Written on October 21, 2013 at 1:59 pm , by Lauren Cardarelli
So you still haven’t tried SoulCycle. We get it—the heart-pumping, fat-blasting cardio sesh can be intimidating (like, what the heck does “Tap it back” mean?) but trust us, once you clip into those pedals you’ll be hooked. I mean, we sure are alongside celeb die-hards like Lady Gaga, Lena Dunham, Kelly Ripa and Bradley Cooper (drool).
That’s why the studio introduced the new program SoulCycle 101. The three 60-minute class package gives newbies the scoop on bike setup, form, lingo and more so you’re not the mortified rider who needs help lowering their seat or catching the beat to a Katy Perry remix. (Ok, even some of us regulars still require a little assistance on both of those…) The best part? With two or three instructors in each tutorial/workout, students get the extra attention they need to unleash their inner-rockstar.
The first series launches November 9 at the East 83rd Street and Soho studios for just $85. Sign up by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Stop resisting! There’s no longer an excuse.
Written on October 3, 2013 at 1:41 pm , by FITNESS Intern
Written by Alena Hall, editorial intern
Bring on the pink! National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is finally here, flaunting more proud ribbons, charitable events and philanthropic products than ever before (don’t forget to check out our fave product picks!). If you’re struggling to decide how you’d like to give back this month, pick a program that aligns with your passions, too. Here are three ways to get your sweat on and support thousands of women as they brave the breast cancer battle. Now that’s a win, win.
- Xtend Barre is hosting Plié for Pink on October 19 and 20 at its participating studios. Donate $30 to take this 75-minute barre bootcamp that really works your legs, glutes and core. Proceeds go to Bright Pink, the only national non-profit organization that focuses on the prevention and early detection of breast and ovarian cancer in young women.
- Real Pilates NYC challenges you to a Mat-a-Thon with pro instructor Regina Arras at its Tribeca studio on October 23. This 75-minute Pilates mat class puts your endurance to the test with 20 rounds of hardcore sculpting moves. Sign up with a $50 donation and see how long you can last. If you make it to the end, your donation is capped at $50. If you tap out early, your donation amount will increase depending on how many rounds you completed. All proceeds go to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Game on!
- If Pilates isn’t for you, get your groove on at your local Zumba studio. The third-annual Party in Pink Zumbathons are held worldwide throughout the month with 75 percent of the event ticket fees going directly toward preventative research, a grant managed by Susan G. Komen.
For an added bonus, wear the FitBit Pink Flex Wristband ($99) during these workouts to track your crazy calorie burn. Throughout the month, FitBit will contribute $10 from every Pink Flex wristband sold to the American Cancer Society. Now what are you waiting for? Get out there and sport your pink power!
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Written on September 13, 2013 at 10:15 am , by FITNESS Intern
Written by Gabriella Rello, editorial intern
With football season finally here, we can’t help but be pumped for tailgates. Can you blame us? Although we love to cheer on cute guys in tight pants, pre-game fun with our pals is what makes football season worth waiting for. Throw in some good food and drinks and we’re counting down the days until the next kickoff! As we gear up for fan festivities, it’s clear game day prep isn’t just for our favorite teams. While the stands aren’t quite as dangerous as the field, common activities like loading up coolers and sprinting to seats leave fans with fears of being sidelined. Gold’s Gym and celebrity trainer Mike Ryan teamed up, giving us four moves to tackle pre-game injuries.
Prevent Pre-Game Back Strain: Standing Arm and Preacher Curls
Cooler-carrying duties can take a toll on your back, so pump up your arm routine to relieve some of that pressure. Add three sets of seated dumbbell tricep extensions, suggests Ryan, for 12 reps. After each set, jump into a superset of 15-18 reps or seated dumbbell curls, using a weight that’s lighter than your extensions, but still challenging.
Tackle Forearm Flipping Fatigue: Dumbbell Reverse Wrist Curls
Grilling seems like an easy tailgate task until the forearm ache sets in. Prep your wrists for endless burger and hot dog flipping with dumbbell reverse wrist curls. With an overhand grip on the dumbbell, lean forward resting your forearm at a 90-degree angle on a bench. Then lower the weight down and bring it back up, flexing your wrist throughout the process. At least three sets of 12-15 reps on each side will keep you in chef shape, says Ryan.
Avoid Second Hamstring Pulls: Lying Leg Curls
Top-notch football tickets are hard to come by. Do your wallet and legs a favor by opting for the nosebleed section. While climbing endless stairs may leave your muscles in need of a “Hail Mary,” pre-game hammy strengtheners like lying leg curls will make it a possible feat. Adding four sets of 12 reps will build muscles ready to scale the stadium.
Skip Stadium Sprint Splints: Straight Knee Calf Wall Stretch
Whether you’re late for kick-off or trying to beat the post-game parking lot rush, running at full speed can lead to painful shin splints. To avoid an embarrassing injury, Ryan suggests setting aside 5-10 minutes a few times a week to stretch out your calves with straight knee calf wall stretch. Aim for three or four sets, holding for 15-30 seconds per side.
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- The FITNESS Guide to Healthy Tailgating
- Star Chef Aaron Sanchez Amps Up Your Football Snacks
- Waistline-Approved Super Bowl Recipes
Written on September 3, 2013 at 2:07 pm , by FITNESS Intern
Written by Alena Hall, editorial intern
With summer coming to an end and a post-vacation workload piling up on your desk, National Yoga Month could not have arrived at a better time! In 2008, the Department of Health and Human Services dedicated the month of September to raising awareness of yoga’s benefits—improving strength, flexibility, posture, breathing and stress management—so what better way to celebrate than hitting the mat? Studios, teachers and brands nationwide filled these 30 days with a variety of events to help newcomers and experienced yogis alike strike a pose in fun, budget-friendly ways. Take advantage of these special classes, programs and even an app to balance both your mind and body.
- New York City’s Pure Yoga studios are offering a selection of free yoga classes between Monday, September 9 and Friday, September 13 for first-time visitors and longstanding members. Be sure to sign up for these zen sessions soon – spots will go fast!
- Athleta and YogaGlo teamed up to create a series of free online yoga classes available throughout September. The videos are separated into three practice levels to meet every yogi’s needs. If group fitness is more your style, Athleta storefronts are also hosting special events all month long. Visit their website to find one near you.
- For the yogis with limited free time, DailyBurn.com is offering a free, 30-day trial of their online yoga program YogaFlow. This video progression caters to practitioners of all levels by integrating different styles such as mobility, meditation and strength recovery yoga.
- Internationally acclaimed yoga expert and teacher Christine Martitz developed Dive Into Yoga, a mobile app for iPhone and Andriod that helps you take your practice virtually anywhere! The 26 professional videos demonstrate each posture with far more detail than other apps that rely on still images alone.
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Written on August 23, 2013 at 12:36 pm , by Christie Griffin
Written on August 21, 2013 at 3:55 pm , by Christie Griffin
When you’re traveling or in-between gym memberships, what do you do? Sign up for the free three-day membership? Pay $30 for a single barre class? If you’re like me, probably not. Which is why I just about jumped out of my chair in glee when I read this article about an Australian app that’s going to go global, sooner rather than later.
The FitUsIn app, founded by Vanessa Picker, will allow users to book gym visits at the last minute—without having to meet with a gym representative, sign a contract, etc. I’ve always been a big fan of Lifebooker, the site/app that lets me make discounted beauty appointments, usually at the last minute. So, I have high hopes for FitUsIn.
And Vanessa isn’t just a fitness fanatic who wants to work out wherever she goes—she co-founded Play Forward, which help bring organized sports to children in need. She’s even a fellow for The Resolution Project, a nonprofit that empowers young entrepreneurs.
(Related: Want to run the 4-Mile NYRR race in NYC on Sept. 7? You can be a part of the Resolution Runs team, which means your involvement will go directly to supporting the fellows, including Vanessa. Get details here on Facebook, at @ResolutionProj on Twitter, or send a note to info [at] resolutionproject [dot] org.)
You heard it here first, FITNESS friends. Vanessa, we’re waiting!
Written on August 16, 2013 at 12:56 pm , by Marla Horenbein
It’s no surprise that the editors at FITNESS are race junkies. We’ve tackled marathons, gotten our Color Run on, and killed a few triathlons. One thing we hadn’t mastered though – until last month, that is – was mud runs. They’re a bit daunting, totally hardcore and um, hello, dirty! But since we’re not ones to shy away from a challenge, or a little mud, we decided to dive head first into a pit of muddy water (seriously, though), and take on a Rugged Manic course.
Even though we’re still scrubbing mud off of our bodies, trust us when we tell you it was a blast. We scaled nine-foot walls, crawled under barbed wire and hurdled some serious flames. And if that doesn’t sound like enough of a challenge for you, there were 17 other obstacles that totally tested our limits. If we thought we were finishing that race unscathed, we were wrong (we had a few minor cuts, bumps and bruises). But we did come out faster, stronger and just a tad muddier.
Throwing away your clothes and sneaks after a race like that is pretty much a given, so when planning our race day attire, we kind of panicked. Can you blame us for being attached to our spandex?!
Our solution? Buy super cheap pieces that we’d be okay tossing after the finish line. We turned to our trusty pals at Forever21 (C9 by Champion for Target is another great, affordable option!) and picked out pieces that would make us look fierce on the course: a white tank so we could see how muddy we got (take before and after pics!); a camouflage bra to channel our inner tough girls; and some black booty shorts because if you’ve got it, why not flaunt it?
As for your treasured sneaks? Leave the good pair at home and wear old ones. Some race organizations (Rugged Maniac is one of them!) will even clean up and donate the sneakers that people get rid of, which we think is totally awesome!
Now that we’ve tested the (muddy) waters, we’re completely hooked on getting our dirty-girl on. With mud runs taking the country by storm, there are tons to choose from, and we’ve already got one in the line-up for the fall. Call us crazy, but mud can totally be sexy.
If you’re as mud run-crazed as we are, tell us about your favorite courses. We’d love to check them out!
Written on August 14, 2013 at 10:48 am , by Samantha Shelton
You know her as a U.S. Olympic softball player, but in the last few years, Jennie Finch has proven to be quite the well-rounded athlete. After hanging up her glove and settling into motherhood, Finch has taken the fitness world by storm, tackling major events like the New York City Marathon. This summer, she did it again and dominated a completely new-to-her sport: the triathlon. After swimming, biking and running in the New York City Triathlon – finishing in 2:51:15 – we caught up with the supermom to find out how she felt on race day, and whether we’ll see her back in the Hudson River any time soon.
You conquered the New York City Marathon in 2011, and now the triathlon. What made you want to do it?
Actually, my coach and a girl who ran the marathon with me are both triathletes and they wanted me to do it. And then Aquaphor wanted to know if I was interested, and it’s a brand that’s been in my house since my [softball] playing days. Now that I’m a mom, I use it on my kiddos. It looked like a fun challenge, so I figured why not?
Did you have any kind of experience in swimming and biking before signing on?
Other than riding my beach cruiser in high school and playing marco polo in the pool, I didn’t do anything. I didn’t know how to breathe properly or even freestyle properly in the swim. It was all so new and I was just tapping into a new community. It’s been fun to get in and figure it out.
Which part of the tri was your favorite?
I thought running would be my favorite leg, but running after swimming and biking is a whole different ball game. I’ve grown to love swimming, which I was most nervous about. It’s less stress on your body. Biking just took a long time to get the training miles in, but swimming was never more than an hour, which was refreshing and a nice change-up.
Written on August 6, 2013 at 1:23 pm , by Marla Horenbein
True story: I was out for a run last week when a friend of mine saw me run by his apartment. He sent a text saying, “Stop! Turn around! Come hang out!” Cue the girly-girl rant in my head, “Oh gosh, I can’t believe he just saw me running. I’m a sweaty mess. This is so embarrassing. I can’t go over there!” But since I suffer from a small case of FOMO (c’mon ladies, admit it, you do too!), I couldn’t resist the invite. So after finishing my loop, I ran back to his pad, sweaty mess and all. As I walked in, my friend said, “You look super official. Like a sponsored athlete or something. What should I be wearing so can I look as cool as you when I run?”
At first I thought he was being facetious, being that I was decked out in neon shorts, neon sneaks and a tank that had neon lettering (A little obnoxious? Maybe), but he was serious. And I gladly took the compliment.
Now to the point of my story: I get asked about running gear a lot; specifically sneakers. My job as the Fashion Assistant here at FITNESS lends me the title of “sneaker expert” amongst my friends. I know which shoes are the best for marathon training (see my pick below!), which brands have the best minimalist styles, and which sneakers are the coolest each season.
All tech-talk aside, if the shoes aren’t cute, we’re not buying them. Right? So from a fashionable stance, these are my fave running sneakers for logging miles this summer:
Saucony Kinvara 4: These shoes are my obsession. Seriously, they’re that good. I’ve trained for countless half-marathons in Kinvaras, and I’ve turned lots of runners into Kinvara fans (Saucony, you can thank me later). I love the explosion of hot pink and neon yellow on my newest pair, and feel pretty awesome running down the streets of my hood. You might need sunglasses to protect your eyes from the brightness. #justsayin
Nike Air Pegasus 30+: So we’ve seen the Free and become fans of the Fly Knit, but this Nike style should totally be on your radar, too. I’m a sucker for a good throwback, and these kicks have a serious old school vibe. And when you’re done running, you can rock them with a cool pair of boyfriend jeans and a tee for a laid back look on the weekend.
New Balance Minimus Hi-Rez: Space age shoes? Sure, why not? These awesome weightless sneaks have a futuristic feel that will be sure to make people look twice as you run by, and not in a bad way. Plus, you get the minimalist feel, without going totally barefoot. It’s a win-win situation, people!
Now you tell us: What’s your sneaker of choice?
Written on July 30, 2013 at 9:54 am , by Jenna Autuori
Running sometimes feels like the bread and butter to getting fit. Oftentimes, people put one foot in front of the other to start their weight-loss journey. Others use running as a way to de-stress or bond with friends. And sometimes, people accomplish crazy running feats to test their strength. For instance, Robin Azron, a corporate lawyer turned ultra-marathoner, freelance writer and running coach, ran five marathons in five days for MS Run The US for her mom, who battles the disease every day. Or there’s Zoe Romano, 26, who just ran the entire Tour de France course—yes, I said ran—over nine weeks, averaging 30 miles every. single. day. (For those of you counting, or know the TDF, that’s a total of 2,000 miles.) She did this to raise money for the World Pediatric Project, which provides medical care to children in Central America and the Caribbean, aiming for a $150,000 goal. Running is not only the basis of so many of our workouts, it’s what motivates people, like Robin and Zoe, to get out there every day and accomplish BIG things.
However, if you’re just taking baby steps, and maybe like me, dreaming of a 100-mile race stays at that just that…that’s okay. There are plenty of ways to get into the sport or even spice up your daily runs with fun events like The Color Run or the Electric Run and even the Mudderella 10K.
Before picking up training again for my second marathon this Fall, I finally checked off the Happiest 5k on the Planet (The Color Run, as it’s otherwise known) on my bucket list and headed out to Brooklyn to have some fun. I really didn’t know what to expect as I entered the party zone (really, this race is one big party). But lining up for the race, which over two days 10,000 people came out to run, was surely the ideal way to kick-off what is going to become a long summer of logging miles. Here’s what I learned at my first Color Run:
1) It’s a family affair. Running really has become a way for families to bond. I saw so many parents with their small kids dressed up in white and ready to get blasted with paint. Some kiddies enjoyed the fun from their mom’s running stroller, and I constantly nudged my husband to remind him that when our time comes, we’d be taking our little ones along, too.
2) Paint is your friend. If you want to cross the finish line a different shade of color than the clean canvas you started with, tell your paint buddies at each mile marker to color you up! I really embraced the yellow, red, green and blue color stations—and secretly wished for a pink one. (Hint, hint.) I think I accomplished my goal of getting as messy as possible.
3) Every age, size, height and weight are welcome. This was really a race for all. I was inspired by all the people who came out to have a little fun and work up a sweat, too. Some runners may have taken the race a bit seriously and sprinted it out, while others had a good time jogging with their friends or even walking the entire way. Regardless, everyone there logged 3.1 miles with a big smile on their face.