Posts Tagged ‘spinning’

Shake It Up

May 2, 2016


Lately, I have been feeling like my workouts need shaking up. I have fallen into the habit of taking a variety of cycling classes four times a week, and an endurance based weight circut class, followed by abs class once a week. I toss in a post-cycling pilates class when I can. I take one day off, where the most strenuous exercise I do is walk. That leaves one day per week to fit in weight training, running or another much needed rest day. With my regimen of extremely healthy eating and tough, consistent workouts, I seem to have hit a plateau, even sliding down the mountain a bit, if you will.
This week, fate seems to be taking my need to shake it up into their own hands.
About a month or two ago, one of my favorite instructors dropped many of his morning classes, two of which were mine. I found great replacements and continued my regular schedule with minor tweaks. This week, two different instructors announced their recent promotions to corporate, which means they are dropping my classes. I have been feeling like one of my other classes with a longtime favorite instructor is getting stale. The workout feels punishing and exhausting, rather than envigorating, while pushing my body past it’s limits, and out of my comfort zone. Maybe this is the universe telling me to lift more and spin less.

Truth be told, if the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again without results, I am at the precipice of crazy town. It is time to move along. 

Starting a new month is the perfect time to re-evaluate my fitness goals and how to achieve them. I am exploring new classes, other gym locations and plan to get into the weight room instead of the cycling studio a few days a week.
I don’t want to give up the blood pumping, heavy breathing and  exhilaration of cycling. I just know that I need to mix it up to get better results.

Do you ever get in a fitness rut? Share you experiences in the comment section.

Photo: Glasshouse Images

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Independance Day Workout Alert

July 2, 2015


Sunday morning is the perfect time for a workout. We’ve had a little time to kick back and rest over the weekend, we are not as strapped for time as we are during the week, and we have the day ahead of us to recouperate. If the weather permits, it is a great opportunity to persue outdoor activities. This Sunday, however, you may want to rethink that morning run along the river.

With July Fourth celebrations comes fireworks, and with fireworks comes particle pollution, a condition which effects air quality.

An article in the Journal of Atmospheric Environment states that the amount of airborne particles nearly doubles during the night of the fourth, and doesn’t settle back down until about noon on the fifth. These particles can be comprised of nitrates, sulphites or other chemicals. Exposure to this type of pollutant has been linked to respiratory issues, including heart and lung disease.  Those with asthma, bronchitis or coronary conditions should be especially careful during this period.

Enjoying the great outdoors has its benefits, but this Sunday might be a good day to hit the trendmill or spinning class instead.

Photo:  Glasshouse Images

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Our Crystal Ball: Fitness Edition

December 18, 2014

Crystal ball

There are trends in everything, from fashion and interiors, to cosmetics, food and even fitness. As the new year approaches, here are a few of the the fitness trends lurking in our crystal ball:


Treadmill workouts:
We have been inundated with indoor cycling studios for the past few years, and if you have ever tried to book a class at Soul Cycle, or a Saturday morning ride with Wil Ashley at Equinox, you know just how popular and almost cult-like spinning has become. The great music, high intensity intervals, encouraging (and sometimes intimidating) coaching, and a high calorie burn are some of the reasons people flock to studio cycling. This year, we expect to see the phenomenon spread to running, with indoor treadmill workouts starting to appear around town. Equinox launched it’s Precision Running series a few months ago, and new studio, Mile High Run Club is already getting some buzz. Watch for more and more studios and classes to start popping up around town in the new year.

Young woman stretching

Recovery and Rejuvenation:

We hit it hard everyday… running, spinning and doing high intensity metabolic training with weights. This results in fatigue, sore muscles and plain old exhaustion.

This year, expect to see classes that focus on aiding recovery, using foam rollers, therapy balls and other tools to help undue the knots and kinks from working out through myofascial release  I love Laura Ward’s Pilates /Bartenieff Fusion which gives me a great stretch and release after one of the afore mentioned cycling classes.


Body Weight Training:

Lately I seem to be reading more and more about body weight training, which relies on your own body to provide the burn. Bypassing weights and machines for old school rounds of burpees, pushups, lunges, and squats is taking off, and classes that include 30-60 second rounds of each of these exercises in quick secession are trending upwards. Look for adult “playgrounds” to emerge, with jungle gyms and other simple equipment suitable for pull-ups, climbing and suspension training.


Wearable Tech and Digital Engagement:
It seems everyone has a wearable technology device on their wrist, tracking activity, calories, steps and even sleep. As technology improves, and more companies enter the arena, we will start seeing even more digital engagement. Apple’s Health app becoming standard on all iPhones, is just a start, and the much anticipated release of the Apple watch could be a major game changer in 2015. Designer takes on wearable technology, from notables such as Tory Burch for Fitbit, will make health and fitness tracking fashionable.

Shorter workouts at a higher intensity:

High intensity interval training (HIIT) has been the big thing for a while and will continue to gain momentum. With life getting busier and busier, people are looking for more bang from their gym time buck. Tabata reared it’s head a couple of years ago, and variations of the 4 minute rounds of super high intensity 20 second intervals with 10 second recoveries have been appearing in fitness classes everywhere, including cycling, running and strength training disciplines. Compound movements are stepping into the forefront now, shortening workouts by combining moves that target multiple muscle groups. Think squat or lunges with bicep curls and presses, or plank variations. Circuit training classes, such as Equinox’s MetCon3 or Stacked, combine compound movements with plyo movements to get the heart rate up, as well as build strength. Shockwave, adds rowing intervals to mix, leaving participants breathless and into the coveted anaerobic zone, which builds muscle and increases stamina through oxygen depletion.



Morning Yoga Raves:

Early morning dance parties, featuring healthy juices, yoga and meditation instead of cigarettes, drugs and alcohol, are taking place in big cities across the globe. Start your day with an underground party before work, for an uplifting, social and spiritual awakening. Watch for this trend to spread as an alternative to the current club scene.

Stay tuned for more predictions in the world of food, fashion, and fitness for the coming year.

Photos: Glasshouse Images

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Spin Cycle

May 3, 2013

Yet another addition to the New York City cycling scene….


With an influx of boutique spinning studios infiltrating the New York fitness scene, this newcomer has figured out how to provide the burn, and the buzz without leaving your home.

Introducing Peloton Cycle, the technological masterpiece of John Foley, former President of Barnes & Noble ecommerce, and one of the great minds behind the marketing of the Nook, and it’s downloadable eBooks.

In this innovative business model, Peloton plans to sell a high tech spin bike with a tech-enabled screen. Riders can subscribe to a service which allows them to take unlimited classes live streamed from the company’s cycling studio, or play a class on demand for $39 per month.

The bike’s console also provides customized stats, displaying your cadence, watts and calorie burn (programmed off of your height, weight, and age for accuracy.)

The center of the screen will feature the instructor, with a few cuts to the riders in the studio, to make the participant feel like part of the group.

As the competition for the best instructors heats up, Peloton plans to pay top dollar and make their instructors “global celebrities.”

If this takes off the way it’s founder believes it will, this could become the next wave of fitness fanaticism to sweep the country.

The Superbowl is Not a Giant Bowl You Fill With Snacks

February 3, 2013


Today is Superbowl Sunday. It is an annual event that is to junk food what turkey is to Thanksgiving.

It is expected that Americans will consume over 11 million pounds of potato chips, 8 million pounds of tortilla chips and more than 4 million pounds of pretzels. Add in 1.24 billion chicken wings, 4.4 million pizzas and 111 million gallons of beer. No word on guacamole and bean dip consumption.

The average person will consume 1200 calories during the game. That’s alot of calories.

What would it take to burn off the day’s excess?

Actually playing football instead of just watching it could torch the entire amount in two hours. Walking it off could take 5 hours, but a moderately paced run could burn them off in two. A good spinning class or 3 could solve the problem in about 2 1/2 hours.

Taking a relaxing yoga class could help you come to terms with your indulgence, and work it off if you are willing to practice for 7 hours straight.

Or you could just enjoy the game and go back to healthy eating tomorrow.


You Talkin’ To Me?

September 21, 2012

The other day, as I toweled off and tried to catch my breath at the end of my cycling class, the teacher started talking about how “some of us needed to learn to experience the feeling of discomfort more intensely during their workouts.”

As he wound up his monologue, he stared right at me. Coincidence? Probably, but it threw me for a loop just the same.

This particular teacher is known for his “show no mercy” attitude and pushing you beyond your limits. I leave class physically drained, soaking wet, and proud of my accomplishments. I push myself, (with his help) pretty hard. He doesn’t generally come by to check up on me, or increase my resistance. I might have just been in his line of vision as he was addressing a packed room. Or, he might have singled me out silently to let me know I needed to up my game.

Whether or not he did, the effect was the same.
The next day, thighs still tight from the above-mentioned class, I got on the treadmill. Almost immediately, my left quad cramped and my hamstrings started screaming at me to stop. Did I, you may be asking? Hell no! I pushed through 4 miles absorbed in the experience of intense discomfort. All I could think about was my cycling teacher’s glare.  I powered through my workout with his words motivating me to keep going.

Later, after spending some quality time with a foam roller and a hot bath, I walked to work as usual. I had a few stops along the way, and didn’t bother to change my shoes. On the way home, I kept thinking about “the comment” again, and wondered if he could have walked 3 miles in 41/2 “ heels. That would teach him about pushing through the feeling of discomfort, wouldn’t it?

Of course I could just go up and ask him if he was addressing me specifically, or if it was just a coincidence. But I don’t really need to know the answer. His comment somehow ignited some competitive flame inside me, and is serving its intended purpose, even if it really wasn’t intended for me!

Doubles Match

May 7, 2012

Do you ever do “doubles?” What I’m talking about is 2 workouts a day. They can be back to back, or once in the morning, and again in the evening. They can even be done at more than one location. Think it sounds a bit extreme, and that only athletes or swimsuit models do that? Think again!

Today’s New York Times Sunday Styles section documents the phenomenon, and it’s way more prevalent than you might think.

They talk about the 350-yard dash, from Barry’s Bootcamp in Chelsea, to Flywheel Sports located just across the street.  Or the run from Soul Cycle on the Upper West Side, to Pure Yoga next door, for a barre-method class.

The interesting fact is that most of these people are females who aren’t athletes or models. They are working professionals with fulltime jobs who just want to stay in shape and find the classes good stress busters.

These classes don’t come cheap. Most individual sessions run about $32 a piece, with a discount when purchased in bulk. Multiply that by 2 (sometimes 3!) per day, 6 days a week, and the cost is pretty hefty. And some of them maintain gym memberships as well.

Just as I was sitting there thinking that the women in the article were obsessive nuts, I glanced at the clock and realized that I was going to be late for my own Sunday morning “double.”

Although I am a long-term Equinox loyalist, I am guilty of doing doubles, when time permits. While I often mix weights and cardio into one workout for maximum efficiency, on Sunday, I do intervals in a circuit training class aptly called “Whipped,” followed by a spinning class. I too workout 6 days a week, but try to stagger my activities to work different body parts and intensities to avoid burnout or injuries.  I totally get what these women are doing, but I think it’s a bit extreme even by my standards.
It has been my experience, that once you start working out regularly and vigorously, your body stops responding the same way, and requires more intensity or frequency to get results. I don’t actually see the benefits of the 90 minutes or more of walking that I do for transportation purposes each day, but when I stop, I notice the difference in a negative way. These women (and I to a slightly lesser extent) are setting ourselves up for actually needing this much exercise, instead of just wanting it.

At what point does this morph from being calming and invigorating, to a dangerously unhealthy obsession?

photos: Glasshouse Images

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