Posts Tagged ‘studio cycling’

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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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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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GIving Tuesday

November 27, 2012

The day after Thanksgiving is thought to be the biggest shopping day of the year. The term “Black Friday” comes from a time when the boost in sales helped businesses move from being in the “red” to being in the “black,” or achieving profitability.

Black Friday is the kick off to holiday shopping. Consumerism runs rampant this time of year, and it is difficult to remember why we are celebrating the holidays in the first place.

Stores opened as early as Thanksgiving Day, setting off a barrage of criticism from workers who wanted, justifiably to spend the time with their families.

Black Friday has spawned other shopping days, such as Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday.

In an effort to step back and embrace the true meaning of the season, Giving Tuesday has been created to encourage people to give to others in need.

Statistics show that in 2011, the average shopper spent almost $400 on Black Friday, with almost 25% of them hitting the stores by midnight.  What if just a small amount of that money was spent on giving back to their communities?

Today, I ask each of you to think about what you are grateful for, and find a way to express that gratitude by donating time or money to a worthy cause.
As for myself, I would like to take this opportunity to ask you to help me raise money for the treatment of rare cancers through Cycle for Survival.  Each year, I ride in a charity indoor cycling event, which has raised over $18 million dollars for the research and development of treatment protocols to aid those suffering from rare forms of cancer. A friend of mine, Jennifer Goodman Linn, whose 7-year battle with cancer ended just over a year ago, founded it. She was an inspiration to everyone whose life she touched, and her legacy has helped fund over 53 clinical trials at Memorial Sloane Kettering Hospital.

Please click the link below to donate to my team, Shari’s Spinners to help us find a cure for this devastating disease.

www.cycleforsurval.org

If you are in New York City, and would like to join the team, or would like to form a satellite team in your town, please contact me directly at indigojonesnyc@gmail.com for more information.

I am thankful that I am able to do something I enjoy and truly make a difference in the lives of others. What will you do to give back today?

photo:Glasshouse Images

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!

Cycle Snob

August 21, 2012

I admit it. I am a cycling snob.

I am a devoted follower of just 3 instructors, who are all known to be among the best in their field.  Every time I try a substitute, I am disappointed and vow never to stray again. With my knee still not quite ready for primetime, having 2 of the 3 on vacation this week posed a fitness dilemma. Should I be open and give someone new a chance? Maybe this time they will be great.
I open-mindedly (okay, very skeptically) approached classes last week with new teachers thinking it might just provide a shock to my system or at the very least a new experience. Once again, I was disappointed.
I have been trying to figure out the delicate balance between a great instructor and a less than stellar one. I mean, we are essentially riding a bike to nowhere for a designated period of time, with loud music playing. There is only so much variation that can take place. So what’s the big difference?

Pedaling away on a bike that doesn’t move requires motivation and variation. The great teachers keep you going with a constantly changing menu of sprints, standing runs, climbs and flat roadwork. For me, terrain based classes make the ride a more realistic experience.

The lesser instructors get you moving but the responsibility for your intensity is entirely in your hands. The work is often monotonous, with long stretches of single speed, unchanged resistance and not much encouragement. In order to work up a sweat, and get your heart rate up, you need to crank the intensity on your own. The 45 minutes of class feel like an eternity, and often leave you tired, not energized.

The great teachers plan each of their classes out in advance to ensure that you are challenged and get a well-balanced workout. They are often training vehicles which help you build strength and endurance, versus someone who just gets on the bike and pedals away with little thought to how the participants might evolve to meet their fitness goals.

The great teachers push you beyond your limits. They somehow motivate you to move out of your comfort zone and into a place where you never thought you go. They aren’t sitting quietly on the bike. They are walking around, screaming, coaching, encouraging and making you fight for every pedal stroke and every breath. These classes are crazy hard, and without them pushing me, I know I wouldn’t be able to achieve that intensity.

The not so great ones are spinning away on their little platforms, offering very little in the way of guidance or motivation.

As a fellow cycler said today,” I feel like they are talking to the wall or ceiling, and not really resonating with me.”

The great ones let you know where you are in the ride. They tell you what is coming up, and lead you through the segment. They let you know how much time you have left in the intervals. It makes it easier to really push your boundaries when you know you only have 30 seconds to go before you can back off and catch your breath.

The music is important, and very subjective. Even if your taste in music is different from the instructors, variation between songs and a good strong beat is key.  A 45-minute playlist of house music tends to blend together into one long song.  The average not so great teacher tends to have the class do a lot of tedious standing runs with a sprint or two thrown in for good measure. Tedious riding and monotonous music makes for a boring ride. ‘Nuff said.

The great teachers are precise, and have the class moving as one unit, or competing as teams. There is no ambiguity in the ride. The not so great classes often become free for alls, with many people doing their own thing to break up the boredom, or make the ride easier or more difficult.

Yes, I am a bit hardcore. I go to the gym to get results, and I love feeling sweaty and breathless at the end of class.  I feel as though I am in the hands of true professionals, who take their work and my fitness seriously. I love the sense of accomplishment when I make it through a particularly difficult patch without pulling back. My goals are to grow and develop my stamina, endurance and strength.

Not everyone feels that way. There are many people who just like the group atmosphere and aren’t interested in facing that feeling of extreme discomfort and pushing past it. For them, there are lots of instructors out there to choose from.

So go ahead and call me a cycling snob. I’m sticking with my 3 favorite instructors, “loyal to the end.”

photo: Glasshouse Images 

Ride Like A Life Depends On It

January 31, 2010

Today we were part of a life-changing event. We participated in the 4th annual Cycle for Survival, a 4-hour studio cycling event, benefiting the research and treatment of rare cancers through Memorial Sloane Kettering Cancer Center.

Hosted by Equinox Fitness Clubs, over 600 teams gathered to spin their way through the day; sweating, cheering and supporting one another to fight this debilitating disease.

Some rode in memory of a loved one, some rode to celebrate the fact that they could, and some rode to support someone that couldn’t. We all rode as if our lives depended on it, and silently prayed that we would never have to.

Cycle for Survival’s remarkable and intrepid founder, Jennifer Goodman Linn, shared that she recently received the news that her cancer had returned for the 5th time, and would be resuming treatment next week. Her strength and determination is an inspiration to many, and a gift to those who are battling cancer. Our thoughts and prayers are with her as she begins her journey again.

Next week the ride resumes in Chicago, and the fund raising continues throughout the month of February.

Thanks to all of our readers who supported this very special cause. Your generosity is helping to save lives and change the face of cancer treatment.

To make a donation log onto: http://www.cycleforsurvival.org

photo courtesy of spencer jones

Keep the Wheels Turning

November 8, 2009

Bicycle Wheel Silhouette

In December 2004, Jennifer Goodman Linn was diagnosed with MFH Sarcoma, a rare form of cancer that affects less than 1% of all patients.

Jen has since endured 4 surgeries, and over 30 months of chemotherapy, all while maintaining her role as a senior level marketing executive, and avid studio cyclist.

While undergoing treatment at Memorial Sloan- Kettering Hospital, Jen vowed to find a way to express her gratitude, and help others who were battling obscure, or “orphan” cancers like herself.
During treatment, Jen discovered the empowerment that her indoor cycling classes provided. She credits the ritual of pushing herself physically to the best of her ability with helping to save her life.

In 2007, Jen and her husband Dave founded Cycle for Survival, an indoor team cycling fundraiser envisioned to “reward, and challenge the mind, body and soul.” Anyone that has participated in this event can attest to its success, both financially and inspirationally.

Anyone who has met Jen, can attest to her drive and enthusiasm that seems to be unwavering.  When I met her several years ago, she immediately confided that she “had cancer, wore a wig and went for chemo every Friday afternoon”. She just put it out there, and moved on. I have never ceased to marvel at her resolve, optimism and ability to make things happen, despite the obstacles her illness has thrown her way. Being part of last years Cycle for Survival literally left me in awe.

Someone once suggested, that we should reframe what happens in our lives. Instead of asking, “why is this happening TO me?”, we should ask” why is this happening FOR me?”

Jen truly embodies that spirit and has taken her personal tragedy and turned it into a triumph.

Last year, the event, raised $1.2 million, all of which went to Memorial Sloan- Kettering for the research and treatment of rare orphan cancers.

This year, the event has expanded to 2 locations in New York, and another in Chicago. The New York events will take place on Sunday, January 31, at Equinox locations in midtown.

“The fact that this event has directly benefited patients motivates me to keep going.” Jen said. “We’ve gained momentum, and we have already changed the way we’re fighting this illness. I have great hope that this will ultimately lead to more treatment breakthroughs and higher survival rates for those with rare cancers, so that more of us will live to tell our unique tales.”

To join the ride, or donate to the cause, please go to http://www.CycleforSurvial.org, and click on my team, ”Shari’s Spinners”. Please help us keep the wheels of progress turning to fight this deadly disease.

Photo: Glasshouse Images


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