Fit Chic NYC’s Blog


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!

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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!



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!



Weekend Fitness Round-Up : May 15-17

No matter what you prefer, spin, walk or run for charity this weekend in NYC!

Friday, May 15th

Saturday, May 16th
What: Ride the Zone Soho location opening
Where: 441 Broadway
When: 9am-1pm
Why: Remember my post about how to “Take your Spin Class to the Next Level?” Well now you can do it in Soho! For their grand opening, Ride the Zone is offering free classes plus gift bags and healthy treats! Plus they are hosting a Cyko Challenge where participants will ride during all four classes (that’s four hours of cycling) to win a pack of fifty rides! I’ll be there taking the 11am class!
More info: Sadly all of the free classes are already full, but stop by to check it out, click here

What: Extreme Dance Party Parade
Where: Starts at Broadway and 28th  and continues along St. Marks.
When: 1pm
Why: An impromptu dance-fest kicks off in the middle of New York’s city streets. The third annual Dance Parade will feature a slew of different styles. Look for ballet, samba, hip-hop, and more. Dance along and burn some calories!
More info: click here

What: Walk to Defeat ALS, 3.1 miles
Where: Hudson River Park
When: Check-in starts at 9:30am, Walk at 11am
Why: Fitness for a cause!! The walk program funds important services and programs for people with ALS and their families, as well as leading, cutting-edge research.
More info: click here

What: Inversion Adventure: Learning to Fly
Where: lululemon athletica, East 66th Street location
When: 8:30-9:45am
Why: Learn to fly with Kay Kay Clivio and Loren Bassett. Lululemon says you can experience the thrill of flying in arm balances that are both fun and challenging. Using a strong Vinyasa flow as a warm up, they’ll play with the alignment and art of arm balancing! This class is open to all levels
More info: RSVP at east66th-store@lululemon.com

Sunday, May 17th
What: SPIN ‘N BARE, A benefit for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS
Where: Club H Fitness, Hell’s Kitchen location
When: Classes from 10am-2pm
Why: Fitness for a cause!! ALSO very exciting news! I’m signed up to take the 11am class with John Nobile. He’s the incredible spin instructor I mentioned here and I can’t wait to finally take another class of his!
More info: Each class is $25 per class and limited to 75 participates. Click here to register and learn more!

What: AIDS Walk New York
Where: Central Park, enter the park at East 59th Street and Fifth Avenue
When: Sign-in starts at 8:30am, opening ceremony at 9:15am, walk at 10am
Why: Fitness for a cause!! Since 1986, AIDS Walk New York has raised more than $100 million for HIV programs and services in the tri-state area, and has grown into the largest AIDS fund-raising event in the entire world.
More info: click here

What: Yoga for Athletes
Where: lululemon athletica, Union Square location
When: TBD
Why: Yoga is for everyone!
More info: The website says details are TBD. Try calling the store at 212.675.5286.



Take Your Spin Class to the Next Level

Hi, my name is Fitchic and I’m a fitness junkie.

Maybe it’s for the adrenaline rush, or maybe it’s an addiction, but I’m constantly seeking out new classes to satisfy my fitness cravings. Recently I tried Bikram Yoga and this weekend I got my “fix” with Ride the Zone.

About a year ago I got into spinning; it was a nice departure from the elliptical/treadmill and I enjoyed the group mentality of the class. And while each class can be just as challenging as my first, I decided to up the ante this weekend with the RealRyder® – the indoor bike that moves.

Oh yes, it moves. Not forwards or backwards, it’s still a stationary bike. Rather, it tilts and turns and was created to “simulate the experience and the benefits of riding a bike in the real world. Not just the pedaling; the steering, the leaning, the balancing, the mental involvement and the emotional excitement,” the product’s website claims. The result? “A 5-in-1 workout for the whole body – not simply legs and cardio, but also upper body, core muscle groups, and balance.” It’s a revolutionary piece of equipment to the spin world.

While you can purchase these bikes from the website, they carry a hefty prices (and well if you live in Manhattan, good luck finding a place in your apartment for it), so I suggest checking out their list of partnered facilities for a class near you. That’s how I stumbled upon Ride The Zone – I went to their Upper East Side location. Check out their website for a video of what the bike looks like in action. And your first class is free! (Although you will need cycling shoes,  you can rent them for $3.)

After having one of the instructors help set up my bike, I gave the class a shot. Maneuvering the bike while sitting down (position one for you spinners out there) was fine, kind of exciting. The standing run in position two and three was a different story. My bike was moving left to right causing the seat to ram into my thighs; I just couldn’t control it as well as the more experienced riders in the class. It took almost the full 45 minutes of class to get used to the bike’s swaying and sadly my cadence never picked up, even with minimal resistance, but it’ll just take some getting used to. It didn’t help that I also got side stitches halfway through the class. The instructor said I needed to breathe a little more – it’s a common problem for first timers. Apparently I was holding onto the handlebars so tightly that I forgot to breathe normally.

Overall, I loved it! My entire body felt the class (especially my obliques) and the cardio component was much more intense than what I’ve experienced from a normal spin class; but, that could be because it’s still new to my body. I can’t wait to try it again and work on increasing my stability and speed while standing.

I looked nowhere near as graceful as this, but check out this Youtube video that demonstrates the bike:



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!