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

Sunday, March 16, 2008

MonQi Fitness


I was expecting great things from this studio, which spreads across three floors. The only free double class option opened when I called was the 8:30 spin, 9:25 abs and butt classes. So I made it to the studio at 8:15 wondering who else was crazy enough to be up and at em at that hour.

Not many people.

I waited in the very cramped locker area with two very lean upper east side women. (I couldn't help thinking that these were the type of women who must have subsisted on the froyo at 40 carrots in Bloomies during the '80's.) One was going on and on about how she was going to have to sell her country house, and how she was devastated for her kids. How she supposed they could just take a week vacation somewhere, but she just could imagine the thought of not having a home away from home for the summer. I am not perfect, but I try not to take anything for granted. I almost said something like, yeah I bet women in Darfur really miss their summer homes too, but I managed to bite my tongue.
Okay off the soapbox on to the spin bike.

The studio was huge with 40 bikes. There were only 6 people in the class, and for some reason a woman decided to sit on the bike right next to me, but whatevs.

The class was very challenging. It was a cross between the type of spinning where you kind of do a different activity each song (jumps, moving back and forth, changing handle positions, balancing on your fingertips, dancing on the bike, etc) and the continuous journey type ride. I am a fan of the former, it's so much more fun.

Music really makes a spin class for me, and despite my extremely low tolerance for remixes and techno, I liked the music. It really got us through some tough cycling.

I learned a good take home tip: Driving through resistance creates long lean muscles, whereas puttering through creates bulky ones.

I really had to focus and push myself through the workout. I just tried to remind myself that if I had to stop, my body would just stop moving, but I had to hang on until that point.

I was sweating like crazy halfway through, fortunately we had a mini break on low resistance to flush out the legs. The midpoint recharge was crucial!

I went immediately from the bike to the studio upstairs for abs and butt. There were only 5 people in the class.

The instructor played all my favorite workout class songs, golddigger, right there, milkshake, i do, and all those great hip hop songs, so that helped because I was definitely tired.
Her teaching style was not my favorite. She started out by saying how tough she was, and before any hard moves she would be like, "everyone hates these." I prefer more motivational, "you can do it types." But at least she wasn't annoyingly peppy. The class was tough, but not impossible, which is good. I wouldn't pay $30 for it because it was pretty similar to most ab and butt classes at gyms.

I wasn't blown away by anything at MonQi. The atmosphere wasn't anything to write home about, and the clientele was just not me. I felt like I was in the Real Housewives of Manhattan or something. Although if you are into gossip, this could be the place for you. As I was getting stuff out of my locker a woman on her phone was instructing someone to "buy the Post, page 9 is all about Jay!"
This review is of one trip to MonQi. It was a pretty unusual time to be working out, and so I would have to go back and try several classes to be totally objective. The citysearch reviews say great things, so I encourage you to check them out too. While I did think the spin class was pretty great, $28 a class is pretty darn pricey. So unless another great special comes around, I probably won't be back.

6 comments:

Beth said...

Melissa,
$28 dollars a class is pricey! Even yoga classes keep increasing in price! I have to say it annoys me when yoga studios stuff too many people in but raise there prices.

Anyway, I (think) I am similar to you in that I am petite and do not really worry about gaining weight since I am into healthy foods etc. Here’s the difference and where I need your exercising help! Since I am petite and thin and not looking to lose weight, I have the hardest time motivating myself to workout. I always reason to myself, that I don’t need to workout, skipping one day won’t matter, I will still be thin. The problem is it’s not one day that I skip- it’s everyday! I say that to myself everyday! I don’t do aerobics since I am petite, but I know I should do weightlifting to look more defined. I just always push the alarm off. I always have so many other things to do- school work, work, etc. that exercising seems like the easiest thing to skip. How do you motivate yourself to exercise so frequently? I want to really love it like you do. Was there a time that you did not like it- if so, how do you convert yourself? Thanks so much :)

VeggieGirl said...

I can understand why you weren't too impressed by that class - that teacher's attitude doesn't sound too motivating, first of all; and it just doesn't sound THAT extraordinary either. But hey, it was an experience, right? :0)

Melissa said...

Hi Beth,

There was definitely a time I never would have thought of working out everyday. My parents had to drag me to swim team practice every morning!

I also never ever thought I would be able to run more than a mile. I was pretty much the worst runner ever until 4 years ago. However, I have always loved walking and biking and hiking.

I would suggest you find something you enjoy, and just do it two or three times a week. It can just be walking with your ipod and vegging out for 25 minutes. Or taking a fun hip hop class.

If you have friends that have a healthy body image, exercising with friends can be great. But try to avoid people that only exercise to lose weight, as they might make you uncomfortable if they are jealous or comparing themselves to you. Also they may not recognize how great exercise makes them feel, which is what I believe will ultimately lead you to making activity a part of your daily life.

If you find that you love a spinning or dance class, I wouldn't necessarily avoid them because you are petite. I would just make sure you add a smoothie with peanut butter, nuts and dried fruit to your cereal, or an extra slice of cheese or tablespoons of olive oil to your day to make up the for the calories burned.

I recommend the Zumba workout videos, they are so much fun and not too intense. I love them on my light workout days.

Good luck and let me know if you have any other questions. I really want to help inspire people.

And of course, you may need to fake it until you make it!

Beth said...

Thanks so much. Your blog is really inspiring because I can tell you exercise for enjoyment not for calorie purposes. You mentioned you use to not like some types of exercising and to fake it until you make it, what was the turning point that made you love exercising so much. I can tell your really passionate about it!

Melissa said...

Well I was always really active as a kid, making up dances and playing outside a lot, riding my bike to the pool. I swam and danced competitively until about 10th grade, so there were a few years where I was not really active. I went to the Y a few times a week, walked the dog quite a bit, rode my bike to work some days, but nothing too intense. For my first year of college, I went to the gym just to have a break from studying and to get some exercise, but certainly not every day. My second year of college I walked a ton! I only went to the gym a few times a week. My third year, i lived in Spain for fall semester, so I was too busy running all over europe to really worry about the gym.

When I got back from Spain, I started going to the gym a lot more. It just sort of happened. I wasn't living as far from campus, so I wasn't walking as much and it just felt right. I fell in love with spinning and took classes several times a week.

The summer before my senior year, I had a lifeguarding job that required me to swim and run everyday, plus I was on an island with no car, so I was biking about 13 miles a day.

When I returned for my senior, I was hooked on exercise. I just didn't feel right if i didn't have my release, even a 20 minute workout made a huge difference in my mood, ability to focus, and temperment. I think I crave the endorphins and the time working out gives me to sort of my thoughts. It's also like a treat to myself, almost everyday. Days when I didn't workout because of studying, I was bouncing off the walls with energy, my roommates didn't appreciate it at all.

Over the last few years, it has become part of my life. It is my way of releasing any negative energy and feeling strong and powerful.

I can miss a few days without stressing about about it, but I do find myself more moody after a couple days.

For me exercising is not about acheiving the perfect body, though I that would be nice, I'm not going to lie, as much as it is my form of meditation, therapy and feel good endorphins.

So that's why you should find what works for you, be it yoga, pilates, spinning, etc.

You just want to make sure you have enough activity to be fit. I have some size double zero friends, who can't walk more than 5 blocks before hailing a cab!

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