Fit Chic NYC’s Blog


Oldie Yogi

Good genes aside, journalist Tom Brokaw is pushing 70 and looks incredible! Although he admitted to Conan O’Brien on Jan. 12th’s The Tonight Show that he didn’t know about “abs” before he moved to L.A. (apparently he didn’t mix with the right crowd during his early career while living in middle America) he shared his secrets to keeping healthy, trim and active at his age – bicycling and yoga.

“I like bicycling. Last year I was bicycling in the south of France and also in South Africa. I’m getting ready to go to New Zealand and Australia to do some bicycling,” Tom says. “I do workout with weights to some degree although my wife is pushing me back into yoga again. I wear a pained expression when I’m doing it.”

Yep, this nark does the downward dog, just not in a tie like Conan expected. I realize 70 isn’t that old, (you can’t blame me, the post’s title had such a fun ring to it!) but the only form of exercise my grandfather does is walking up/down the flight of stairs in his house, so it’s great to see Tom staying so active amidst his busy schedule.

How can you make Tom’s workout routine work for you? In Tom’s case, he talks about that “as you go through life you’re much more conscious of trying to stay energetic and trying to stay mentally alert” but in reality, yoga is the perfect complement for biking and cycling. Yoga guru Sadie Nardini (of NYC’s The Fierce Club) put together a great video that demonstrates stretches you should add to your routine. Yoga For Cyclers.

Namaste.

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Hot Off the Bench Press – Tips to Blast Extra Calories, The Debate Between Diet vs. Exercise and More!

Healthy headlines you don’t want to miss!

12 Creative Ways to Burn More Calories – Health.com – From what time to workout to what (and when!) to eat, see 12 tricks of the trade that will help you make the most of your exercise

Best Workout for Your Body Type – Women’s Health – Tailor your workout and eating plan to your body type

Shave Off Shin Splints – The Beauty Bean – Tips to help reduce a common injury in runners

Diet vs. Exercise: Where to Start With a Complete Body Overhaul – ThatsFit – Which came first in body transformation, the diet or the exercise? James S. Fell (Body for Wife) weighs in



What if Carrie Bradshaw wore Lululemon instead of Balenciaga?

As lame as it may sound, I sometimes like to pretend that I’m Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the City – and I know I’m not the only female living in NYC who does this! Just like Carrie I frolic through the big apple, explore the city’s dating scene, grab fabulous dinners and spend unforgettable nights out with friends.

And while I may work for a magazine and absolutely love living in NYC, in my dream I’m a sportier version of Carrie. I’d gladly trade a pair of Manolo Blahnik stilettos for new running sneakers and I would much prefer an all-access gym card to an all-access Fashion Week pass.

Perhaps this vision of mine is what I want my career to blossom into, which has brought about an interesting conversation amongst my friends. Most of us are now just about two years out of college and with 2009 (and the whole aught decade), coming to an end, we’re talking about what’s next. One friend recently closed on a house and another is set to wed in early spring, some are receiving their first raise while others make the best of things while they wait, unemployed, for the economy to pick back up. Beside fun speculation, this discussion has shed light on the value of priorities, and as we move into 2010, I want to emphasize the importance of including fitness on the top of that list. Don’t think of it as a resolution because to me the term “resolution” holds no weight (yes, pun intended!). Besides, the goal of fitness isn’t something one can, or should, accomplish in only a year, it’s an entire lifestyle adjustment. And with my reinstated commitment to the blog I promise to be here to help guide and motivate you to uphold this priority.

Here’s to a fit and happy New Year!

Just for fun
Here are some classic Carrie quotes:
“As we speed along this endless road to the destination called who we hope to be, I can’t help but whine, ‘Are we there yet?’”

“They say life’s what happens when you’re busy making other plans. But sometimes in New York, life is what happens when you’re waiting for a table.”

“Maybe the past is like an anchor holding us back. Maybe, you have to let go of who you were to become who you will be.”



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!



Embarrassed At The Gym

I’m almost two weeks into my burpee challenge and while I’m not in the lead, I’m proud to say that I’m the most improved and already increased my rpm! But my biggest challenge in participating – overcoming my fear of performing.

What?! Yep, it’s not the thought of being completely and utterly winded in a minute flat, it’s my self-consciousness in performing the exercise. Next time you go to the gym, look around; you don’t really see people throwing themselves onto the ground, doing a push-up and jumping back up again very often; let alone a female breaking a sweat. Hence my dilemma. While I’m proud of my strength I find myself wandering around the gym for a reclusive area, out most gym-goers’ view to perform my burpees. Why? I’m embarrassed.

When I’m at a CrossFit box (CrossFit lingo alert “box” is what you typically call their place of operation/studio) I have no problem dropping chest to deck and whipping out a minute of burpees. No stares, no questions. Rather when I get winded I’ll hear cheers of encouragement to push harder, better, faster stronger! But throw down burpees at a globo gym (CrossFit lingo, any chain/luxury gym) all you get is weird stares and maybe an off-hand comment or two.

And perform a burpee in my apartment?! Out of the question! Besides the limited space that comes in living in a New York apartment with three other girls, I’d prefer not to have their looks of bewilderment or complaints from the downstairs apartment about constant thudding.

This isn’t an isolated occurrence either. I find myself thanking the gym G*Ds that I didn’t join the Equinox in my building when I was looking for a new gym membership because now half of my office belongs. When I workout, I workout – I use weights and I do dead lifts, dips and attempted pull-ups. I get sweaty. And I don’t want my coworkers who use the dumbbells without breaking a sweat see me in such a vulnerable state. Geez, when I picked up a kettlebell at a globo gym, a trainer came over to me to tell me how impressed he was with the weight I was using and my form… thanks, but please let me workout in peace!

In a great article on Gubernatrix, the author said, “When going all-out in an intense circuit you know you are going to look a bit crazy. This is all very well if you are surrounded by people doing the same thing. But if you are the only one, it can feel very exposed.

This also applies to any women who regularly find that they are the only female in the gym. Guys will look, they can’t help it. But it can be hard to block this out and just get on with your workout. It’s not as if we are bouncing along at 5 miles an hour on the treadmill with not a hair out of place. We’re under the bar pushing bodyweight or more and it doesn’t always look pretty!”

Amen sister!



GroupThink and Fitness Freshman

Last night a bunch of girl friends and I took a yoga class with yoga guru and all-around awesome person Tara Stiles at her Strala Yoga studio in the Flatiron district.

(If you’re an NYC yoga-lover I highly recommend taking a class with Tara. She is the resident expert and face of the Women’s Health Yoga Channel, the “Yoga Master” for Nissan’s Master the Shift program, model, and a Huffington Post blogger! Whew!)

While I had taken a class with Tara before and some of the other girls practice yoga regularly, this was three girl’s first yoga class ever!! That got me thinking – what should class newbies know?

The 5 Golden Rules for First Timers

1.    Know before you go!: Do your homework before stepping foot in the door – what class are you taking? Does the teacher have a bio listed? What equipment do you need to bring with you? Does the facility have a water fountain, etc.?

a.    Case Study A: Ride The Zone requires cycling shoes (which I don’t have) but can be rented for $3 … therefore bring cash!

b.    Case Study B: Crunch/NYSC has towels available for clients, the gym I went to in Florida, LA Fitness, does not … therefore bring your own!

2.    Arrive Early: This way you can talk to the instructor, set up any equipment (if needed) and get a spot with a clear view of the instructor. Plus it’s just plain rude to the instructor and other clients to walk into a class a minute before it begins and expect to get the individualized attention a first time needs.

a.    Case Study A: I went to a Sunday morning spin class and two minutes before class was supposed to begin a group of four spin class freshmen walk in. Class started five minutes late because the instructor had to help set up their bikes. I was not happy.

3.   Notify: Before class, let the teacher know this is your first time so he/she knows to be more informative and watch your form more carefully.

a.    Case Study A: First time trying yoga, the teacher should give you modifications for some of the more advanced movements.

b.    Case Study B: When I took one of my roommates along with me for her first spin class we had the instructor help set up her bike.

4.    Check Your Ego At The Door: Your first class is not the time to be an overachiever. Work on form and be patient. Being overzealous and overstretching your capacity will lead to injury.

a.    Case Study A: My first time in spinning class I wanted to prove I ride like a pro and increased the resistance/speed like the rest of the class. My legs hurt so much the next day I could barely walk.

b.    Case Study B: CrossFit newbie Peter (check out his awesome blog here) thought he had his form right with handstand pushups. He ended up with black eyes the next day from blood vessels popping.

5.    Ask Questions: This is for fitness freshmen and fitness aficionados alike, always ask if you’re  unsure of a movement. And as long as the class you’re taking doesn’t involve a meditative component, I think you should ask for information – what muscles does this movement make? Why is this a good exercise. Ask for correction and ask to be informed!

a.    Case Study A: I’ve been doing CrossFit on-and-off for just over a year and just this morning I was asking if my stance and grip was proper for my Sumo Deadlift High Pulls



Hot Off the Bench Press – Make Your Workouts Work For You, A Dose Of Veggie Reality, Kim Kardashian Muscles Up and More!

Hot fitness news you don’t want to miss!

What’s the deal with interval training? – Loveandblueberries.com – Not seeing results? Rev up your workout by including intervals, here’s why!

A 3-in-1 exercise – Fittipdaily.com – Trim your workout time (and your upper body!) with this move that targets your biceps, shoulders and triceps.

The carrot train to crazytown –  Byersgetsdisel.com – Avoiding carrots because of their sugar count? Get some sense smacked into you by this witty blog from one fit chick!

The 10 fat loss mistakes you’re making at the gym – staleytraining.com – Make sure your workouts are working for you!

Sneak preview of Kim Kardashian’s Muscle and Fitness Her’s cover – Kim’s fitness transformation is inspiring especially since she keeps her curves!