Fit Chic NYC’s Blog


My Bikram Science Experiment

I’m still on my Bikram high from last night – I totally kicked ass in class. It seems that the third class was the charm for me and it’s funny how I went from “I’m about to die, why did I sign-up to do this” to “I want to do this everyday” in a matter of four days. But consider me converted.

That being said, I wouldn’t be a New Yorker if I weren’t skeptical of my new-found “enlightenment,” hence my Bikram Science Experiment.

So here’s the deal: I bought a month pass to Bikram Yoga NYC from Groupon. My initial goal was to (1) shock my body and try to reap the benefits of Bikram practice. I’m strong, but at 5’1” my muscular frame tends to look a little bulky so (2) I’m seeking the much envied, strong, lean bodies of hipster yogis. And since I enjoy a workout challenge I (3) wanted to give Bikram another shot (if you remember, my first try – and my first FitChicNYC post! – wasn’t exactly encouraging). But now, I’m on a mission to determine whether I actually reached a Bikram high in my third class, or if it was a fluke thanks to a few variable factors.

Let’s examine the facts, class by class.

First Class: Saturday, April 10, Noon
I braced myself for this. I knew it was going to be rough. I hadn’t done Bikram yoga in over a year, and no matter how in shape I am, I was going to have to go through a readjustment period in acclimating to the heated room. The heat was brutal, and when the sun started creeping in around 1pm (30 more minutes to go), and my mat just so happened to be in the spot where it shined through. Joy. My concentration was on breathing and I had to sit down during the last few standing poses. Overall, I felt horrible and I didn’t reach my full potential during the poses.

Second Class: Sunday, April 11, 11AM
I showed up – which was already an accomplishment. The sun wasn’t as strong (and I changed my mat location slightly) so I thought I was going to rock this class. While I admit my breathing was much more controlled, I still just wasn’t getting it during certain postures and much to my dismay, I had to sit down during the end of the standing sequence. Once again the heat got to me and I left feeling a little better than I did the day before, but was wondering why I signed up for this insanity – I wasn’t getting the most out of my practice, I was totally wiped out for the rest of the day and quite honestly I hate staring at myself for 90 minutes while I drip sweat.

Third Class: Tuesday, April 13, 7PM
Okay so here is where I reached my Bikram high. Not only did I complete the 26 posture sequence without taking any breaks, I was also able to move into poses that I had to modify for the first two classes and believe it or not, I actually kind of enjoyed the heat. As I mentioned, I’m skeptical. I think that the time of day had EVERYTHING to do with my new-found enlightenment because (1) since it was a night class, the sun wasn’t shining, so it wasn’t as hot in the room and (2) I know my body and I am stronger at night.

So if my hypothesis is correct, I will reach my maximum potential in Bikram yoga if I practice at night. I have 25 more days to test my theory but I’d love for you to weigh in on my little workout experiment.

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The Ultimate Total Body Exercise – Join The Burpee Challenge

No matter how fit you think you are, allow the burpee to humble you in less than one minute.

Also affectionately known as the jumping squat thrust, the prison workout or just plain workout hell, this famously miserable exercise can be considered the ultimate total body exercise that serves both strength training and cardio purposes.

How to do you do a burpee? Check out this video for a great visual:

1.    Squat and jump back into a plank position
2.    Perform a pushup with your CHEST TOUCHING THE GROUND (besides being proper form, it’ll make your life easier)
3.    Jump to squat landing on your HEELS
4.    Jump up (and if you want, clap your hands over head to ensure your getting your hands up)

What are you working? Well everything! You are firing your legs with the squat, your using your triceps and shoulders with the pushup, your abdominal is engaged helping to stabilize your plank and I promise these will have your heart pumping and leave you breathless after just a few.

Best part about burpees (said with tongue-in-cheek since there are no “best” parts about burpees)? This exercise can be performed anywhere, doesn’t require equipment and uses your own body weight. So NO EXCUSES (burpee like a champ)!

It shouldn’t be a surprise to see the reemergence of burpee popularity; it incorporates a few of the predicted 2009 fitness trends – back to basics/primal, bootcamp and budget-friendly workouts – plus they are repeat offender in CrossFit WODs (workout of the day).

So fellow fitness fanatics I invite you to join my one-minute burpee challenge. I’ve engaged in a little friendly competition with a friend where for 5 days/week we will each perform as many burpee reps as possible in ONE minute. We record our daily numbers as well as a weekly average and winner gets street cred and bragging rights.

Think you can handle one minute of burpees? Join the challenge. Post your daily one-minute burpee totals in the comment section of the daily post and see how you measure up.



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!



Relationships Make You Fat – So Date Fitness Fanatics!
May 13, 2009, 10:07 AM
Filed under: Fitness News, Fitness tips, NYC life, Workout tips | Tags: , , ,

There are two monumental points in a person’s life where he/she stereotypically gains weight: starting college (freshman 15) and being in a long-term relationship/marriage. Once together, couples have a tendency to let themselves go and weight will creep on from the constant eating out, skipping gym sessions, and for women specifically, eating more like your man. Over a few months and years the pounds can add up.

But fitness fanatics don’t worry, this does not mean you’re forever destined to be single! With each relationship you learn more about yourself: What you want from your partner, what values and lifestyle choices are important to you and ultimately what kind of person you can be happy spending your life with.

And I’ve come to develop a hypothesis (it’s not a new one but deserves some recognition!) that physically fit people are drawn to other physically fit people both mentally and physically.

Over the course of my dating history I’ve learned that I need someone who places just as high of a priority of living a healthy and fit lifestyle as I do. Since fitness is such a big part of my life, I need someone who is going to be supportive, encouraging and understanding. Plus who doesn’t want their partner looking sexy? And maybe it’s just me, but I could be sweaty and look like a hot mess, but I feel my sexiest after a rough workout!

And through my share of dating the physically active I’ve put together a list of rules for dating fitness fanatics:

1.    I enjoy going to the gym and working out. You’ll have to be okay with me wanting to go to the gym in the morning or after work (depending on the day) even if that means we have to delay a dinner date. And I have to be equally understanding of your workout/sport schedule.
2.    Since we both enjoy working out, let’s go to the gym together, but let me do my own thing when I’m there.
3.    I’m all about eating healthy but I enjoy a nice dessert or even a bowl of pasta from time to time. Don’t be so hardcore that you guilt trip me about it … I do a fine job of that myself!

I would love to know – do you find yourself attracted only to fitness fanatics?



An Earth Day Workout

Attention New Yorkers, if you’ve looked at the forecast for this weekend, we’re finally going to see temperatures in the 80’s and this means I’m breaking out of the gym and heading outside! (I can’t help it, getting a workout while getting a tan … it’s in my Floridian blood to be drawn to the sun!)

But since today is Earth Day, why don’t you jump the gun and celebrate by taking your workout outside today! From a jog around Central Park, or jump roping in your apartment complex’s courtyard, take a moment to welcome the warmer weather and appreciate the outdoors – which can sometimes feel like a scare resource in the concrete jungle.

Incorporate your day’s strength training outside as well. Break up your cardio with one minute intervals of push ups, calf raises, walking lunges, sit-ups and squats (one exercise per interval – complete as many repetitions as you can for a full minute).

Now you’re not only appreciating the outdoors, but you’re saving power and electricity as well by using your own body weight and energy to fuel your workouts. No better way to celebrate Earth Day than with an environmentally-friendly workout!

Here are some other great links with Earth Day workout suggestions:
Strength training in the park from Fit Sugar
Bike to work, play at the park and other ways to celebrate from That’s Fit
The Central Park circuit from NY Running Fitness Examiner



Weekend Fitness Round-Up

Add some spice to your weekend fitness routine with these fun events going on around NYC!

Friday, April 3rd

What: Bikram Yoga Nite Sweats – a 90 minute Bikram Yoga class taught with candlelight and music

Where: Bikram Yoga Lower East Side

When: 10pm

Why: This is a community class and all proceeds go The Lower East Side Girls Club. The Girls Club provides after school programming to economically disadvantaged girls who live on the Lower Eastside of Manhattan.

More info: click here

What: Yoga and a movie

Where: Strala Yoga, 178 Fifth Avenue #6 (btwn 22nd and 23rd)

When: 7pm (1 1/2 hour yoga class followed by a movie)

Why: Instructor/founder/model/writer Tara Stiles has a fun, approachable, “yoga for everyone” teaching method that makes this class a great way to relax and unwind on a Friday night.

More info: For more information and pricing, click here

Saturday, April 4

What: The Masala Bhangra Workout

Where: Reebok Sports Club/NY Studio 1, Club Level 6, 160 Columbus Ave, NY, NY

When:  3-4:30pm

Why: Dance your way to fitness! Created by Sarina Jain, the Masala Bhangra Workout is derived from two Indian words: Masala, which means “spicy” in Hindi, and Bhangra, which is a traditional folk dance from the northern state of Punjab, India. The Masala Bhangra Workout is an exercise dance routine that modernizes the high-energy folk dance of Bhangra by blending traditional Bhangra dance steps and the exhilaration of Bollywood (Hindi film) movies. This unique dance mixes cardiovascular with fun, and is suitable for participants of all ages and fitness levels. Cost: Members $25, Non-members $35.

More info: Contact Melissa Morin, Group Exercise Manager, at mmorin@reeboksportsclubny.com or 212.501.1429 for more information or to register. To see event details, click here

What: Booty Slide

Where: lululemon athletica East 66th (1127 Third Avenue)

When:  9-9:45am

Why: Join us for an awesome Booty Slide class with founder Rebecca Kordecki! The workout combines principles from Pilates, yoga, slide training and promises to do in 45 minutes what would ordinarily take 90 minutes at the gym. Each participant wears soft, slippery booties (we’ll provide these), and performs sliding and lunge-like motions with all parts of the body. It’s an excellent way to target the core while lifting, shaping and firming all other areas of your body from head to toe! Please come wearing ankle-length socks.

More info: Space is limited to the first 35 participants so RSVP at east66th-store@lululemon.com. For more information visit the lululemon athletica website.

What: CrossFit free beginners class

Where: The Black Box located at 25 W. 26th St. between Broadway and Sixth Avenue, third floor.

When: 10-11am

Why: Because CrossFit is awesome! What is CrossFit? The Black Box describes it as: an extremely efficient and effective way to get into world-class shape. CrossFit workouts are functional, varied and intense. They also scale to any ability level.

More info: About the Black Box click here. About CrossFit in general, click here

Sunday, April 5

What: City Parks Foundation Run for the Parks 4M/Kids’ Races

Where: Central Park

When:  4mile race begins at 8am, Kids’ Races at 9am

Why: New York Road Runners says it best: Think and run green in this 4-mile race that supports City Parks Foundation (CPF). Proceeds from the day benefit CPF’s free citywide programs. You can bring the whole family to participate in the kids’ races and have fun at the post-race reception!

More info: click here

What: Free Pilates

Where: lululemon athletica, Lincoln Square location

When:  9-10am

Why: Every Sunday morning in April, instructors from YogaWorks will be in our store for free Pilates! No RSVP required. This week’s instructor is Elaine Sinclair.

More info: For more information visit the lululemon athletica website.

What: Bootcamp

Where: lululemon athletica, Union Square location

When:  9:30-10:30am

Why: Every Sunday in April we are offering you a high intensity workout to Spring into the new season! All events are complimentary, all you need are comfy workout clothes and some tennis shoes. This Sunday’s workout is provided by Bootcamp Republic (instructed by Heidi Tinter) and will provide a high intensity workout that combines cardiovascular conditioning and strengthening exercises. You’ve never worked out like this before! We use only your natural body weight to get you fit. Our class is high energy, motivational, innovative and invigorating.

More info: For more information visit the lululemon athletica website or Bootcamp Republic’s site at www.bootcamprepublic.com

What: CrossFit free beginners class

Where: The Black Box located at 25 W. 26th St. between Broadway and Sixth Avenue, third floor.

When: 10-11am

Why: Because CrossFit is awesome! What is CrossFit? The Black Box describes it as: an extremely efficient and effective way to get into world-class shape. CrossFit workouts are functional, varied and intense. They also scale to any ability level.

More info: About the Black Box click here. About CrossFit in general, click here



Exercise in Everyday Activities: Cleaning

One of my co-workers is convinced he can market his YogaCleaningilates as the next new hot fitness class, when really he just wants people to come clean his apartment! But who knows though, with moves like the squat and mop, shoulder press and window wipe, and push-up and dust, maybe he’s on to something!

So to help boost his class enrollment beyond just himself, I decided to help him out by showing everyone just how much of a calorie scorcher cleaning the apartment can be. (Check out my other post about how many calories you can burn by moving apartments.)

Calorie estimates are provided by CalorieLab.com and are for 15 minutes of each activity:

Sweeping the floors: 39 calories

Washing windows: 34 calories

Mopping: 43 calories

Dusting: 26 calories

Taking out the trash: 26 calories

Straightening up: 26 calories

Scrubbing the bathroom: 48 calories

Washing dishes: 22 calories

Vacuuming: 43 calories

Making the bed: 17 calories

Doing laundry: 17 calories

Total for cleaning his apartment, eh I mean taking a class of YogaCleaningilates – 341 calories!