That that don't kill me, can only make me stronger. I need you to hurry up now, cause I can't wait much longer. Kanye West, Stronger

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Doing it Fonda Style

Now that I am taking classes at night, I am going to have to start planning my workouts. I'll probably try to go before work on Mondays and Tuesdays. But in the likely event that I end up hitting the snooze or when I just don't feel like going to the gym/studio, I'll do a workout video or two and call it a day.

Growing up I don't remember a morning that my mom wasn't up doing Denise Austin's hips, thighs and buttocks, so maybe its hereditary; in any case, I am a huge fan of "having a personal trainer right there in the privacy of your home." Honestly, I would probably replace my tv with an orchid if I didn't like to use it for my dvd workouts! I can only hope to get fittv someday!

It can be hard (nearly impossible) to find videos that are actually as good as a gym workout or class, but I'll share a few of my favs.

This is my entire collection, minus Billy Blanks, Billy's Favorite Moves. That is actually one of the best, you really burn some calories. The only downside is the lead instructor after Billy is painfully emaciated, and looks like she is doing speed or something. But still a great workout.

Out of these videos Shape Bikini Body Camp redefining workout is the true star. If you do both the 30 minute workouts, you get a very good workout. They are a mix of cardio/strength intervals using weights and a dyna band (band included).

The one at the top I got free from Special K. It is a Zumba workout, and I love it. I usually do it with another video though because it is not super intense. It's a fun dance workout with some lunges and squats. Out of all the dance-based videos I have, this is the only one I think is effective. I want to check out more of the line.

The Claudia Schiffer Perfectly Fit Series is pretty good for 15-20 minute toners. Obviously this is a vhs set, so it is pretty old.

The biggest loser workout 2 is all right. I like that you can pick which segments you want to do and customize your workout in the set up options. It can get your heart rate up, but it's not going to help you lose 100 lbs (or even 10) if you are exercising regularly.

I don't recommend any of the others too highly.

Out of this set, I like the crunch fat burning pilates and burn and firm pilates videos. They have lots of lunges and squats, I like to combine these with a half hour run to feel like I got a complete workout.

The biggest winner frontside/backside is pretty good, intense. I have to do both at the same time to really feel the effect.

Kathy Smith's Ultimate Video Workout is no joke. A great totally body workout with plenty of cardio and a full strength segment. It is from like 1987, but I love it! Lots of fun, lots of cheese, lots of leotards. Why did people in the 80's think leotards were to aerobics what the LBD is to cocktail parties?

I also highly recommend the NYC Ballet Workout. I have the book version and it gets me limber within days. They video is great for mellow days.

Also Fitness magazine's website has lots of great workout video reviews. They even include a calorie burn estimate for several of the videos.

To keep myself from getting annoyed by workout video instructors, I often put the tv on mute and play my itunes.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


I hadn't been to Jivamukti in years. They used to have a great $5 class on Monday nights, but I don't think that is the case anymore, you might want to look into it further if you are interest though.

Anyways, I was hesitant to take a my first class at Jivamukti (5 years ago) when I was all about cardio and didn't want to sacrifice caloric burn for a quiet mind. However, I was shocked by how physically challenging it was. I was sore in places I didn't even know the body had muscles!
I was not a convert however and haven't taken a yoga class in quite some time.

Yesterday was my first time in the new(er) studio on Broadway and 14th street. It was much larger and more spacious than the Lafayette Street studio. It had a nice little shop and a cute cafe (Jivamuktea).

Many reviews call Jivamukti dogmatic and pretentious, and I have to say I can see were they are coming from. The reception staff was really snobby and almost rude. (Note: The staff couldn't be nicer at staff at Physique or Exhale.)

I got to the class and it was absolutely packed, 3:00 on MLK day, so I am not sure if this is normal. So I was a bit squished.

The instructor started with a very long speech on making offerings to the inner teacher and how giving a penny to the homeless can have the meaning of giving 1 million dollars depending on the meaning behind your true offering. It was a good 15-20 minute opener, so while at times I really wanted to be there with him and make selfless offering, so that his promise of "powerful things" and "gurus appearing in my life" would come true. But part of me was a little glazed over and ready for class to start. The guy on one side of me kept rolling his eyes and laughing. As an aside , the guy on my other side was a very cute well-known actor.

Finally the class commenced. It was a good (not great) class, we held each pose for a full 10 seconds. We never really got into a good heart pumping flow, but we were challenged to stay in a ten minute head stand. One great thing was that although it was an open class the instructor was very clear when describing each move, so I wasn't trying to learn Sanskrit on the fly. However, I really didn't feel like I got much of a workout, but I was very well-streched.

In the end, I felt relaxed, but not totally rejuvenated. Quieted somehow. I took some of the offering and inner guru stuff with me. If you are taking yoga for a spiritual and mental workout, this is the place for you. However, if you really just want some sweat inducing sun salutation cycles without having to put up with to much chanting and philosophy, you might look elsewhere.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Core Fusion at Exhale

I tried out Core Fusion at Exhale Spa. To my surprise it was almost exactly the same as Physique 57.

This is the Exhale description:
Build a strong core. Develop washboard abs. Improve posture. Focus your mind.
Core Fusion® is known as a Pilates-infused transformational fitness experience as it allows you to work from the inside out and it consistently delivers results. This highly publicized mind body class is proven to give you washboard abs, a tighter and higher backside, and a perfectly toned body.This one-hour class fuses the disciplines of core conditioning, Pilates, and yoga to produce long, lean muscles, a flexible, youthful body and a sense of peace and relaxation. (picture is a yoga class--sorry)

This is the Physique description:
During the 57-minute class, clients use weights and the ballet barre to strengthen and lengthen every muscle group to create supple and lean bodies. All beginner, mixed and advanced level classes are structured to make the most of every minute. Motivating music accompanies the brisk sequence of toning exercises and stretches. Throughout the session, Physique 57® instructors move among clients positioning, aligning, and providing individualized instruction.

I took a beginner class at Exhale, so I am not sure it it was slightly easier or if it was the level. It was certainly more subdued, almost relaxing. It was definitely challenging, but I didn't feel I was getting the calorie-burn that I get from the high-heart rate more boot camp style class at Physique.

As far as atmosphere, Exhale has Physique beat hands down. The spa is beautiful and Zen-like. The locker rooms are gorgeous and filled with amenities, including free locks on all the lockers.

The workout studio was twice as big as the Physique studios, and there were only about half as many students.

I intend to stay loyal to Physique, but I wish they would charge less, now that I see what their competition offers! I have to try the more advanced Core Fusion class to see if that offers the same level of intensity as the open Physique classes.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Fitness Deals!

I have to say Time Out has been so on lately. In the last issue they had all a great round up of fitness stores in the city. I was going to put together my own, but they beat me to it--saving me a lot of time.

Winter stores

Get fit guide

Another great deal is the fitness passport put out by the Health and Fitness Alliance. It is a booklet of hundreds of passes to gyms, yoga, pilates, spinning and dance studios. It only costs $79 and it is worth over a thousand, I'm sure. Plus, if you join a gym or studio, you get refunded for the passbook! It is available in several cities. Mine just arrived today and I am so excited to go studio hoping!
I'll try to keep you abreast of deals as I see them!

Extreme (weather) conditioning

My boss happened to ask me this week if I trained in rain and snow and cold. I said not really, I bought some cold weather running clothes. On a side note, I finally broke down and bought spandex tights. They are amazing and lined with the thinnest fleece, so they really keep you cozy. They were $50 from nike. I also got a running long sleeved skirt and jacket for a total of $25 on sale at Dicks. They are some brand I've never heard, but boy do they keep me warm and dry. I have to say, if you buy it, you will run! I never would be running outside without my new gear; it makes me feel like a runner. As unflattering as spandex may seem, it does hold a lot in :)

But if it is too cold, I just go to the gym. So today I was at the gym, and as I am running on the treadmill, I am looking out the window seeing the rain come down harder and harder! They the snow joins it. I wasn't sure what to do so I just kept running.

I actually didn't workout at all yesterday, so I was really happy to get some exercise in. My mood and energy are way up. By the time I left it was snowing way more than raining, so I was only slightly damp when I got home!

Keep moving!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Mediocracy is not clutch

So today was my first "official race" of the new year. I did the Fred Lebow Classic. Fred Lebow was the co-founder of the New York City Marathon.

The 5 miles went pretty fast. I ran the race in 48 minutes and 2 seconds. Which is 9:36 minute miles. I am pretty sure all of my miles were about that pace, as I tend to be insanely steady. Half of the course was uphill and half downhill, but I feel like I didn't sprint the early downhills, and pushed myself on the end of the race uphills, keeping my pace steady.

So the time was very good for me...but I was only in 52nd percentile for my age/gender groups. So I was kind of bummed. I work out so much, and yet I am just average at running.

I guess I should be happy I can run at all considering how counter intuitive it often feels.

Anyways, I am not competitive with running. Usually it doesn't matter to me, but I guess I'll just keep running as a hobby and enjoy all the fitness areas I love. No sense in wasting tons of energy killing myself to improve my running when I could be enjoying a variety of activities.

I am a jack of all sports but a master of none. Kind of sad, but what are you going to do?

Monday, January 7, 2008

Gotta Work It

Okay, so I have to say this week I really have done a lot of working out!

Last Monday I did a 5 mile run, and an hour long yoga class
Tuesday-5 mile run
Wednesday-rest day, and a 30 block walk if I really want to kid myself.
Thursday-Urban Rebounding Class and a Spinning class
Friday-100 block epic walk through the city on a nice crisp evening night
Sat-3.5 interval run, 8 minutes total sprinting, 25 minutes jogging, 30 minutes free weights, 10 minutes streching
Sun-6 mile run
Monday-3 mile walk, Physique 57 class