Fit Chic NYC’s Blog


Life Lessons I Learned In The Bikram Studio

Balancing Stick Pose

Despite my initial whining, during my 25 days at Bikram Yoga NYC (I had guests in town the last five days of my month Groupon pass) I was able to take a total of 15 classes.

Obsessed doesn’t begin to describe my passion for the practice. Here’s why:

1. I believe sweat is a strong indicator of a good workout. In Bikram, you’ll start sweating before class even begins.

2. In other forms of yoga there can be a lot of down time while holding poses; and, being the competitive person I am I like to look around at other people. That isn’t great for my meditation nor is it polite when they awkwardly catch me starring at them. In Bikram, moving your eyeballs is energy you can’t afford to waste.

3. The group mentality of the class is incredible. Yogis in general tend to foster a sense of comradeship with each other but there’s just something about dripping sweat in front of each other in as little clothes as possible for an hour and a half that makes you feel so…. Connected.

4. Bikram is a moving mediation. While I’ve never been able to fully “zone out” in other forms of yoga (see number 2) in Bikram I find that I’m completely concentrated on my practice.

5. I like to control my schedule and plan it out to the very last details so if you’re like me (very Type A) Bikram is the yoga style for you. Every class is performed exactly the same way and while you might think that performing the 26 postures in the same sequence every time would become monotonous, each class feels entirely different

6. The first class or two is miserable. But that moment when it all just clicks makes the initial suffering entirely worth it.

7. I get bored when I hold a posture for too long – even if it’s tough. In Bikram, no posture is held for more than a minute and I know exactly what’s coming next (see number 5). Knowing when it’s going to end allows me to judge my effort level.

8. I semi-jokingly told my friend that I’d consider a breast reduction so my practice would be better. Personally, I feel that a having a naturally (or unnaturally if that’s your style) large chest hinders some of the postures because they just get in the way.

9. Bikram has a strong cardio component. I wanted to wear my heart monitor during class but I couldn’t get it to stay completely silent so I left it at home. One instructor said that the Balancing Stick Pose pose was comparable to 30 minutes on the treadmill. While that might be a stretch, it gets your heart rate up.

10. You can do anything for 10 seconds. Suck it up and push through.



Keep Your Heart Healthy Year-Round

In the 80s Chris de Burgh sang about The Lady in Red, but on February 11th, red got a high fashion makeover as celebrities such as Kim Kardashian, Heidi Klum and Bethenny Frankel strutted down the runway in red frocks to promote heart health.

Why? Heart disease is the number one cause of death among women in the United States, and while February is American Heart Month it’s important to keep your heart healthy year-round.

Find out your risk of heart attack and reduce controllable factors by keeping a healthy lifestyle through diet and exercise as well as limiting sodium intake and not smoking.

Train for your heart

Physical activity is one of the most effective ways to reduce your risk, but to give your heart a good workout you have to train in the right zone. Calculate your training heart rate and see the benefits of the different zones here. And to ensure you’re reaching your target rate, exercise wearing a heart rate monitor.

So show yourself a little love and take care of your heart.



Hot Off the Bench Press – Bring Your Sexy Back With This Exercise, Use Kettlebells To Blast Calories, Get Jennifer Aniston’s Bikini Body and More!

Hot fitness news you don’t want to miss!

Slimmer Doesn’t Always Mean Fitter – NYTimes.com – See how bodyweight affects sport performance.

How to Get Jennifer Aniston’s Bikini Bod
– UsMagazine.com – Marco Borges (who has whipped Beyonce Knowles and Gwen Stefani into shape) and trainer Joy Di Palma (creator of Core Conditioning Cross Fit) gives UsMagazine.com the step-by-step.

Motivations, Affirmations and Mantras – Oh My! –  Cranky Fitness –Keep up your New Year resolutions to stay in shape by developing these healthy habits.

Was Bethenny Frankel Wearing Spanx on the Runway? – The StyleList – Marissa Gold gets the skinny on whether the NYC Housewife had extra support during New York Fashion Week.

The Best Back Exercise You’ve Never Done – Men’s Health – Get your sexy back.

Back.the.EFF.up.dude – Fired ‘n’ Fabulous – See what happens when personal trainers creep at the gym.

Kettlebell Workouts Burn Calories Fast – WebMD – Study backs up claims that swinging kettlebells pays fitness dividends



My Fitness Bucket List
January 26, 2010, 11:50 AM
Filed under: Fitness | Tags: ,
“Goals are dreams with deadlines” –  Diana Sharf Hunt

Four guys asked themselves one question, “What do you want to do before you die?” and MTV’s The Buried Life chronicles the group’s mission complete their list.

While I’ve already admitted my addiction to seeking out and trying new fitness activities (it’s more of a hobby than an addiction really), watching the show finally inspired me to become accountable to my goals, so I created a bucket list of fitness feats I want to accomplish. (It will always be a work in progress.)

Run a half marathon – Disney Princess Half Marathon 2011
Learn to box
Destination bike ride – Maybe through Italy or Spain
Compete in a triathlon
Climb a rope
Compete in NYC’s UrbanDare adventure race
Go on a kayaking adventure
Go hiking (not overnight, just up and down a mountain in a day)
Learn to dance the Tango
Master a freestanding handstand in Yoga class
Finally master a kipping pull up (preferably without fracturing my wrist this time)
Try an AeroJump class
Compete in the Empire State Building Run Up
Integrate a Bikram Yoga class into my weekly fitness routine
Master 20 consecutive double unders
Become certified in kettlebell training
Participate in RunAmuck
Run Race for the Cure every single year

What I’ve already accomplished
Go scuba diving
Take a series on the Pilates Reformer
Only perform strict military style push ups
Try the Real Ryder spinning class

Try the Jukari Fit to Fly workout
Learn basic Olympic weightlifting moves (thanks CrossFit!)
Indoor rock climbing
Trapeze class
Swim with dolphins



My Workout With Celeb Trainer Gunnar Peterson

He’s responsible for making some of Hollywood’s sexiest celebs like J-Lo, Matthew McConaughey and Kim Kardashian hot and sweaty – and into red carpet ready shape! And for one steamy NYC morning I had him all to myself… well almost. As one of the lucky few who won an invitation to FITNESS magazine and Silk soy milk’s tweet-up workout with trainer Gunnar Peterson, I (and about 12 other fitness enthusiasts) was put through a 10-exercise workout with one of Hollywood’s most sought after trainers.

Gunnar’s philosophy is to create an exercise program that keeps your heart rate elevated, your body guessing and builds strength. So what did we learn? Well some of the moves can be viewed HERE but the 10-exercise workout program was designed for busy people who can’t spend hours training, but want to have the body that looks like they do! Best way to do that – incorporate total body moves like a plank/push up or my favorite, the advancing side lunge with wood chop, so that you can make the most out of limited time.

Looking for some moves to include in your workout routine? Try the dumbbell squat that goes into an upright row. Always remember proper form when squatting – keep your chest up and don’t lean over your knees. Imagine that there is a string attached at your chest bone and someone is tugging it up as you squat down. Incorporate other upper body moves into the exercise by switching out the upright row for a push press or lateral shoulder raise.

While celebs may fear Gunnar’s workouts (expect to sweat!) I see why they love him! His tongue-in-cheek personality shined during the Q&A session that followed the workout. One girl who is trying to shed a few pounds asked if she should hold off on strength training (and focus on cardio) until she drops the weight? Gunnar’s response, “I see a lot of fat people on the treadmill.” Harsh? Maybe. Honest? Completely! But for those looking to lose weight, the reason why Gunnar stresses that workouts must include resistance/strength training is that it builds lean tissue which is active, and active muscles burn calories faster.

So what does Gunnar keep in his workout toolbox – the rowing machine and stairs! Simple but effective workouts. I like to use the rowing machine on Monday nights when I get to the gym after work and it’s so packed that there is a wait for any cardio machine because more often than not, the row machine is open. Gunnar suggests mixing it up when rowing by including an overhead row or underhand grip.

His other favorite – stairs! He claims they are another underused component in an exercise program, especially considering you don’t even need a gym to use them … and I agree, check out the earlier post I wrote about stair climbing as a great budget workout! Keep your heart rate up and your body challenged by speed intervals, climbing two stairs at a time or even climbing climb sideways.

And his advice if you’re in the market to hire a trainer – the best workout program is one that keeps you challenged and makes you want to come back. Being pushed to the point you want to throw up, not being able to walk the next day or hating yourself and your trainer isn’t motivation to come back for another session.

The only piece of equipment we used during our morning workout with Gunnar was a set of light dumbbells (I used 8lbs.) and a yoga mat. So even if you can’t afford a gym or trainer, Gunnar proves you can still get a body like Hollywood’s hottest celebs!



Weekend Fitness Round-Up : July 18-19

Spin, Skate and Dance Around NYC This Weekend!

Saturday, July 18th

What: Project ALS Charity Spin Event
Where: Sportime in Amagansett, East Hampton, NY
When: 4-7pm
Why: It’s Fitness For A Cause! Workup a sweat on a two-hour outdoor spin class on the RealRyder bikes with beats from a live DJ while raising money for Project ALS. And there’s a BBQ at the end!
More info: www.ridethezone.com

What: Equinox Dance Marathon
Where: 44th Street and Lexington location
When: 10:30am-4pm
Why: It’s Fitness For A Cause! Four and a half hours of back-to-back classes like Masala Bhangra and Rockette Kickline, followed by food, drink and a special performance by some of the teachers. Proceeds will benefit Dancers Responding to AIDS.
More info: Minimum suggested donation for members is $20/class or $60/day, and $25/class or $75/day for non-members. Register at the 44th Street Location or call 212.953.9492

What: Central Park Roller Disco
Where: Enter the park at 72nd street and walking along the 72nd street transverse toward the center of the park. Follow your ears – listen for the dance music.
When: 2:30-6:30pm (weather permitting) Saturday AND Sunday
Why: The Central Park Dance Skaters Association presents roller skating at the skate circle with hypnotic beats from DJ Bennie DiConstanzo & DJ Albert Crespo (Saturday) and DJ Rob Scott (Sunday).
More info: The event is free. If you have questions or want to become a CPDSA member contact CPDSA@earthlink.net or visit their blog.

What: Stilettos and Self Defense Class
Where: Lululemon in East Hampton
When: 9-10:30am
Why: Kick off your Saturday in the Hamptons by learning how to kick a$$! In this free class you’ll learn how to master the ABC’s of self defense, tap into your inner power, make weapons out of everyday items and save your life with basic techniques – hopefully you’ll never need to use your new skill set!
More info: The class is free, RSVP to jennifer@healthandthecity.net

Sunday, July 19th

What: Summer Salutations Workshop
Where: Lululemon Union Square
When: 9:30am
Why: Join Chrissy Carter – Senior Teacher at YogaWorks – for an exploration into Sun Salutations. This workshop with dissect each posture to help you better understand proper alignment and create an easier flow – with a healthy breakfast to follow!
More info: RSVP: unionsquarenyc-store@lululemon.com



Back With My (Fitness) Ex

No no, I’m not back with an ex-boyfriend of mine, but rather my true fitness love, CrossFit. After a 6-month separation, not of mutual consent, I’m proud to say that CrossFit and I are giving it another go.

My relationship started about a year ago, Memorial Day 2008 to be exact, at CrossFit Hardcore in Boca Raton, Florida. After an intense workout, unlike anything I’ve ever tried before, I was hooked. I continued seeing him through the end of October, sometimes up  to 6 days/week. Then I moved to New York City. The relationship got a bit abusive at the end, I suffered a fractured wrist so that, coupled with the move and change in location/work, I thought it was time for a break. NOTE to new CrossFitters, the injury was my own fault – big ego mixed with poor form!

If you’re not familiar with CrossFit it’s hard to fully explain how incredible it truly is. One affiliate owner tried to tackle the concept of a CrossFit elevator pitch here. In it’s most simple form, CrossFit workouts are functional, varied and intense and scale to any ability level. They incorporate and combine kettlebell training (i.e. KB swings) with cardiovascular elements (i.e. rowing, running, jump roping), body weight/primal exercises (i.e. push ups, pull ups, squats), gymnastics moves (i.e. handstand push ups) and Olympic weightlifting (i.e. thrusters, clean and jerks) to produce a quick, varied workout that prepares your body to handle anything. Check out the main site at CrossFit.com.

But now, after a hiatus, I’m prepared to allow CrossFit back into my life. While back on Florida on vacation – sorry, for the lack of posts, I was enjoying the weather! – I stopped by my old affiliate for some workouts and realized how much I miss the feeling of utter exhaustion and pushing my body past all expectations. CrossFit has stolen my heart all over again. The addition of the late evening classes at CrossFit NYC’s Black Box location fits into my schedule and I’ll be hitting today’s WOD (workout of the day) of as many rounds of 5 thrusters/10 burpees as I can in 12 minutes.

What can I say, I think we’re meant for each other!