Posts Tagged ‘technology’

In Good Health: Fitness Trends To Watch in 2016

January 7, 2016


7091300071_compAs one year comes to a close and the new year begins, we view the clean slate before us and resolve to eat better, exercise more and take better care of our bodies than we did the previous year. The new year’s resolutions will come and go, but trends in health and wellness will continue to manifest throughout the year.

In 2015, we saw a new crop of juice bars, boutique fitness studios and athleticwear brands mulitply like rabbits across the country. Superfood juices became superfood bowls, and those that dared to eat carbs ate avocado toast. Exclusive, expensive and specialized studios popped up everywhere, with a better, more novel way to ride a bike, lift a weight and burn a calorie. These once unique boutique gyms soon started to spread their wisdom and some, like Soul Cycle, have become more prevelent in the New York City landscape than McDonalds.

Last year, we went hard. HIIT, or high intensity interval training was the common denominator in many of the hottest workouts. Gasping for breath and dripping with sweat were key determinators of a great workout. While we still see a preponderance of high intensity experiences leading the way, a few key factors will change.

This year, competition will take over the scene, with gyms like Orangetheory and Flywheel using leaderboards to track anything from speed, watts, mileage and heart rate across all participants. Full service gyms, like luxury player Equinox, are getting into the act with their specialized cycling programs being rolled out across the chain.

The concept of “Go big or go home” will take on a new sense of importance, with rest and rejuvenation becoming just as important and going all out in the gym. This will manifest itself in interesting ways, from planned active recoveries to a influx of regeneration activities breaking into the scene. Meditation studios, such as MNDFL are cropping up, as are sensory deprivation and cryotherapy outlets. L.A. leads the way with a new facility called Wanderlust Hollywood,which challenges members to “find your true north, and cultivate your best self,” through yoga, meditation, food, festivals and mindfulness.

We are discovering the benefits of sleep are much greater than we thought, and getting a full 8 hours could become way cooler than staying out all night.

If you can’t get to the gym but still want the experience, no worries. Peleton’s special bike allows you to stream into a class taking place in real time in their NYC studio, or select one from their extensive library. The Daily Burn allows you to stream classes with some of the top instructors in the fitness world today, and choose from a variety of genres to tailor your at home workout just for you. Watch for this concept to grow, allowing people to access the best class experiences when and where they wish to have them. Think of it as the Netflix effect.

Functional training, and bodyweight training are also gaining popularity. They require no fancy equipment, and train us not just to lift a heavy weight, but to be able to get our bags in the overhead compartment of an airplane without help, and lug our groceries up a few flights of steps. What’s the point of building muscles if you can’t use them?

Where we once we willing to scramble from studio to studio to get in our workouts, we are now looking for a more wholistic approach that gets it done all in one place. With fitness publications striving to answer the age old question of which should come first, cardio or strength training, these classes throw caution to the wind and mix it up. (Also, please stop writing those articles. I’m pretty sure that unless you are training for an elite event, it doesn’t really matter. Just do it!) From Equinox’s cutting edge introduction of Shockwave a couple of years ago, which incorporated rowing intervals with strength segments, to Barry’s Bootcamp which uses the treadmill, these classes aren’t exactly new on the fitness horizon. They are, however gaining momentum. Watch for more of these hybrids to pop up, and new combinations to emerge. Rowing and weights, cycling and yoga, boxing and pilates? Who knows what the next big idea might be!

Speaking of boxing, that is another form of training that seems to be having a resurgence. Whether it is true boxing from Aerospace or Shadowbox, or boxing inspired workout classes, like Equinox’s new The Cut, there seems to be renewed interest in this genre. Victoria’s Secret models swear by it, and from the looks of some of the participants, if you want to be strong, lean and cut, this could be the ticket.

Group reboots, which include training programs, nutrition and lifestyle coaching are gaining momentum. With goal setting, accountablilty and the support of a team driving their success, these specialized programs have proven to be very effective. Look at Barre 3’s 28 to Great, Anna Kaiser’s Transformation, and Equinox’s ETC as examples.

Technology will continue to grow as we monitor our stats, track our progress and compete against our peers. Whether it is apparel, accessory or equipment based monitors, this area will only get bigger, and more complex as new technology is developed. Watch for new developments to continue to astound us. Chances are, whatever you want to track, there is an app for it.

Stay tuned as we delve into our predicitions for the new year in wellness and food!

Photo: Glasshouse Images

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iPhone Dependence

April 30, 2014


For the last few months, I have been traveling non-stop for work. I run a business off of my iPhone. For me, that little rectangular screen is my link to the world. I have multiple email accounts, a phone, my calendar, an address book of contacts, a clock, the weather and even access to my gym and more, all in this handheld device.
On Saturday, I tossed it in my bag, tucked the bag under my arm and 15 minutes later, when I reached for my phone (to get loyalty points at the fish market, no less), it was gone. I turned the house upside down, although I knew I had just unplugged it from the charger before I left. Clearly, I was pick pocketed. I called it, and tried the “find my phone” app, but it was turned off.Game over.

Being just weeks away from upgrade eligibility, and not wanting to spend hundreds of dollars extra for the same item, I called AT&T for help. While they graciously agreed to let me purchase the phone for $199, vs. the $649 charged at the store if you are not in the upgrade window, I had to agree to wait for them to ship the phone to me. I embarked on a business trip, sans phone and proceeded to function as best I could, without the benefit of technology.

Without the easy access to check the weather, I left the house dressed for the temperatures in New York. While the sun was shining and it was projected to be sunny and in the low 60’s there, in Boston, it is damp, grey and freaking cold! My train was delayed and I could not call the car service to let them know I would be late.

When I arrived, I quickly logged in and out of multiple email accounts. I recreated my calendar on paper to account for the next few days of meetings. I emailed people to let them know I would not be easily accessible for the next few days. I even asked one of my contacts  to email me the day before our appointment as a reminder, since I didn’t have a calendar to put them in.

I hope I wake up in the morning, without my alarm to help me along. I am not sure I will be able to workout, without music to facilitate my run on the treadmill, or my circuit training app to spur me on. Forget my food and exercise diary, or twitter for that matter. I even had to contact a client to get the log in information for their social media accounts which I manage.

Don’t expect a call, as I have no record of your number, my passwords for almost anything, or a reminder to take care of things. In fact, if you need me, just write a letter and mail it to me. I am out of commission.

On the other hand, there is something nice about just living in the present, away from the constant need to check email, keep up with the Joneses on Facebook, or photograph dinner.

It is amazing how I spent a good part of my adult life without the benefit of portable technology. I finally got a cell phone when I had a child and wanted to be reachable at a moment’s notice. Shortly thereafter, my company purchased Blackberries, and the madness began. While many people were not yet using them, there was a constant stigma to “put away the Crackberry,” as we often called the addictive little device. Then came the iPhone, which disrupted the entire population by providing easy access at the touch of a screen.

Men and women, young and old, are now tethered to their devices, on the street, in the car and out in public. It is not unusual to be in a meeting, or even a restaurant, with everyone sitting around the table, punching frantically away on their smart phones. Even the bathroom is no longer a sacred place.

At what point is technology a good thing, and when do we realize as a society, that we have gone too far?  So far, I am 3 days into my smart phone cleanse, and I am happy to report that I am functioning, albeit slightly inconvenienced. With my laptop at the ready, I have to admit that it isn’t quite as bad as I thought it would be.

I often reach for it instinctively, and realize it’s gone. Then I step back and find a way to accomplish what I need to do the “old school” way, and for now, it’s working out just fine.

How dependent on your smart phone are you?

Solar Charge Me

June 20, 2013

Three businesspeople leaning on a wall, looking at phones and digital tablets

The first of many solar powered charging stations went live in New York City yesterday, providing residents with a place to charge their precious smart phones.

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, Mayor Michael Bloomberg wanted to be sure the city had the infrastructure to weather future emergencies.

He said in a statement yesterday: “New Yorkers will have improved connectivity and access to the wireless technology that has become such an important part of our daily lives.”

The 12.5 foot poles will have adapters for both iPhones and micro USB powered devices. AT&T is funding the project at no cost to the city, and is also providing free Wi-Fi, at parks throughout the area.

For those of us who hiked several miles uptown to get power to charge our electronic devices last Fall when the super-storm rendered lower Manhattan powerless for several days, this could be a lifeline for future situations. Like when our batteries run low while picnicking…

photo: Glasshouse Images

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Dance for Your Music

November 29, 2012

Scottish Musician Calvin Harris is offering his new album for free, via an iPhone app.

What’s the catch? The music only plays if the phone is moving.
It’s a fun ploy to encourage people to dance as they listen. The app also allows the user to unlock additional tracks by taking photos of the album cover.

For those looking for a more sedentary experience, the album, entitled “ 18 months”, is also available for purchase on iTunes.

Be on the lookout for more motion enabled apps in the future.

Sites We Love: The Cools

June 28, 2012

The Cools, a new website that launched yesterday, is the brainchild of Olivier van Themsche. The Cools is a social network, style platform and e-commerce site that is curated by trendy young ambassadors, such as Dree Hemingway, Lola Schnable and Lauren Santo Domingo. The site also has advisors, including Antoine Arnault, Lapo Elkann and Erin Featherston.

These bold faced names don’t ring a bell? Guess you aren’t as “cool” as you think you are. But no worries, you can join the site anyways.

The Cools use member profiles to connect users with bloggers and sellers that reflect their personal tastes. Members can scan the site and follow others as they hone in on their style.

“Brands, designers, creators and artists have the opportunity not only to sell their stuff but to tell their story,” van Themsche said in an interview with WWD.

The products are original and eclectic, and the user experience is more akin to Twitter or Pinterest than eBay.

Be amongst the first to join the site and start interacting with The Cools.

photos:  The Cools

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Designer Food Stuff

May 25, 2012

Everything is getting the designer treatment these days, and food is no exception.

Here are 2 innovative concepts that take the culinary experience to the next level:

It’s not trendy enough to just eat sushi, now we need to design the seaweed wrappers too!
Japan’s Umino Seaweed Shop has created rolls of nori (the seaweed that sushi is wrapped in) that are laser cut into designer patterns.

Five precut designs are available, each based on an element of Japanese symbology.

Custom coffees and text messaging have become an obsessive part of our lives. Now you can receive a message in your half –caf soy latte and kill two birds with one stone!

Seattle based cloud texting company Zipwhip, has created Textpresso, a machine that can not only send and receive text messages, but can print them in your coffee foam too!

Zipwhip has merged the espresso machine with an android app that has SMS capabilities, and installed a printer stocked with edible ink. It can print short messages in your coffee foam, to personalize your morning joe.

What will they think of next? Any ideas?

photos courtesy of Springwise

Don’t Be A Slouch

May 9, 2012

Everyday, I start out sitting at my desk with near perfect posture. That very quickly deteriorates into a slouch, and by 4:00 I have slipped down so low in my chair, that my feet are under someone else’s desk.

Sound familiar? Guess what? There’s an app for that!

LUMOback is currently developing a flexible wireless sensor, that will monitor and measure the wearer’s posture. When the user slouches, it will send gentle vibrations to the small of the back, as a reminder to sit up straight. The sensors are connected to a mobile app that not only monitors the user’s posture, but also offers advice on back health.

The LUMOback app is still in development but expects to be ready to launch their Beta program soon.

Check out their website to be part of the trail.

photo: Glasshouse Images

Stop Sending Dirty Texts

May 2, 2012

I admit it; I am a bit of a germophobe. I wipe down the equipment at the gym before I use it, and douse myself in Purell the minute I get off the subway. I hate food that others have freely touched (Salad bars? Yuck!) and wash my hands the minute I get in the door.

It is no surprise that I love this little invention: a device that sanitizes your cell phone while it charges.

PhoneSoap consists of a box with UV lights on either side to simultaneously clean both sides of the phone. The box can be used alone, or with the USB cord provided to charge it at the same time.

Three to five minutes of UV exposure is enough to kill 99.9% of bacteria and viruses and is considered safe for humans.

With one in every six phones testing positive for fecal matter, we think everyone needs one of these (or needs to stop pooping and texting at the very least!)

PhoneSoap is currently available for preorder on Kickstarter for $39 and will be delivered in August 2012.

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