Posts Tagged ‘workout’

The Art of Movement: The Museum Workout

February 1, 2017
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image by Mallory Lynn

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City is hosting a series of morning workouts, which take place in the expansive space of one of the most famous galleries in the world.

Concieved of and choreographed by contemporary dancers Monica Bill Barnes and Company, and narrated by artist Maira Kalman, the multi-disciplanary workout takes place in the early morning hours before the museum opens to the public.

image via Bloomberg

image via Bloomberg

The nearly two mile course flows through the various galleries led by Monica Bill Barnes and her dance partner, Anne Bass, both wearing sneakers and sequined dresses. Through constant movement, including classic moves such as squats,dance moves and light stretching, the participants are able to experience a unique mind- body connection.

Ms. Kalman selects the artwork to be viewed, and produces a soundtrack of Disco and Motown hits, interspersed with her recorded dialogue to guide the group the space.

The experience runs through February 12, and tickets start at $35.

Thursday to Sunday, weekly; 8:30 am, The Met Fifth Avenue:
Jan 19, 20, 21, 22 & Jan 26, 27, 28, 29
Feb 2, 3, 4, 5 & Feb 9, 10, 11, 12

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Healthy Reset: How Its Going Week One

July 3, 2015

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The new eating plan got off to a rocky start on Monday morning, when I discovered that the only thing to make a smoothie out of was a few freezer burned strawberries and some pineapple chunks. Those mixed with water left me a bit cold, but it was better than a completely empty stomach as I headed to the gym. The lesson was quicky learned; be prepared.

In order to eat fresh, whole foods, one has to have them on hand. On the way back from the gym, I detoured through Chelsea Market and picked up lots of fresh produce and some fish to facilitate easy meal preparation. I am lucky to live in New York where I can walk out the door and have my pick of places to buy healthy food within a block or two. A word to the wise: if you have to drive to get groceries, stock up!

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The rest of the day went off without a hitch. While the program allows snacking if you are hungry, it is preferable to eat three healthy and filling meals instead. Some of the snacking cycle is in our heads. We get bored, or tired and think we need a snack. Sometimes we do, but often times we just need a glass of water or a cup of green tea and a diversion. Yesterday, I needed a snack.

Most Whole30 participants complain of headaches and low energy during the first week. This is a result of our bodies coming off of sugar, caffeine ( although coffee and tea are permitted, without dairy or sweeteners) and much of the excess junk that we previously consumed. My diet is not all that different on a daily basis, with the exception of dairy, mostly in the form of Greek yogurt, so I am hoping to bypass the hangover feeling that many people endure during days 2-7. Afterall, it was that hangover feeling that I got when I ate poorly that prompted me to try this. So far, I made it through a cycling class followed by a pilates class, so I guess I am doing fine.

Although the plan strongly urges you not to count calories or weigh yourself for 30 days, I recorded my food and exericise in my journal anyways, and discovered that even though I ate three healthy, balanced meals, my caloric intake was extremely low. Most experts advise eating at least 1200 calories per day, without exercise. Given that my workout burnt over 700 calories today, eating less than 700 calories can’t be good, so I treated myself to a little Monkey Salad. It is a paleo fruit salad, consisting of a sliced banana, a handful of cashews, and a liberal sprinkle of unsweetened coconut flakes. It is considered an acceptable indulgence since it uses approved foods, contains fruit, fat and protein, and doesn’t mimic something we are trying to avoid. It hit the spot, and could become a go-to. It also contained almost 300 calories, so it is important not to go crazy with it under normal circumstances. However, it drives home a good point: although Monkey Salad has as many calories as a cookie (or 2), or a bowl of ice cream or some chips, it is healthy, nutritious and contains no additives. ( Check the labels when buying coconut and cashews to make sure that is all that is listed on the ingredients. Sweetened, salted or preserved coconut is a big no-no.)

Day three brings no news, and if I continue to be home, without travel or social plans, this could be easy to sustain. It requires a lot of shopping, and chopping, but I know that I am not putting anything into my food that is against the rules. I love vegetables, so eating lots of them is fine. I am not longing for anything at this stage, but I am only a few days in. The weekend presents a challenge, when we typically eat out for brunch, and I indulge in a little wine and whatever at night. I am committed to NOT doing that this weekend.

Day 4 brings an ooops into the equation. In repurchasing a few things that I had on hand, I read the labels more carefully and low and behold, I have been using a few non-compliant items.

Srirachia contains sugar, a big no-no on this plan. The rules state that you must start over if you eat non-compliant foods, but there is no way I am going to go nuts over a tiny squirt of hot sauce that probably contained mere grains of sugar. But, speaking of nuts, Trader Joe’s roasts their cashews in rice bran oil. Yep, not on the list. Today I bought raw cashews, and will roast them myself, without any oil at all. While all of this sounds a bit extreme, the lesson here is to read labels carefully, and avoid packaged foods wherever possible. Freshly roasted nuts are delicous, and Tabasco sauce and Chola are both compliant, so I am not really giving up anything else here.

Whole 30’ers report feeling nasty and viscous on day 4, but so far, I don’t feel any malice towards anyone. I didn’t sleep as well as I should last night, so I am a little tired, but otherwise, all is normal. Many of the participants don’t workout, but I am keeping up with my workout schedule as usual. I guess the more detoxing you need to do, and the worse these first few days are. I don’t recommend going cold turkey on this plan, if your normal eating habits are poor. If you decide to do it, it might be best to start weening off the addictive foods on the list a bit before embarking on the full deal.

I am planning to invite a few friends over for Fourth of July dinner. I don’t mind making a dessert for them and not eating it, and I often serve meat to my family or guests that I don’t eat, but I would like to make all the side dishes compliant. With vegetarians in the mix, it will be a challenge to give them enough heft without dairy, beans, soy, grains or flour. Perhaps putting non-compliant ingredients on the side will be the answer. Check back for the verdict on how the holiday weekend went, temptations and all!!!

Photo: Glasshouse Images

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Resolutioner’s Etiquette

January 12, 2015

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It is that time of year again, when everyone vows to workout, joins a gym and then….you know the rest.

Coming from someone who is there all year long, year after year, I am here to tell you that you are annoying. While us regulars applaud your new found commitment and wish you lots of luck sticking with it, most of you are in our way, doing things that inhibit our workout, and taking up valuable space on equipment and in classes.

In an effort to have us all live happily over the next few weeks when most of you will go away as quickly as you arrived, let’s go over the ground rules once again, okay?

Know which classes require pre-booking (cycling) and which you can just walk into. We don’t take kindly to you stealing the bike we got up at the crack of dawn to book, only to have you waltz out 10 minutes in when you’ve had enough.

If you are new, get to class a little early to get help setting up, so the instructor can get things started on time.

Don’t do your own thing in a group fitness situation. There is a group for a reason. It’s very distracting to watch you flailing away at your own speed when we are doing drills. In a class like spinning, reduce your resistance to make it easier, but keep up the pace.

Don’t just stand around fiddling with your phone, or chatting with friends. You are in the way. And as for that phone, don’t even THINK about talking on it. Most gyms have a policy against it, and most people really don’t want hear you talking on it. If you are in a class, leave it elsewhere.

Pick up your towel. Even in a full service gym with lots of staff to do it for you. It’s rude, and inevitably, someone else will have to move it or climb over it before they can get to it.

If you should actually break a sweat, wipe it up! I mean, yuck!

Don’t spread your stuff out on the locker room bench so that nobody can sit on it or put their stuff down. And speaking of sitting on it, please don’t do it bare back, if you get my drift.

If there is a row of cardio equiptment, don’t take the treadmill or elliptical right next to someone else if there are lots of open ones. It’s just creepy.

Don’t leave your stuff all over the weight area to stake your turf and then not use said turf. Also, don’t do few reps and then sit there and play with your phone and your hair while others are waiting for that equiptment.

If you wear something to workout in, please wash it. Even if it doesn’t seem to smell bad and you think you can wear it again, you can’t. Trust us. The new sweat reactivates the old sweat, and the stench is stinky squared.

Please put your bag, coat, and coffee cup in a locker. Your stuff laying all over the place when it’s crowded is a nuisence, and a hazard.

When your coffee inevitably spills, please wipe it up.

It’s great that you have a workout buddy. Can you actually work out?
We don’t want to know about your date, your friend, your boss, your new shoes or hear you recite your last 7 text messages. Like, ok? OMG,that’s awesome.

We were newbies once, and we pushed through, so if you do it right, you can too.

Here are a few suggestions for success.

Schedule your workouts like you would a haircut or a dental appointment, and show up.

Try to workout at a similar time of day to start creating a habit. It will make it easier to maintain.

Set realistic goals: start with twice a week for a couple of weeks, then add another day. If you commit to too much too soon, you won’t be able to handle it, and you will become a New Year’s Resolution statistic.

If you can afford a personal trainer for a few sessions, get one. They will help you learn proper form, create a well balanced workout for you and get you off to a good start, injury free.

You probably aren’t burning as many calories as you think. Don’t undue your good work by treating yourself to a fattening snack. If you don’t adjust your diet, you won’t see results, and you will get discouraged.

Missing a workout or eating something you shouldn’t doesn’t mean it’s all over. You are only one meal or one workout away from being back on track.

See you at the gym!

photo: Glasshouse Images

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Know When to Say When

November 6, 2014

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When it comes to exercise, more is not always more. I, like many of us, worry that skipping a day will slow my progress. I go hard most days,and I am well read enough to know that the real change occurs during recovery. I always take one full day off from the gym each week; sometimes two. During those days I walk as much as I can, and try to be active, without actually working out.
When I left my cycling class on Tuesday, I was drained. I followed it up with a Pilates mat class, which served to loosen up and stretch out some of the muscles that were screaming for relief. I vowed that Wednesday would be my active recovery day.
Fast forward to Tuesday evening, when a broken pipe in our building started flooding the studio.
Plumbers arrived late that night and after a lot of banging and some nasty sewage odors, deemed our water off limits.
Wednesday morning arrived and every muscle in my body was sore.  I was moving at a snail’s pace. Without the use of the kitchen or bathroom, I sauntered off to my oasis: the gym.
I figured that as long as I was there, I might as well do something. After an hour of weight training and some foam rolling, I hit the shower. I was dehydrated and hungry which didn’t exactly help my situation.
That evening, we had an event to go to. While we said we would have a quick glass of wine, shake some hands and leave, we ended up staying for few hours, standing in high heels on marble floors.
By the time we left, my legs and my back and shoulders were screaming. It was too late for dinner, and I ended the day with unhealthy snacks.
Like a zombie on auto pilot, I hit my cycling class this morning. Despite being tired,sore and not so well fueled, I took a few Advil and pushed through. Since returning,I have finally given in to the exhaustion.
The moral of this not so short story? LISTEN TO YOUR BODY! Pushing past it yesterday didn’t do my any favors. My performance at the gym today was subpar and my productivity this afternoon is well below that. Muscles and minds need a little reprieve to reboot and power back up. Overworking any of those can lead to burn out or injury.
Powering through a tough workout is often mind over matter. When the discomfort sets in, we need to convince ourselves to keep going unless we feel ill or injured. But by the same token, we need to know when to say “when.”
Tomorrow,without a doubt, is a recovery day.

photo: Glasshouse Images

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Musings from the Front Row

December 24, 2013

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I work out religiously, but I am not a fitness class junkie. I do take cycling classes, and about once a week or so, I add in a high intensity metabolic conditioning class. The rest of the time, I work out on my own. I am not overly social at the gym, and I am far from an exhibitionist.

In classes, I tend to find a spot in the back, often near the door in case I decide to make an early exit ( which I never actually do!) I don’t coordinate my gym clothes, create elaborate hairdo’s, nor do I yell “whoo” during the difficult times. I go to sweat, I work hard, and I tend to blend into the group.

Until yesterday. I took  a class with a favorite instructor I hadn’t seen in awhile, and he talked me into a spot right next to him in the front row. He would demo an exercise, and then move around the room, timing the intervals, tweaking and motivating the group, Once we was off, the focus was on me, and the others situated front and center. CRINGE! I cautiously took my place, feeling the pressure of everyone being able to see me. The view from up there is decidedly different, and in the end I learned a few things.

1. I was extremely conscious of my form. Although I generally try to put form first, it’s easy to get a little sloppy, and not lunge or squat as deeply, or straighten your arms fully on overhead presses when you get tired. With the knowledge that 40+ people were standing behind me watching my every move, I perfected my form on each and every rep.

2. There is no slacking in the front row. During the series of one minute all out intervals, it’s easy to get tired and skip a few beats. Knowing that everyone would know if I stopped, forced me to keep going, even when the urge to back off was overwhelming. Further note to self: Some of that fatigue is all in your head. Push past it!

3. When you make faces, roll your eyes, or mutter during the hard parts, the instructor totally knows. BUSTED!

Today, I assumed my normal position in the back near the door, but my inner mantra became ” work like you’re in the front row and everyone is watching!”

My experience did not make me want to live life in the proverbial  spotlight, but it did make me more aware of my actions.

While the old adage ” dance as if nobody is watching” is a good one, in this case, the moral of the story is: “work like everyone is watching!”

Where do you like to workout in your fitness classes?Are you a front row type, or a back of the packer,like me? Let us know in the comments!

photo: Of someone that isn’t me: Glasshouse Images

Stay the Course

November 18, 2013

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Recently, I have been commuting to Boston for a project that I am working on. My hotel, while very comfortable, is isolated. Set on a cliff above a highway, there isn’t an opportunity to go out, without calling a cab. There isn’t anywhere near the office to walk to either, so I need to impose on someone everyday to take to me get something for lunch.

At home, I am very rigid about keeping to a routine. I eat very healthfully, bring my lunch to the office wherever possible, and exercise everyday. I walk everywhere, and easily log the suggested 10,000 steps before getting to the office many days.

Being away from home poses a challenge to an uber healthy lifestyle, but it is surmountable. Last week taught me a few lessons in sustaining my diet and workout while away from home.

If you are a morning exerciser, get up and workout, whereever you are. It’s harder when you are away, but I have found that sticking to my familiar routine helps my body adjust to jet lag, and keeps me from feeling out of control. My hotel has a small but serviceable gym, which helps, but going for a run outside, or even a brisk walk, is better than dropping the ball completely. That a.m. workout habit didn’t come easily…disrupting it for long periods of time can make it harder to get back on track when you are home again.

Don’t be afraid to be one of those people who ask for sauce on the side or specially prepared food. There were days I thought I was making wise food decisions, only to discover that my vegetables were slathered in butter, and my simply grilled chicken breast was sitting atop a big bowl of creamed corn, the advertised spinach being a mere garnish, rather than a side dish. The bread basket posed an unusual temptation; one that doesn’t generally phase me. From now on, I will ask them to leave it off my tray. Now that I know that they liberally butter the steamed vegetables, I will request them plain. I will ask for a simply grilled chicken breast or salmon filet, without the sauce and trimmings, and order a side salad, or unbuttered vegetables on the side. I will ask for olive oil and lemon, instead of creamy salad dressings, and grilled vs. fried chicken on my salad. I am not asking them to make me things that they don’t offer; I am merely requesting that they leave something off. I will ask kindly, and thank them profusely, and I am certain they will be happy to oblige.

I noticed a Trader Joe’s and a gourmet market near the office. I asked my taxi driver to pull up, and I ran in and stocked up on Greek  yogurt, nuts, green tea, and fruit to keep in the office. I now have healthy food on hand when I am hungry, and I am no longer at the mercy of others to get me lunch.

The occasional business trip is not enough to completely derail your routine, but those of who are traveling regularly to the same location, consistency is key. I hope to employ these tactics this coming week, to get me back on track.

photo: Glasshouse Images

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Eat for Performance

July 25, 2013

If you work out hard, chances are you get sore. What you eat to fuel your workout is as important as the exercise routine itself. Here are a few healthy foods that aid in muscle recovery and help ease those aches.

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Cherries are in season, and you no longer need a mortgage to buy them! (They were $12.99 a pound in early June in New York City, down to $4.99 today!!!)

Studies have shown that tart cherry juice can help athletes recover more quickly from their workouts, due to anti-inflammatory properties that block the enzyme linked to muscle soreness. Enjoy these tiny red fruits as a post workout snack, but watch out for the pits!

Multicolored tomatoes

Tomatoes are also at their peak right now, and the Farmer’s Markets and grocery stores are filled with all kinds of ripe, delicious tomatoes in all sizes and hues.

A study has shown that athletes recovered faster when they drank tomato juice before and after their workouts, than when they fueled up with carbs. Tomatoes also have a high water content, and are filled with potassium, which helps replenish the electrolytes lost from sweating. It is also thought that the antioxidants in tomatoes soothe inflammation and hastens muscle recovery.

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Beets are another favorite, and they are full of natural nitrates that raise the nitric acid level in the body, improving blood flow. Studies were done using beet juice, but  eating beets can also be helpful.

Try adding roasted beets to your salad, tart cherries to your Greek yogurt and tomatoes to just about anything for better workout results.

photos: glasshouse images

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Work It Out

April 19, 2013

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After managing to make it through the flu season relatively unscathed, I seem to be fighting a cold of some sort.

It started with a sore throat, and after a few days, an intermittent, yet hacking cough has joined the party.

I have been working hard to get back to my normal level of fitness after a long gym hiatus due to an injury. The thought of being sidelined again so soon, is daunting.  If I can make it to work, run the household errands, and get dinner on the table, surely I can make it to the gym, right?

It seems counter-intuitive to even ask the question, “When are you too sick to workout?” If you’re sick, you’re sick. But the reality is, a little exercise can boost your immune system to help you recover more quickly.

The rule of thumb seems to be that if the ailment resides above the neck, then it’s ok to do a light workout, if you feel up to it. Sore throat, and sniffles, even a little mild coughing is ok. Chest congestion, fever and stomach ailments are all big resounding “NO’s!”

It is recommended to workout at a reduced intensity to avoid exhaustion; run at a slower pace, eliminate high intensity intervals, and avoid going breathless.

Be cognizant of your fellow gym goers. If you are sneezing and dripping all over the place, perhaps it’s better to keep those germs to yourself.  Be sure to wipe down equipment after use, as an extra precaution, and toss those nasty tissues into the trashcan.

 

(*after coughing through the entire night, I threw in the towel and skipped the morning workout. )

Photo: Glasshouse Images

Color Play

October 26, 2012

Color is taking over the gym floor, with bright sneakers replacing the classic white, black or grey models.

Trainers waiting for their clients yesterday morning at Equinox, in New York City.

Real men wear raspberry… a trainer and his client both rocking raspberry sneakers: 2 of the 6 men I noticed wearing raspberry while working out in close proximity this morning.

Bright blues and turquoise were also prominent.

A couple on Fifth Avenue were color coordinated. LOVE the orange laces and neon green socks!

 

 

 


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