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Jenna Autuori

Yoga Tunes to Move You

Written on January 11, 2012 at 3:57 pm , by

Pure Yoga instructor Loren Bassett. (Photo courtesy of Pure Yoga)

I scored a seat in Pure Yoga‘s coveted Loren Bassett Hot Yoga class last night and left with not only a relaxing mind and body, but also this awesome playlist. I’ve done lots of hot yoga over the years, but nothing like Loren’s class. The studio was fully dark and these tunes filled the empty spaces as you made your way through flows and inversions. I loved everything about it and although I couldn’t master the handstand (OK, I was too scared to even try), this class is a must-do on my growing yoga class list!

Match your yoga poses with this playlist from Loren—who’s been teaching hot yoga for more than 10 years—and get in the mood to move.

Be a Better Yogi

Written on January 10, 2012 at 1:42 pm , by

I’m really trying to hold on to my New Year’s resolution as long as I can—they say people tend to fall off the wagon by the time February hits. But my goal of attending two to three yoga classes a week is manageable, especially since here in the FITNESS office, we’re lucky enough to have a yoga instructor come in at lunchtime two days a week! There’s really no excuse I can’t accomplish this goal, and after seeing this ridiculously cool and inspiring video, “The Contortionist,” from West Hollywood Equinox instructor, Briohny Smith, I’m even more motivated to perfect my yogi-ism far into 2012.


Briohny—Bri for short—was introduced to yoga while on a trip to Thailand in 1999. She found yoga to be the cure to getting more “me” time and adding some much-needed serenity to her busy life. Upon exploring different varieties of Hatha yoga over the past 14 years, Bri fell for the arm balances and inversions you see her mastering in this video. As a yoga teacher, she helps her students bridge the gap between their mind and body, as well as helping them strengthen their muscles, while safely edging them closer to the positions she so beautifully aces. Even if I never reach the level that Bri does with such ease, I’m in awe of what she can make her body do and I’m keeping this video in mind as I hope to lengthen and strengthen my body this winter!

[Check out Equinox's innovative new blog, Q by Equinox, for cool things happening at Equinox locations and fun celebrity and athlete Q&A's...plus much more!]

Looking to be a better yogi this year too? Keep reading for two of Bri’s favorite beginner moves!

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Meet The Trainer: YogaWorks’ Keisa Parrish, Former Broadway Rockette!

Written on December 21, 2011 at 9:53 am , by

Keisa, second from right, in full Rockette regalia! (Photo courtesy of Keisa Parrish)

The start of the New Year means the start of so many new fitness routines. Hitting the gym hardcore may be your 2012 resolution (studies say losing weight or getting in shape is the top promise people make), but what about those “off” days, when you’re sore or just don’t feel like getting your butt kicked by your favorite bootcamp master?

That’s why we thought it was so important to give you a total-body stretch/yoga routine that’ll keep your body moving but also give it a nice break too. Plus, when things get hectic before the New Year even begins, you can take a breather with these relaxing moves. January’s Express Workout moves from YogaWorks instructor, Keisa Parrish, come straight from her popular DanceWorks class. Psst…Keisa was a former New York City Rockette too! How cool is that?!

You were a Rockette. What was it like to have this job? (It seems amazingly fun!)
It was amazing! There’s nothing like being apart of a legacy and a sisterhood that spans many generations. And performing for about 6,000 people, is not half bad either!

How did you get into dancing?
Well, it was actually Ms. Renee (the school secretary) who saw me “moving” in the fifth grade Christmas show. And she thought I was a natural dancer and suggested I go take class at Universal Dance Design. These legs haven’t stopped yet.

What’s one thing people would be shocked to find out about Rockettes?
That they do anywhere from two to five shows a day during the Christmas season.

Is Christmas one of your most favorite times of the year?
Yes, it definitely is. I love New York City at holiday time. The lights, decorations, the shows and attractions, the family feeling in the air. Hands down favorite time of year!

What’s on your holiday wish list?
Two things! A day at Bliss Spa to pamper myself (I’ve been saying this for four years now…we’ll see if it happens!) and Rachael Ray serving size casserole dishes. It would be easier to make my son’s favorite homemade mac and cheese!

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Meet The Trainer: Barry’s Bootcamp’s Natalie Uhling

Written on November 10, 2011 at 1:21 pm , by

Meet trainer Natalie Uhling! (Photo by Denise Crew)

I’m really excited to introduce to you one of my favorite new trainers in the city. I met Natalie when she came by the office to model for a fitness story—her energy was so upbeat and contagious, not to mention she had a killer body, so I had to know more about her. Turns out, this model is definitely more than just a pretty face: She’s one of the most popular instructors at Barry’s Bootcamp here in New York City and a Pilates teacher at the just-opened SLT Studio we told you about last week. I’m sure she’s got more tricks up her sleeve and I’d love to one day see her working it out on a show like The Biggest Loser (watch out NBC!). Inspiring, fit, strong and healthy, this trainer has it all.

Read on to find out more about our November/December 2011 Express Workout trainer.

I’m writing a movie about your life, tell me the plot.

It involves a young girl chasing her dreams from Idaho to the big city of New York! She gets the chance to move as a junior in college from The University of Nebraska to the Fashion Institute of New York. This is where she realizes that fashion is amazing but fitness is really where her heart and passion belong. She graduates and works for Ralph Lauren while still making time to soak up her fitness classes. While at Ralph Lauren, she dreams of becoming a fitness professional and creating her own method. She finally makes the jump and her whole life changes. Things fall into place and all of her dreams start coming true.

And it looks like you’ve made it! Tell me about the NYC fitness modeling work? It really fell into my lap. A friend of mine was casting for Under Armour and told me to swing by. I went not knowing what to expect and I booked the job! From that moment I signed with Wilhelmina Models and things really started to take off. It has been such an amazing experience because I get to workout on the shoots and there is nothing better than that!

What do you consider to be the greatest accomplishment in your career so far?

Believing in myself and taking the leap of faith from my corporate job into a full time fitness professional. It was so scary but totally worth it!

How did you end up at Barry’s Bootcamp and what do you love most about your job?

A good friend of mine, Keoni, took me to meet the owner of Barry’s and I feel in love with the format. After seeing the space and feeling the energy around the workout style, I knew it was something I wanted to be a part of. I love the personal interaction I get with my clients. Since the space is small, it allows me to get to know everyone. It is like family there and plus the workout works! I love seeing the changes in people’s bodies.

For Uhling’s exercise of choice and her top three workout songs, Read more

“What Was I Thinking?!” Tales From my First Marathon… (Plus a Giveaway!)

Written on November 9, 2011 at 4:12 pm , by

And we're off! NYC Marathon 2011 begins on the Verrazano Bridge. (Photo coutesy of NYRR & ING NYC Marathon)

Sunday’s ING New York City Marathon—was it a one-and-done thing or will I do this crazy 26.2 mile race again? Crossing that finish line I told whoever would listen, “Never again! I’m sticking with triathlons!” but, now a few days later, as my sore legs are starting to feel normal again, I find myself thinking, well maybe I’ll do it just one more time. As my editor in chief told me, “If only one percent of the population have done just one marathon, imagine doing two? That means you’re a fraction of the population—how inspiring!” Before the race, I laughed at this thought (being just one person of that one percent is pretty damn good!), but now I’m thinking, is a marathoner a marathoner after doing just one, or do you need to rack up more to give yourself this esteemed title?

This entire marathon experience has been an incredible journey from the start. Since day one four months ago pounding the pavement trying to get mileage up, to the moment I stepped over that finish line, has been a roller coaster of emotions and a lifetime of memories that I’ll always cherish. Having watched my first NYC Marathon just a year ago, I never thought I’d be one of those 47,000-plus runners out there. Only a few years ago, I had never run more than six miles, and my first half-marathon was a spontaneous thing. But marathons were for everybody else, not me, so I always told myself. Maybe NYC is a place that makes you want do extraordinary things, but watching people put their bodies through this mental and physical challenge made me want to feel what they were experiencing. And as I watched the runners in 2010 finish their feat, I knew that 2011 was my year to tackle this goal.

I had a year to mentally prepare and tell myself that I was doing this and I had four months of intense running—not to mention incredible time management to fit in all the training—to get through everything I needed to do to be prepared. I was fortunate enough to run on the Asics team with my friends in the fitness magazine industry (yes, although some of us work for competing magazines, we’re still friends!) and have Andrew Kastor (husband of Olympic marathoner, Deena Kastor) as my coach.

The night before the race, I was all ready to go.

As the days to the marathon quickly approached, I was more than ready to finally do this. As Coach Kastor said, “You’re halfway there.” The day of the marathon would be the rest of the journey. And luckily, Sunday was an unbelievably beautiful day here in New York City and we had perfect 60-degree weather. All 47,000-plus runners left their homes before the sun was even up and we huddled together on Staten Island as we geared up for the start of the race. Although starting the race more than four hours after I’d woken up isn’t ideal, it was definitely nice to have some bonding time with the people I’d be running alongside with.

The race is only beginning! Keep reading to hear about Jenna’s seven favorite things about the marathon. Bonus: One reader will win a prize in honor of her big race!

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LAST CALL: Marathon Monday Playlist!

Written on October 31, 2011 at 2:58 pm , by

This is it! Last week before my very first marathon. I’m a bunch of nerves, butterflies and excitement right now—besides wanting to make it through the 26.2 miles, I’m pumped up to see the crowds, run through the boroughs and be part of this “marathon club.” I’m totally psyched and can’t wait to do this! I’ve got our last marathon playlist here for you (we’re in such a tune-filled mood, we couldn’t help but share two lists today), with favorite songs from the FITNESS editors and many of our friends. We’ve clearly got a crush on Eminem and Kanye!

To anyone running the streets of New York City on Sunday, good luck and look for me out there! (Follow me on Twitter @FITNESSjenna to get updates about my experience.)

These songs will help power you across any finish line! (Photo by John Herr)

More from FITNESS: Click here for 100 more motivating tunes!

Triathlon Training Tips From Top Ironman Competitor Mirinda Carfrae

Written on October 27, 2011 at 8:56 am , by

A few days after being a top finisher at the Ironman in Kona, Mirinda “Rinny” Carfrae sat down with us to talk strategy, relationships and the toughest competition on the course.

Rinny and I the day after the race! Does she even look like she just competed in an Ironman?

Congratulations on an awesome race this year! How does it feel to be among the top three fittest women  in the world? [In my opinion! But that's the top three Ironman female finishers!]

Not quite as good as last year when I won. Haha! It feels great to be back up on the podium in the best triathlon race in the world (in my opinion).

It was a close race this year at Kona between you and first place finisher, Chrissie Wellington. You both clearly have a lot of respect for each other as from what I saw at the finish line. Besides the competition, why do you like racing with her?

I think it was a great women’s race this year. There were some women out there riding ridiculous times and I think Chrissie and I were just lucky they slowed down a little when it came to the run. I love going out there and racing the best women in the world and Chrissie certainly is the best right now. When you have women pushing the boundaries like Chrissie has done you open up a whole world of possibility. All of a sudden, what once seemed impossible is now what everyone is pushing to achieve. I don’t think we would be racing as fast as we are now if we all weren’t chasing this crazy Brit.

Do you have your eyes on the prize again for Kona 2012?

And I will absolutely be chasing the big prize again in Kona 2012.

How did you get involved with the sport of triathlon?

I was doing some strength and conditioning for the upcoming basketball season and ended up training with the local triathlon group. It didn’t take them long to convince me to give triathlon a go. I was pretty much hooked right from my first race, after being involved with team sports my whole life I just really loved the individual aspect of the sport.

Why are you excited about this sport?

As I said earlier, I love the individual aspect of this sport. If you want to improve then it’s up to you to do the work to make those improvements. You do need to have a good support crew, but at the end of the day it’s you that has to go out there and get the job done. I also love that it’s three sports in one, you can never really contain the sport—there is always something that you need to work on and I think that keeps you motivated and excited for the next challenge.

If you hadn’t gone pro, what reasons do you have for competing? More and more everyday women are getting involved with this sport, so why do you think that is? Read more

The Ultimate Swim, Bike, Run: Kona Ironman World Championship 2011

Written on October 26, 2011 at 3:36 pm , by

The official Ironman logo.

If you’ve ever done a triathlon, then you can appreciate something as powerful as an Ironman—the ultimate competition of some of the world’s fittest people. What I consider fit may be different than what others consider fit, but there’s no denying that this 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and 26. 2-mile run (yes, a marathon) is a beast of a competition and one of the most physically and mentally demanding challenges you will experience. Training for a race like this takes much experience, determination and commitment, not to mention willpower, to get through those many miles and long hours of constantly pushing yourself.

Having competed in a couple Olympic-distance triathlons (that’s a mile swim, 25-mile bike and 6.2-mile run), I can tell you that training is intense: Long hours spent before work, after work and on weekends getting in the practice in the pool, on your bike and on the road. Sometimes, doing all three in one day. But if you’ve ever done one of these competitions, or have thought about it, then you also know how seriously fun they can be. Combining three sports in one breaks up the monotony of a regular marathon or a long bike ride. Plus, if you’re semi-”Type A” or uber competitive like me, then you might enjoy the challenge, and accomplishment, of completing each leg of the race and checking it off your list as you rush to the next challenge—swim, bike, run. To be able to train for an Ironman takes an understanding of how this sport works, including learning the proper nutrition and how to stay fueled throughout the entire race.

When I got the most amazing opportunity to watch the World Championship in Kona, Hawaii on October 8th, I literally jumped for joy! Instantly upon arriving in Kona, I developed a much bigger appreciation for what these athletes accomplished just by being there.

And, they're off! Official swim start.

Much to my surprise, it wasn’t just the elite athletes, who blew my away—it was the oldest competitor, an 81-year-old man from Oregon, and the 60-something-year-old breast cancer survivor, and Scott Rigsby, the man with two prosthetic legs who crossed that finish line before the 17-hour time limit that brought tears to my eyes. To be fit and healthy is something that anybody can practice and aim for, no matter the obstacles pitted against you—and these athletes are proof of that. Just like the three amazing people mentioned above, everybody racing has a story worth telling.

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Marathon Music Monday: A Little Help From SoulCycle!

Written on October 24, 2011 at 11:17 am , by

Danny Kopel, pictured, crafts some very groove-worthy playlists! (Photo by Christopher Lawrence)

I’m on my two-week countdown until my first EVER marathon—the ING New York City marathon on November 6th—and I’m seriously so pumped to hit the streets of Manhattan with 55,000 other runners (just saying that makes me smile!). When I got a little cross-training in at my favorite SoulCycle studio, the energy in the room pulsing from this awesome playlist by instructor Danny Kopel’s class was incredible—I knew I had to add it to my list of songs for marathon day. Sometimes I’d love to bottle up the energy from inside this spinning room and somehow upload it to my iPod, but since I can’t, I’ll rock out to the tunes from this awesome class instead.

Now tell us: What songs are on your race day playlist?

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Olympic Speed Skater Apolo Ohno Is Going For a Run!

Written on October 19, 2011 at 2:01 pm , by

Mary Wittenberg, President & CEO of the New York Road Runners, left, takes a loop with Phelps and Ohno. (Photo by Diane Bondareff/AP Images for SUBWAY)

This gold medal-winning Olympic speed skater, and a favorite among the Dancing With The Stars alum—not to mention the season four winner—is going for a run on November 6 around the boroughs of Manhattan in his first-ever marathon. I was lucky enough to score an invite to watch Apolo train at Chelsea Piers Sports Center in New York City, alongside buddy and 26-time Olympic winner, swimmer Michael Phelps, who was there to support his friend. (There was so much amazing talent in one place I wasn’t sure I could contain my excitement!)

Phelps and Ohno take a breather and share a laugh over the swimmer's lack of running skills. (Photo by Diane Bondareff/AP Images for SUBWAY)

“For 15 years I have trained to sprint for 10 seconds, rest, sprint for 10 seconds, rest,” Apolo told us. So I wondered why an 8-time Olympic gold medalist like Apolo, who is America’s most decorated winter Olympic athlete, would venture so far from the ice to the pavement? As a speed skater, endurance is certainly not Apolo’s cup of tea. But with the physique vastly different than a runner—big legs, tiny arms, comparing himself to that of “T-Rex”—Apolo is putting in the miles to support Subway’s campaign to promote health and fitness.

After meeting Jared Fogle—the man who rose to fame after America discovered he had dropped over 200 pounds by eating Subway sandwiches alone—Apolo claims he was inspired by Jared’s passion to lead a new lifestyle; and was put up to the challenge by Jared himself, who ran the 45,000 person marathon in 2010. “This is one of my favorite cities to visit, so to have the opportunity to run here, and have the city shut down once a year? That doesn’t happen, it’s amazing,” says Ohno seeming extremely giddy to be part of such a monumental event.

I'm feeling honored to have met such an amazing athlete! (Photo by Diane Bondareff/AP Images for SUBWAY)

Did I ever think I’d witness a cross between athletic challenges, like speed skating and marathon running, in such a way? Not likely, but as as runner myself it was touching to see someone so inspirational take on a new challenge totally out of his comfort zone. Apolo’s Olympic training may not have prepared him for the 26.2 mileage, or all the mental work that goes into tackling that “wall,” however Apolo seemed like a man on a mission. Will I bump into Apolo on the race course in just less than three weeks? Who knows with the massive amount of runners I’ll be making my way through, but I’ll definitely be on the lookout for him like Where’s Waldo.

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