On our quest to find the most unique classes around, we discovered the class for type As: Yoga Bootcamp. This variety includes a mix of flowing poses and muscle-building strength moves performed at a heart-pumping pace. In our class, a top 40 playlist kept the pace moving at a fast clip…until the final five minutes. Then, the instructor (and triathlete) Lindsey Opp of PowHer Fitness, says, “The most difficult part of the class begins.” In other words, the time you lie still in corpse pose and clear your brain to focus on your breath might be even more of a challenge than the super-sculpting moves. Yup, there is a yoga class for us all…even those who have slowing down.
Try this style yourself at home with two moves from the bootcamp:
- Start in plank position, with abs tight, body in a straight diagonal line from shoulders to heels and hands under shoulders.
- Slowly lower down in a triceps push-up, keeping elbows near ribcage. As you lower, bring right knee out to the side and forward to meet right elbow (see picture).
- Push back up to starting position and place right leg back behind to meet left.
- Switch sides and repeat. Try to complete 5 reps per side.
- Begin with feet about two feet in front of an empty wall. Bend down and place hands at shoulder-width, about one foot on front of toes (A).
- Place most of body weight on hands and carefully place one foot low on the wall while the other remains on the floor.
- Step other foot up on the wall and alternate stepping legs higher, until legs are fully extended (B).
- Hold handstand position for five seconds, then walk feet back down the wall until you can step back to the starting position.
- Repeat, stepping first with the opposite leg.
The day before the Boston Marathon, I crossed the finish line of the More/Fitness Women’s Half-Marathon in New York City’s Central Park. About a month before Boston, I had crossed the finish line of the Los Angeles Marathon. Both times my tired legs somehow found the energy to surge through the last few hundred yards. With arms held high, a smile on my face and the cheering crowds drowning out whatever playlist has been pumping for hours through my earbuds, something magical always propels me forward as I run toward joy, exhilaration and complete satisfaction.
Crossing the finish line brings relief, pride and bliss, and there’s never a moment you want it more than that last .1 of a 13.1-mile half or the final .2 of a 26.2-mile marathon. On Monday, thousands of runners in Boston had that same drive and focus shattered by two cruel, horrific bombs.
The blasts shook them out of their thoughts of elation, of accomplishment, of post-race celebrations over beer and burgers. In seconds, their hearts went from swelling with gratitude and love for family and friends who had supported them on race day and through months of training, to pounding with fear and panic over when and how they would reunite with their loved ones, if ever.
I was not in Boston on Monday, but from my desk at Fitness magazine, I was there in spirit. That morning, still high on endorphins from the wonderful race we hosted the day before with New York Road Runners, I wished the runners in Boston the same exuberance, strength and determination that were so palpable from the women runners at our half-marathon. I excitedly logged onto the Boston Athletic Association’s website so I could track the progress of my friend and Fitness colleague Amy Macauley as she ran a strong pace through every split of her 26.2-mile trek into downtown Boston. When her final finish time popped up on my screen, I was thrilled and elated, just as I’d been the morning before.
News broke of the explosions less than an hour later. My heart sank for Amy, for the thousands of runners, spectators, organizers and volunteers. How could a day meant to be a celebration of all that is good about the human spirit—from the runners whose athleticism, dedication and grit are so deserving of admiration to the spectators who stand on the sidelines for hours hoping to catch a glimpse of their loved one and scream encouraging hoots and hollers at the sea of strangers running by—go from so right to so wrong?
Those two bombs placed in such close proximity to the finish line were intended to maim and kill, to stop us in our tracks. They robbed us of precious lives and limbs, and my heart breaks for those innocent spectators who were hurt and for their grieving families. The crimes took away our moments of celebration, but they did not end our journey. As any runner will tell you, every race is measured in much more than miles and the time it takes to cross the finish line. Whether in your training you went from fat to fit, weak to strong, doubter to believer, the course keeps going long after the race is over. The bombs in Boston will never take away our collective will to move forward, to sprint toward what is good in life. Already thousands on Facebook have committed to running 26.2 miles in the coming days, weeks and months to honor Boston. We run because we have to. We run for those who can’t. We run because that is how we keep reaching, growing, healing. There will continue to be many more start lines to join, and this weekend our thoughts will be with marathoners lining up in London, as they will be thinking of their running comrades in Boston. In tragic times like this, we simply keep moving forward. We run for joy. We run for good health. We run for peace. That is how we finish strong.
Written by Carrie Stevens, editorial intern
Have you started spring cleaning yet? Though it seems like a daunting project, Carolyn Barnes, author of The cLean Momma Workout, says these types of household chores—think dusting, vacuuming and loading the dishwasher—offer opportunities to “taskercise,” or get in shape while cleaning up. Multi-tasking at its finest? We’re in!
Combining isometric movements, functional training and bootcamp-like exercises, Barnes’ program lets pressed-for-time ladies (and men!) firm up—no equipment necessary. We chatted with this former professional dancer and mother of two about her program, the ins and outs of taskercising, and her favorite multitasking moves.
How did you conceptualize taskercise?
I originally came up with this after my now-six-year-old was born. When he was about four months old he spit up on the floor after I nursed him— I cleaned it up by using my legs to maneuver a cloth and said, “Oh! I’m onto something here.” I started to do more moves—let me do this while I change my baby’s diaper, do this while I vacuum. Since I’m multitasking, I’m not being pulled away from my kids to go to the gym.
Exercising while doing chores is a double-whammy, though. What are your tips for success?
The rule of thumb is it takes 30 days to make or break a habit, so practice it consciously. You want to make a choice to commit for 30 days, which is hard for a lot of people because they want immediate results. For a psychological jumpstart, do 10 pushups at your kitchen sink every time you’re in there; you’ll see definition within a week. That’s going to propel you to continue.
You even have moves to do outside of the home, like the gas squat and grab and stretch. Have you ever been caught doing a move in public?
Yes, and I make them do it with me!
Oh, I’ve ambushed people and have been like, “let’s do some calf raises!” You can be free about it or do it discreetly, if that’s more your style. If you’re in the checkout line, for example, take your grocery cart and push it out and pull it back in, keeping your core tight the entire time. That’s an ab workout during idle time. I do it all the time!
Aside from “taskercising,” what other types of workouts do you enjoy?
I go for runs and hikes in the beautiful rural country. I don’t do it for weight loss, but rather peace of mind.
What does fitness mean to you?
Being healthy. My thighs are always going to be my thighs. I used to be so self-conscious about them, and my butt, but I’m over it. I wear my cellulite with a badge of honor because it’s still there, but I’m healthy.
Now you tell us: Do you/would you workout while cleaning?
Written by Carrie Stevens, editorial intern
Wouldn’t you love to have access to a studio-quality yoga class whenever the desire to practice strikes? A calming atmosphere and knowledgeable instructor make for a restorative flow that keeps yogis coming back for more. So if you can’t get your om fix live, we recommend checking out Yogify, a new app from EA Sports.
Studio yoga flows promise different sequences every time you unroll your mat, and Yogify offers more than 30 hours of practice across 50 progressively challenging classes. The app can be downloaded for free and contains five complimentary classes. Think of it this way: once you master sun salutations, then you can try warrior poses. And thanks to audio cues and photos, you’ll have no trouble applying the basics to a beginner flow class. For intermediate and advanced yogis, there are three levels of classes available, so there’s no reason why you can’t up the ante when you feel mat time might be getting mundane.
After you’ve used the five complimentary classes, the app offers pay-to-download programs that focus on building strength, balance and flexibility. Like its free classes, these workouts span three levels and help you perfect certain poses and engage specific body parts. We bet workouts like “Superman Abs, “Teddy Bear to Tripod,” and “Inversion Excursion” will fire up your muscles and keep your practice fresh.
For more information, visit the Yogify website.
Right now, Yogify is only available on iOS. For you Android lovers, we recommend checking out yogatoday.com – the website posts one free yoga class per week, and you can get an unlimited access for $9.99/month. Keep calm and om on, friends.
Now you tell us: What’s your favorite fitness app?
Today marks the launch of a new season on The Voice, with newbie judges Shakira and Usher heating up the oversized spinning seats. Veterans (and major #bromance boys) Adam Levine and Blake Shelton return to the show better than ever – Shelton releases his latest album, Based On A True Story, tomorrow, with tons of tunes destined to be summer hits. Meanwhile, Levine is touring the world and making ladies swoon with the rest of his Maroon 5 bandmates. And as someone who has seen the Overexposed tour live (with @FITNESSkarla, no less!), I can definitely say the tunes are hot, hot, hot!
Try these tunes during your next workout and don’t be surprised if you find yourself wondering about your own future singing career – these artists always make us want to try!*
*For the sake of everyone’s ears, we’ll stick to singing in the shower and car.
Now you tell us: Will you watch season 4 of The Voice? Which judge is your fave?
After a tough workout, the first place we tend to head isn’t the shower, but the kitchen – gotta squeeze in that recovery fuel within a half hour! As someone who loves food just as much as we do, it’s safe to say Gina of Running to the Kitchen does the same thing. After all, it’s in her blog name! This CrossFit junkie makes us drool with all of her beautiful recipe images, and she’ll make you do the same. Go ahead and check it out – we bet you can’t prove us wrong.
My favorite way to work out: CrossFit! I know, I know, it’s all the rage right now and that’s a totally predictable answer, but I started CrossFit when it opened in my town last July and have been hooked ever since. It’s efficient, effective (hello, muscles I’ve never seen before) and an absolute blast. I think every box (read: gym) has different vibe, but something that seems pretty consistent across the board is the rapport among members. It’s not only my workout for the day, but a time I get to hang out with like-minded people and have fun. An hour of endorphins pumping, music blasting and people cheering each other on beats any other workout I can think of.
On my fit life list: A strict unassisted pull-up. No marathons, no triathlons. Just one darn pull-up without a band or kipping.
My “I Did It” moment: Finishing my first half-marathon in less than two hours. 2010 was a year of a lot of change for me. I lost 20 pounds, revamped the way I ate (slowly) and started running. Having played sports all my life as a kid, running was always something I was “forced” to do, not a sport I enjoyed. When I decided to pick it up as an adult in an effort to live a healthier lifestyle, I had no idea I’d grow to love it as much as I do. What started as a little competitive bet with myself to run my first 5K ended with my first half-marathon seven months later. Finishing it in under two hours, when I couldn’t even run one mile eight months prior, was pretty awesome.
I’m happiest when I’m: Doing anything with food. Eating it, cooking it, photographing it – anything. As cliche as it may sound, food is definitely my life passion. I contemplated going to culinary school in my mid-twenties, and while that didn’t actually happen, my blog has become the perfect creative outlet for that passion.
Olympic sport I’d love to try: While I think I’d be horrendous at it, I would pick gymnastics! Considering I can stay in an unassisted handstand for about three seconds, at best, and still haven’t come close to mastering the muscle-up in CrossFit (both gymnastic-type skills), it would be interesting.
Do you have a favorite fit blogger you want us to highlight? Leave a comment below or email email@example.com
Categories: Fitness, Motivation, The Fit Stop, Weight Loss, Workouts | Tags: cooking, CrossFit, fit blogger we love, half marathon, Healthy Eating, running, running to the kitchen, Workouts
Written by Carrie Stevens, editorial intern
Even though Mother Nature doesn’t seem to know which season she wants to stick to (and we don’t really believe Punxsutawney Phil anymore), spring is on the way—in fact, the first official day is this Wednesday! A new season means fresh jams, so rev up your reps with iTunes’ top 10 tunes of the week.
Now you tell us: What new songs are you loving this season?
Written by Carrie Stevens, editorial intern
Buttery toast, rich olive oil, fluffy soufflés—have you started drooling yet? Surprisingly, we were on our mats when yoga instructor Chrissy Carter brought these images to mind, making us dream about our next meal. The ex-Wall Streeter-turned-yogi commonly references food during her classes to help students visualize and execute poses, which we experienced firsthand to celebrate the launch of her new Gaiam DVD Beginning Yoga. Ready to say om…nom nom?
How did you first discover yoga?
I danced in college and the professors would use yoga to warm us up. I became more serious about it when I graduated and worked on Wall Street. I had a crazy-intense job, so I would go and do yoga as a way to relax and check in with myself. It was a demanding career and I felt like I needed some me time; yoga really gave me that.
Why do you think it’s important for people, especially women, to practice yoga?
I think yoga puts us back in our bodies. It gives us an opportunity to let go of all the expectations that we have and all of the things that we have to be to everybody. It also allows us to have a place where we can practice self-acceptance, and for women, that’s always a challenge. We’re always measuring ourselves us against some sort of outside expectation. And to come on your mat and be like, “I’m going to do what I can do today, and that’s OK.” Beyond the physical benefits of having those strong, supple muscles, I think the connection emotionally and mentally is so much more powerful.
How would you describe your teaching style?
I would say it is really clear. I am passionate about giving people the tools that they need to be their own teacher. I want to give everybody a backstage pass into how to do these poses effectively and safely for their particular body. I use humor so that people don’t take themselves too seriously, but I also take the practice really seriously because I think it’s a perfect place for people to apply it to the bigger picture: how do I react to not being able to do this pose, and how is that similar to how I react when things fall apart in my life?
Josh Holland is all about educating his clientele on leading a fit, healthy and nutritious lifestyle. His mantra? “Knowledge is POWER.” As a former professional overseas basketball player, third degree black belt and London 2012 Accredited Olympic Trainer, this guy certainly knows what he’s talking about. Oh, and he has been working with Madonna since 2009. No big deal! That’s why when we heard that he was working with TechnoGym’s new Kinesis One training system, we couldn’t resist getting in on the action. Here are three things you should know about the Kinesis station before trying one out at a gym near you:
- The design is one of a kind. “Compared to other cable systems, Kinesis is easier to use, quicker to set up, more compact, extremely versatile, beautiful and available in various finishes,” said Josh. Thanks to Technogym’s FullGravity technology, users can simply vary the resistance and angle of the pulley movement for a full range of motion. Translation? Ultimate results.
- Kinesis improves balance, core, coordination and muscle strength. “When working out on Kinesis you will have to stabilize your body, whether you are standing or sitting, in order to perform any exercise.” Hint: the farther away, the greater the resistance. Unlike your typical cable machine, the smooth, natural feel of these cable cords make your workout jerk-free!
- Zero-impact means natural but effective movement. “I love the versatility and limitless possibilities of exercise programs that can be performed on the Kinesis,” said Josh. “It’s perfect for circuit training, supersets and quick exercise transitions.” Kill two muscles with one move by adding a squat to an overhead press (hop on a Bosu for an extra balancing bang!) or lunge post-bicep curl. For resistance workout-spiration, check out our Refine-inspired Sculpt Sexy Arms Express from our February issue.
Now Tell Us: Are you a resistance training fan? Would you give Kinesis One a go?
Written by Carrie Stevens, editorial intern
How fast have you driven a car? As a law-abiding citizen, we’re going to assume not too much higher than the speed limit. Racecar driver Ashley Freiberg, on the other hand, regularly clocks in over 100 miles per hour like it’s no sweat, and wins races pretty consistently in the male-dominated sport. Ever since she began racing as a teen, Freiberg has nabbed first place in 29 Skip Barber races (racing’s equivalent of being signed to the minor leagues), and in 2010, she captured two Skip Barber Series championships and became the first woman to win both a Skip Barber Racing Series overall title and Skip Barber National Series event.
Freiberg will be the first to tell you there’s more to the sport than driving with a lead foot, though. We sat down with the 21-year-old to talk racing, training and her favorite ways to break a sweat when she’s not behind the wheel. Ready, set, go!
You first learned about the racing industry when you nabbed a job as a timing official when you were 11 years old. What did you think about it back then?
Well, my brothers got into racing when I was about 10 years old and honestly, I didn’t even think women raced. I just thought it was mostly guys, so it never really crossed my mind that a girl could be out there. But I loved watching it, that’s for sure. That’s why I wanted to be in the timing and scoring tower because I could watch racing all day long. Then as I started to get older, I saw more girls on the track racing go karts and I thought, ‘Hey, maybe this is something I could do.’
Was your family supportive when you decided to give it a try?
I’ve always been a tomboy. I grew up with two brothers and no sisters, so I was always on a skateboard and playing basketball. The only person who was against it was my mom. She didn’t think I was aggressive enough, I guess. I remember a friend of ours was like, ‘I think she’s got it in her,’ so he kind of convinced my mom to get me into it.
Speaking of basketball and skateboarding, do you think your athletic background helped make the transition from team sports to racing easier?
For sure! I’ve always been super competitive; I think growing up with two brothers is what helped grow that competitive spirit inside of me because we’d always be seeing who could be the best at this or beat each other in any kind of game. I definitely think that sports really helped develop all kind of skills that transitioned into racing, like determination, handling pressure and competitiveness.