea of tris. The fact that I managed to do the whole swim without ACTUALLY swimming is comforting and also something that I now see as a challenge to improve on instead of an insurmountable hurdle.
Callie did the best braids!!!
Having my parents there for this was HUGE. They are my biggest supporters and the fact that they woke up at 4:45 a.m. and dealt with my stressed, overwhelmed, scared, anxious, crankiness all day means the world to me.
Every race should have beer afterwards.
I love the shirt that we got!
Most people have asked if I'm "hooked" on tris now. I definitely plan on doing more, and I still hope that I can make an Olympic Distance happen someday. But I wouldn't say I'm addicted. It's a lot more stressful and a lot more work than simply running a race - the logistics of traveling with my bike alone make me think this isn't something I'll be doing every weekend while I'm still living in NYC.
That being said, I had SO MUCH FUN doing this with Abby and Callie. That made all the difference in the world!
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While I spent a week in the woods with 20 family members, the calendar crept closer and closer to August 28 – the date of my – gulp – first triathlon.
Here’s how my training went down for those 7 days.
Saturday – Intervals
This was my first time running “fast” in about 3 months. It was hard – but it felt so nice to feel that burn in my lungs again and I was on such a runner’s high when I finished.
I warmed up for a mile and then ran hard for a quarter mile before jogging a quarter mile. I did 8 fast quarter mile (200 meter) repeats before a cool down mile for a total of 6 miles (the most I’ve run since the Brooklyn Half in May!)
I am slower now than I have been in at least 2 years, but I honestly just loved the sweaty, spent feeling at the end of a hard workout.
Warm Up Mile: 9:01
Mile 2: 8:07
Mile 3: 7:58
Mile 4: 7:59
Mile 5: 7:54
Cool Down Mile: 8:41
I was happy that I was able to drop the pace from my first mile to my last!
Sunday – Nike App Workout + Bike
I woke up Sunday morning not really wanting to work out, if we’re being honest. It was gross out, it was the first day of vacation, and my dumbbells were locked in my sleeping father’s truck.
I walked up to one of the smaller cabins that no one was staying in and played a workout video from my Nike app – a few burpees, side planks, and pushups were part of the 28 minute routine which wasn’t really much of a challenge.
Then, later in the day, my uncle decided to try to tackle his 40 mile bike ride. He participates in a two-day century ride every summer and is in the middle of his training.
I was really nervous to join him on this ride because it meant going on a winding, hilly road with no bike lane. But I decided to give it a shot.
We got about 7 miles before it started to rain – no service + wet, winding roads didn’t seem like the best plan so we stopped under in awning in town to wait out the rain. Luckily, my dad happened to drive by at that exact minute and we flagged him down. Our bikes juuuust fit in the back of his truck.
I had been really excited to complete a 40 mile ride (my longest ride is 38 miles) but it wasn’t in the cards for this vacation – though my uncle did manage to do it the following day!
Monday – HIIT
This was the day that my aunt wanted me to come up with a workout for us – which I happily agreed to and created this.
10 Jumps up the stair
25 Mountain Climbers
10 Shoulder Taps Each Side
50 Toe Taps
We went through this circuit 5 times before heading to the top of the driveway for 7 hill sprints.
Tuesday – First Brick Workout!
I knew that this was the week I needed to try a bike to run transition. I’ve heard that it’s by far the most difficult part of a triathlon. Getting off a bike and getting your legs to switch to running is apparently not the most enjoyable or comfortable thing in the world. I can now 100% confirm this rumor as fact!
I went out with my uncle and we biked 5 miles before turning around and heading back for a total of 10 miles. I took the return trip a little quicker, trying to replicate the effort I’ll be putting in come race day.
After 10 miles at around 15 mph I got back to the top of the driveway where my sneakers were waiting for me. I swapped my Pearl Izumi cycling shoes and helmet for my Saucony Rides, handed my bike off to my uncle (THANK YOU!) and headed out for 3.1 pretty painful miles.
At first, my legs felt like complete jelly. I was thinking to myself, “Well, this isn’t as bad as people say. My legs don’t necessarily HURT, I just can’t really feel them and it’s kind of hard to run when you feel like you’ve got nothing holding you up…”
After about a mile, the pain set in. But by then I knew from my Garmin that I was moving at a sub 8:00 pace which I did NOT want to give up. I was absolutely shocked – it was the first time I had run sub 8:00 miles since the Brooklyn Half!
I pushed through the 3 miles and finished with a 7:44 pace.
I was exhausted just thinking about the fact that when I do that in 2 weeks, it will be AFTER swimming a half mile. And people do Olympic distance tris…?
Wednesday – Circuit
Wednesday I created another circuit for my aunt and I that was a little easier on my legs – no hill sprints! And my momma joined!
1 Minute Jump Rope
1 Minute Crunches
1 Minute Running Up Set Of Stairs
1 Minute Renegade Rows with 10 lb Dumbbells
:45 Minute Jump Rope
:45 Minute Crunches
:45 Minute Running Up Set Of Stairs
:45 Minute Renegade Rows with 10 lb Dumbbells
:30 Minute Jump Rope
:30 Minute Crunches
:30 Minute Running Up Set Of Stairs
:30 Minute Renegade Rows with 10 lb Dumbbells
Afterwards, we did some lunges, high knees, butt kicks, bunny hops etc. before finishing up with 7 Minute Planks
1:00 Left Side Plank
1:00 Right Side Plank
:45 Left Side Plank
:45 Right Side Plank
:30 Left Side Plank
:30 Right Side Plank
The 7 Minute Plank routine is becoming a staple for me – I do it at least once, usually twice a week. And it’s gotten noticeably easier over the past few weeks!
Thursday – Bike + Doughnut Run!
This was a fake brick workout since there was around 30 minutes between my bike and run.
First I headed out for a 15 mile bike ride and later, my sister and aunt ran about 3.5 miles to a local doughnut shop to pick up fresh donuts for the fam.
My uncle picked us up and oh lord were we sweaty.
It was my first time going for a run with my sister EVER and it made me so happy!
Friday – Arms + Swim
I started off the morning with a few arm exercises using the dumbbells – mainly shoulder stuff.
Then it was time to suck it up and get in the water – something I had been putting off all week. My dad and I used Strava and the power boat to roughly figure out where a quarter mile was and then my mom kayaked besides me as I swam a ¼ mile out and a ¼ mile back for a total of around ½ a mile – what I’ll need to swim in my sprint triathlon.
Unfortunately – it wasn’t pretty. I panicked, got frustrated, got in my head, cried a little, yelled at my mom when she offered advice, and declared that I would rather waste the $135 than do this triathlon.
I was wearing a wetsuit – which made me float SO much. I wasn’t scared of drowning or anything like that, but actually SWIMMING just wasn’t happening. There was a lot of backstroking. That’s pretty much all I did the entire ½ mile. As soon as I tried the freestyle stroke, I made it about 5 strokes before I stopped. Having no “end” of a pool in sight was a huge mental hurdle.
I was being dramatic when I said I didn’t want to do the tri – but this swim did absolutely nothing to ease my fears about the swim. In fact, it only magnified them.
Saturday – Bootcamp
Saturday I looked at an old picture from my favorite boot camp class that I go to on Long Island if I’m home on the weekends and completed it (minus the running portions usually included after each set of exercises).
It was a killer workout as usual (Marianne Fitzgerald is THE BEST) and a perfect way to prepare for hours sitting in the car heading home from vacation.
30 Squat press
20 Superman Push-Ups
30 Mountain Clumbers
20 Release Push-Ups
10 Burpee Star Jumps
30 Wall Jumps
30 Jack Pushups
(I completed this set as 15 Wall Jumps, 15 Jack Pushups, 10 Burpees, 15 Wall Jumps, 15 Jack Pushups, 10 Burpees)
30 Curls with Squats
20 Lunge Jumps
10 Burpee Squat Jumps
(I completed this set as 15 Curls with Squats, 10 Lunge Jumps with 10 lb dumbbells, 5 Burpees Squat Jumps, 15 Curls with Squats, 10 Lunge Jumps with 10 lb dumbbells, 5 Burpee Squat Jumps)
30 Walking Leg Lift Lunges
20 Knee to Elbow Jumps
10 Mountain Climbers
30 Power Jacks
20 Plank Jacks
10 Drunk Chicken
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We are a month out from my targeted FIRST TRIATHLON and I’ve been “ramping up my training.” It’s only a sprint distance triathlon – so I don’t have to do anything too crazy, but I will definitely be powering through some tiredness to cross the finish line.
Let’s look at the workouts of the past week, shall we?
Sunday morning I woke up in Schenectady New York after a day at the Saratoga Race Track and needed to sweat out some beer.
Allison, Emma and I headed to the park and did my perfect no gym, no equipment outdoor workout. I love it – it’s easy to do anywhere, it’s hard, it’s total boy.
And then, I busted out TWO PULLUPS on the playground which made me so excited. Being able to do a pull-up was one of my New Year’s Resolutions and even though I haven’t been focusing on it, I guess my strength training has been paying off. Such a nice surprise.
I was up bright and early to start the week with a 35 mile bike ride. I felt strong – though I have yet to replicate the 18.7 mph pace that I somehow managed on my first 30-miler. My pace was 16.5 mph – but my elevation gain was only 676 feet. I’ve been a bit of a wimp and know I need to challenge myself with more hills on my rides. This week away in the Adirondacks should be quite the wake-up call!
My nutritionist, Julie from The Athlete’s Palate, has stressed that I really need to start fueling before and during my longer workouts. I’ve started taking shot blocks during my weekly long rides and so far they’ve been fine on my stomach. That being said, it’s only been one, and a serving size is 3. We’ll get there eventually…
I’m trying hard to stay on top of my physical therapy exercises since my hip is still an issue (and because doing strength exercises is just smart in general) – but it’s hard to fit swimming, biking, running AND strength in during the week.
On Monday I took my lunch break to do 25 minutes of strength exercises (one legged deadlifts, glute bridges, lunges – all that fun stuff) and “7 Minute Abs,” a new favorite.
-1 Minute Plank
-1 Minute Left Side-Plank
-1 Minute Right Side-Plank
-:45 Left Side-Plank
-:45 Right Side-Plank
-:30 Left Side-Plank
-:30 Right Side-Plank
Tuesday morning my roommate and I were supposed to do a BRICK workout to practice the bike to run transition. It’s what I’m most nervous about other than the swim, yet I haven’t managed to try it even ONCE yet. Eek.
During Monday’s bike, something in my glute felt seriously not great – there was a weird clicking happening and I didn’t want to get back on the bike Tuesday morning.
Instead, I ran a mile to the pool, swam 1,400 yards, and ran the mile home.
Everyone keeps telling me that swimming will get easier but – we are not there yet.
On Tuesday’s lunch break I did 30 minutes of arms at the gym. My triceps were wrecked the next day – success!
Run - November Project Bridge Day
This was the second week in a row that I went to November Project! It’s been great to be back – I’ve limited myself to one or two runs per week and the goal is to keep my running days on Wednesday so I can keep getting to NP.
This week was bridge day – I don’t remember the last time I ran hills so it was a HARD workout, but those are the workouts that make you feel the best when they’re finished.
Even though swimming hasn’t gotten any easier or more enjoyable, I was proud of myself for sticking to my twice-a-week resolution and going by myself on Thursday morning. I ran there and back again and did another 1,400 yards.
My new pair of goggles made this swim slightly less unpleasant.
During lunch on Thursday I headed to New York Sports Club for an ab deck. My physical therapist told me she doesn’t want me doing a ton of crunches – she wants me focusing on ab exercises like jackknifes and planks that force you to make a different movement with your abs than crunches (which work outwards – or, something…)
I create a Deck of Cards Workout with some ab exercises I thought my PT would approve of –
Plank Hip Twists
I’m not usually very sore after ab work but I woke up Friday morning and could DEFINITELY feel this deck.
I woke up on Saturday morning and headed out for my first speed work in well over 2 months. I’ve lost a lot of speed and endurance so this was ROUGH both mentally and physically, but when I was done I felt on top of the world. That runner’s high man, it’s no joke!
1 Mile Warm-Up
8x200 (200 Fast, 200 Jog, 200 Fast, etc. for 4 miles)
1 Mile Cool-Down
I’ll be spending a week with family at a Lakehouse – so we’ll see how much exercise happens. But there’s a lake to swim in, my bike came along for the trip, and a set of 10 pound dumbbells snuck their way into the car as well..
ANY IDEAS FOR EASY, QUICK, EFFECTIVE WORKOUTS I CAN BANG OUT IN THE MORNINGS ON MY VACATION?
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Every summer it shocks me when I look at my calendar and realize that I've managed to book every single weekend with some sort of plans.
In the winter and spring, as I'm saying yes to alllll the weekend trips and parties - I'm super excited. The thought of long weekends at the beach and week-long family vacations without a care in the world are completely intoxicating.
But without fail, once the summer is in full-swing, there comes that moment where I wish I could click PAUSE. The prospect of 10+ straight weekends out of my apartment, out of my comfort zone, out of my routine gets a little bit overwhelming and I feel like I need a break from all the summer vacationing.
Am I the only crazy one who feels like this? Who just wants a weekend to wake up in their own bed, go for a run, eat some brunch, and spend the rest of the day watching Netflix on the couch? Not feeling guilty that the sun is shining and everyone else has awesome plans?
I know that come fall I will be pining for the fun-filled days of summer so I am certainly trying my best to soak them up while they're here. But one major struggle with all the weekends away from my apartment, Central Park, and my gym are fitting in a Saturday or Sunday sweat-sesh.
Here's a workout I created while home on Long Island that is perfect for a backyard, beach or park. That means "I don't have a gym in the Hamptons" and "I don't have a gym in Cape Cod" and "I don't have a gym at the lake" are no longer excuses. Find some wide open space, enjoy nature, and get your sweat on with zero equipment necessary!
Starting on one side of your yard, park, beach, etc., do the following cardio exercises until you reach the other side. Then, perform the strength exercise before heading back to where you started from using the same cardio exercise and finishing with the same strength move.
So for the first round, you're doing walking lunges followed by 25 mountain climbers and then returning to the other side with more walking lunges and 25 more mountain climbers. Repeat for each exercise.
For the second round, do each cardio/strength exercise just once. You'll travel the length of your backyard/park/etc. doing walking lunges followed by 25 mountain climbers and on the way back you'll move on to the next exercise - burpee broad jumps followed by 25 shoulder taps.
Click on the exercises below if you're unfamiliar for a link to an example!
Walking Lunges --> 25 Mountain Climbers
Walking Lunges --> 25 Mountain Climbers
Burpee + Broad Jumps --> 25 Shoulder Taps
Burpee + Broad Jumps --> 25 Should Taps
High Knees --> T Push Ups (10 to left side)
High Knees --> T Push Ups (10 to right side)
Butt Kicks --> 25 Plank Saws
Butt Kicks --> 25 Plank Saws
Lateral Shuffle (to the left) --> 25 Squats
Lateral Shuffle (to the right) --> 25 Squats
Inchworm --> 50 Jumping Jacks
Inchworm --> 50 Jumping Jacks
Sprint --> 20 Leg Lifts
Sprint --> :30 Plank
Walking Lunges --> 25 Mountain Climbers
Burpee + Broad Jumps --> 25 Shoulder Taps
High Knees --> T Push Ups (5 to left, 5 to right)
Butt Kicks --> 25 Plank Saws
Lateral Shuffle (to the left) --> 25 Squats
Lateral Shuffle (to the right) --> 25 Squats
Inchworm --> 50 Jumping Jacks
Sprint --> 20 Leg Lifts
Sprint --> :30 Plank
WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU DON'T HAVE ACCESS TO YOUR GYM?
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After a month as a quasi ClassPass member, I won't be signing myself up for a membership - but here are some key take-aways in case you're weighing the pros and cons of a gym membership vs. becoming a ClassPass crusader!
WHY YOU SHOULD SIGN UP FOR CLASSPASS
YOU NEED TO BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE
ClassPass has a pretttttty unforgiving cancellation policy that leaves no room for excuses. If you're signed up for a class and feel a little lazy an hour before you're supposed to show up - that don't fly. Unless you've got unlimited money and aren't concerned with a $15 late cancellation fee.
But for us cash-strapped twenty-somethings over here - you better be cancelling by the 12 hour cut-off or getting your booty to the studio.
Not only will you face a $15 charge if you cancel less than 12 hours from your scheduled class, but it counts as a visit to that particular studio (the Unlimited plan allows up to 3 visits to any one studio in a month time period) and if you have a membership allowing a certain number of total classes - you've just lost one even though you didn't actually go.
To me, this cancellation policy is a deterrent. Life happens. Things comes up. But if you're someone who needs consequences to encourage you - ClassPass is a great motivator.
YOU NEED TO FIND YOUR FITNESS NICHE
ClassPass allows you to take classes at SO MANY studios in New York City. It's very rare, in fact, that a studio doesn't partner with ClassPass in the Big Apple. ClassPass is essentially the Tinder of the fitness world. You're free to browse an endless amount of boutique fitness studios and classes until you find the ones that are the right matches for you.
I know I love boot camp classes and HIIT. Hence, I didn't use any of my ClassPass sessions for a yoga class. But if you're lacking the knowledge of what you like and what you don't like when it comes to working out - ClassPass is a great way to try a variety of classes until you find your favorites.
YOU LIKE TO SWITCH IT UP
Some people know what they like in terms of fitness - but that doesn't mean they're content to go to the same class over and over again. If you like to avoid fitness fatigue and mental burnout from doing the same routine week after week, ClassPass is a great way to find yourself boxing one day, doing speedwork at a treadmill-based class the next day, and stretching it out with a hip-hop yoga class the next day.
This is by far the biggest draw of ClassPass to me. I've tried creating a schedule for myself - "Monday BodyPump, Tuesday Speedwork, Wednesday Bike Ride, Thursday Swim, Friday Yoga, Saturday Long Run, etc. etc." but it only ever lasts about a week until something in my schedule changes of I wake up and just don't feel like doing the same thing yet again. ClassPass keeps the boredom at bay.
YOU LIKE WELL ORGANIZED WEBSITES
Alright, so maybe this isn't a stand-alone reason for you to join ClassPass - but it is a major perk. The website is extremely well designed and allows you to search for classes in a lot of different ways depending on what your priorities are.
I love me some search filters. Anybody else?
You can search ClassPass's databases by studio name, class name, location, amenities, class types, etc. This came in handy so many times even in the short month that I used ClassPass. Some nights you're trying to fit in a class after work and before dinner plans with friends - you can use a map to figure out a studio that's conveniently located. Sometimes you're going straight from a workout to your office and need to make sure the studio has a shower. Sometimes you're really looking to get a yoga class scheduled. #Filter!
YOU'RE A PLANNER
Your Google calendar is a work of art AND you carry around a physical planner too. If you're all about keeping a schedule and staying organized - ClassPass will be a breeze for you. Many of the more popular classes around NYC fill-up on ClassPass really quickly.
Typically one week in advance the classes open up on the ClassPass website for registration. If you're organized and have a list of the classes you want to register for - kudos to you. For me, my workout plans tend to happen a little more sporadically and I don't always know a week ahead of time what I'll be feelin'.
I wasn't able to try a few studios that I intended to during my trial because they were all filled up by the time I got around to trying to register (I'm lookin' at you Tone House and Fhitting Room). The other thing I found is that even if there were classes available, they were for the most obscure times that wouldn't work for most people's schedules.
And what's up with Barry's only opening 5 a.m. classes for ClassPass users? Lame, Barry.
GROUP FITNESS IS YOUR JAM
A lot of times, I'm totally fine with doing my own workout at the gym. I have enough motivation to get myself there and to push myself. Many times, I'll use a routine borrowed from a class I've taken in the past. But there are some people who do much better in the motivation department if they're in a group fitness class. (And trust me, many times that gets me a hell of a lot more motivated too).
If you constantly find yourself backing out of gym plans because you don't feel like going alone, don't know what you're going to do once you get there, feel self-conscious or just feel like you aren't pushing yourself hard enough - ClassPass and group fitness classes in general are a wonderful antidote.
YOU'RE OK WITH THE COST
Most importantly, you need to be OK with shelling out a good chunk of change for a ClassPass membership. You can look at their different options here but plans range in price depending on the market (available in many cities including Austin, Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Kansas City, Vegas, London, LA, Melbourne, Miami...you get it - basically every major city). In New York the cheapest membership gets you 5 classes per month for $75 ($15/class). In a market where boutique fitness studios easily charge $30/class, you're getting a good deal per class BUT you're only getting a workout 5 days out of the month whereas a gym membership allows you to workout every day if you want.
Recently, the cost of an unlimited ClassPass membership jumped up to $200. Yes, it's a lot, but if you were to take a class every day of the month - the cost would work out to less than $7 per day/class.
You can read the reviews of classes I tried during my month-long ClassPass trial membership here:
*ClassPass didn't pay me to write this blog post. I signed up through their trial offering and cancelled at the end of the month.