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I admit it: One of my biggest fears has always been working out in only a sports bra. Even in the locker room, I often head to a private bathroom before hitting the showers, or I throw a towel around me as quickly as possible. There’s just something intimidating about letting everything remain open to the public, free to be judged. Because no matter how hard you work, sometimes insecurity creeps in and clouds your mind.
Turns out I’m not the only one who feels this way. Jenny Gaither, a rockin’ spin instructor at SoulCycle, voiced the very same fears. To overcome this mental obstacle, she announced that she would host a Sports Bra Challenge in which all riders would wear only their sports bra for the duration of her spin class on Friday.
I was sold the second I heard about it. What better way to overcome my fear than to do it with a big group of ladies working their butts off (literally) in a sweaty spin class? Oh yeah, by enlisting the help of Biggest Loser season 11 winner Olivia Ward and her sister, runner-up Hannah Curlee. The two jumped on board immediately, blogging and tweeting about it all over the Internet. Talk about inspiration!
How did the class turn out? Continue reading for all of the details.
We’re midway through summer, but that doesn’t mean you should forgo the workouts for lazy days on the beach (or sleeping in on weekends)—keep up the hard work you’ve been putting into your body and try something new! This morning I was sweating it out at the infamous Barry’s Bootcamp in New York City, arriving straight from sunny California just two months ago, and it was just the butt-kicking I needed to get my booty in gear for my upcoming marathon training. With Monday’s first day to check off my marathon training plan, I really needed to give myself that budge to get my running back on track.
I’ve been on a steady, and totally desirable plan, of thrice-weekly SoulCycle classes, and due to the intensity of this style of Spinning (and awesome instructors who push you to limits you didn’t know you had), I found that I’ve picked things up a couple of notches on the treadmill. All that huffing and puffing and pushing myself over the “hill” during Soul classes has really increased my VO2 max and helped me go from a 6.2 treadmill sprint to an 8.5! Thanks Soul-sistas!
What I wasn’t ready for when I came to Barry’s (but welcomed with sweaty arms),was the butt-kicking intervals of what they call treadmill “treads” followed by the strength-training routine for my back and shoulder muscles. When I hit the gym by myself, this is something that I normally do (20 minutes of high-intensity sprints on the treadmill, followed by a date with the dumbbells)—however, my body was not prepared to do this no-nonsense routine twice in one hour. The class started off with 15-minutes of incline runs and uber fast-paced sprints, followed by a 15-minute routine on the floor (we did Around-The-Worlds, Car Drivers, Arm Circles, and lots of on-the-mat core work). We then repeated the run/strength circuit again.
Whew…call me defeated once class came to an end! But what an awesome way to get back on that treadmill, with a nice mix of weight-training moves too. Between Spinning, boot camping, and overall intense workouts, I hoping to kill it on my first full marathon course come November.
I took some interns along and here’s what they had to say:
Samantha Shelton, 21: “It was definitely a tough class but I loved it! I was sweating within the first five minutes and really felt the burn with every move. I’ve never done reverse flies or cranked the treadmill up to that high speed before, so it was intense. The great music, hard-core instructor and pulsating energy definitely kept motivating me to work hard!”
Danielle Paquette, 22: “Barry’s was such a challenge for a yoga girl like me, but the intensity of the class really pushed me harder than I’ve ever gone. There’s nothing like sweating to great dance tunes to get in the zone—I felt like I could take on the world after the session ended! The enthusiastic regulars really made me want to try to keep up with them. I’ll be back to improve my treadmill sprint speed.”
Ever wonder what it would be like to exercise with a Victoria’s Secret Angel? Sixty people found out July 12, when they bought a ticket to participate in SoulCycle’s Supermodel Cycle charity ride!
Victoria’s Secret paired up with SoulCycle Tribeca to raise money for Pelotonia, a non-profit organization dedicated to eliminating cancer. All of the money raised went directly to Pelotonia, which donates all of its proceeds to cancer research at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center — Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute.
So which Angels showed up? Allesandra Ambrosio, Candice Swanepoel, Lily Aldridge, Erin Heatherton and Lindsay Ellington arrived in matching workout gear, looking as cute as ever. Instructors Clare Walsh and Melanie Griffith led everyone through a sweat-tastic workout, and they still managed to look good after!
There was a mix of male and female participants, but most of the riders were male (go figure), says Gabby Etrog Cohen, director of public relations and marketing at SoulCycle. “There was a lot of fesitivity in the air and so much excitement about beating this disease,” she says. “It really was a fabulous event.”
How did people score this sweet deal? They had to pay a pretty penny, that’s for sure. All riders selected a level of participation, each with its own price tag: bronze was $1,000, gold was $2,000 and platinum was $2,500. All seats sold except for one platinum! Riders were also able to bid on special goodies, including a photo-op with one of the Angels and a pair of those famous angel wings. Who wouldn’t want to rock that look?!
By the end of the night, the event raised $102,000. Victoria’s Secret then pledged to match that amount, so overall more than $200,000 was donated to Pelotonia.
If you’re itching to participate in a philanthropic spin, SoulCycle has another charity ride on July 30—this time in East Hampton, to benefit the Tory Burch Foundation. You can visit the event site for more information and to sign up!
Now tell us: Are you sweating for a good cause this summer? If so, share your stories in the comments!
Everyone here at FITNESS seems to have their own workout regimen that helps them stay fit during the summer. Whether it’s taking classes at SoulCycle like our fitness editor Jenna does, trying a trampoline class like Karla our editorial assistant, or doing yoga in the park with the lovelies over at Lululemon, it’s important to do what makes you feel good—and of course, look good.
My personal favorite way to exercise is to hit the streets and go for a run. Since I ran my first half-marathon in April, I have been addicted to the sport and can’t wait to run the Philadelphia Half in November! But for the fashion team, hitting the gym hard (like Melissa does) or going for a jog (like Argy and I do) means more than just burning calories and getting our endorphins flowing. We exercise so that we can look good in all of the season’s latest fashions!
Here are some of our favorite summer workout pieces that we wear so that we can look amazing in the gym—then out for a night on the town.
Run (clockwise from top): Champion bra, $40, championusa.com. Skull Candy earbuds, $50, skullcandy.com. Camelbak water bottle, $30, camelbak.com. Saucony sneakers, $90, saucony.com. Adidas by Stella McCartney shorts,$75, shopadidas.com. Helly Hansen tank, $40, hellyhansen.com.
Play (clockwise from top): Mosley Tribes sunglasses, $180, mosleytribes.com. Marc by Marc Jacobs dress, $280, net-a-porter.com. Lanvin shoes, $417, net-a-porter.com. Dannijo bracelet, $488, dannijo.com. Asos clutch,$78, asos.com. Essie nail polish,$8, essie.com.
Now tell us: Does fashion (especially the skin-baring styles of summer!) inspire you to stay in shape?
Dinner was the main event in Katie Lee’s home as she grew up. Starting at age four, Katie learned to cook from her Grandma Dora and her love of food only grew—she’s now the author of two comfort food cookbooks, is The Early Show‘s contributor on all things food and even hosted the first season of Top Chef.
But when Katie stumbled upon hard times, she decided to take up a new sport: surfing. The experience (she researched while surfing in Mexico) helped to inspire her first novel, Groundswell, which was released today! We spoke with Katie to learn about her new hobby and how she stays so fit while around so many tempting treats.
How did you make the transition from chef to novelist?
I have wanted to write a novel for years, but I never could find the right story to inspire me. I tried so many times, but I always thought the story had to involve food and I just couldn’t get it right. I guess writing is kind of like love: If you’re looking for it, you’ll never find it. It’s when you least expect it that it sweeps you off your feet.
What inspired you to begin surfing?
I was going through a rough time in my personal life and wanted to try something completely out of character to “get out of my head.” I was always enamored with the ocean, but terrified of it at the same time. One day, I was on the beach watching the surfers and thought I’d give it a shot. I signed up for lessons and went to my local surf camp.
What have you learned about yourself from the sport?
I’ve never been particularly athletic or good at sports, so I was really surprised that I was able to surf! I’m by no means a great surfer, but I love it and the mind-body connection I experience while surfing. It gave me a new sense of confidence and achievement.
Besides surfing, how do you stay in shape?
I exercise about six days a week. I live to eat, rather than eat to live, so I have to really work out hard! I do Core Fusion, SoulCycle, yoga and run on my treadmill.
Do you watch what you eat?
I do, but don’t count calories. I try to eat a mostly plant-based diet, making my plate 70 percent vegetables and 30 percent protein. During the week, I don’t eat sugar and save my indulgences for the weekend.
Since we couldn’t talk with the Southern food connoisseur without asking for a meal suggestion, click below for one of Katie’s favorite crowd-pleasing recipes!
I’m off to a very beachy, sporty and sure-to-be fabulous Hawaii vacation on Friday! It’s also my long-awaited honeymoon (we got married in February!)—so I’m counting down the minutes until we’re in paradise. I’ll surely miss my SoulCycle classes, hot yoga sessions and runs, but I’ll definitely be getting my burn on even while I’m away! Our agenda includes learning how to surf, going for hikes, cliff jumping, ziplining through the forest (I’ll need lots of upper body strength for that!) and running on the gorgeous beaches of Kauai and Maui.
Like all vacations, packing the right stuff is crucial—especially with weight limits and extra fees for luggage.You really have to think about what you’re putting into those bags! Here’s my packing list that will guarantee that I’m well suited for any occasion:
When I’m learning how to surf at the Ty Gurney Surf School in Oahu, I’ll need the right bikini that will stay in place when I get hit by waves. O’Neill has introduced their newest style, which offers twice as much stay-put protection as the standard bikini. When I first tried on this suit, it felt and looked the same as any of my other bathing suits, except the interior fabric is extra soft and made with a material called Nanofront (which will stick to me when it gets wet). I’m psyched to wear it when I try to ride those waves!
The Ty Gurney Surf School specializes in individualized lessons catered to your surfing needs, and they’ll have their work cut out for them with me! I’m scared, frightened and totally nervous to try this sport. Surfing is one of those bucket list dreams for me, something I’ve always wanted to do, but I’ve put it off because I’m pretty scared of big waves and the possibility of playing with sharks. Yes, I love scuba diving and have enjoyed this many times so I don’t know where my fear of surfing comes from. But I’m ready to tackle this challenge and cross it off of my list! When you’re in Hawaii, I thinksurfing is something you have to try. And since pro Ty Gurney himself will be teaching me how to do it, I’m feeling more confident about this. He’s been surfing as long as he could read and even won a major championship on Hawaii’s North Shore when he was seven! I’d say I’ll be in good hands. (Check back in a few weeks for an update on how I did!)
- For more luggage musts, Read more
I’ve been hit by the love bug—for all things SoulCycle! You’ve read about my dedication to the spinning sensation before. From their adorable apparel (see my favorite sweatshirt in this delicious neon pink color!), to the opening of their summer Hamptons studios (I’ll be heading out east to take a class before I hit the beach for Memorial Day weekend!), to instructor MB’s ridiculously awesome hip-hop playlist—which I’m sharing with you now! I just can’t get enough of this high-intensity 45-minute cardio blast, which also includes some high-rep/light-weight dumbbell moves. I feel excited for class, empowered during it, and full of energy afterward for hours—and even days! So what’s not to love? Finding a workout that you enjoy and look forward to is the key to sticking with it. I even hear Biggest Loser‘s new winner, Olivia Ward, is a fan too!
If you haven’t checked out SoulCycle yet and you’re near a studio (word on the street is that with Equinox’s help SoulCycle will be opening new locations in many more cities!), it’s definitely worth the price tag: each class costs about $32. It’ll make you fall in love with working hard and pushing yourself past your limits—or what you think your limits are. I overhead someone in class say, “That’s like cutting out my daily Starbucks latte and bringing bagged lunch twice a week,” in order to attend her weekly pump-it-up class. And I agree! Make sacrifices (giving up Starbucks and eating out is easy) for the things that make you a better, fitter person.
Here’s my new favorite list of tunes from the crew over at SoulCycle, sure to make Memorial Day weekend awesome!
- “Change the World (Main Mix),” Dennis Ferrer
- “Money In the Bank,” Swizz Beatz
- “Toma,” Pitbull & Lil Jon
- “Pop Your Balloon,” Beastie Boys
- “Drum Breaks,” Tittsworth & Ayres
- “Concentrate,” Xzibit
- “Love & Happiness (Yemeya y Ochun),” River Ocean feat. India
- “Voices (Copyright Mix),” One Track Minds
- “Live Your Life,” Erick Morillo and Eddie Thoneick feat. Shawnee Taylor
- “What More Can They Do,” Laura Izibor
Before you do anything else, start your week off on a high note by downloading this ridiculously awesome new playlist from my favorite crew at SoulCycle. Last week they hosted an Eminem-themed class with some of the artist’s best tunes to rock out to. I’m saddened that I missed this one (fitness fanatic Kelly Ripa even showed up!), because Mr. Eminem is my go-to guy for the songs to keep me moving up that hill during a hard run or the blast-it-all-out beat I turn to when I need to get through the last few minutes of my workout. But I have a suspicion that this Eminem-only class won’t be SoulCycle’s one and only. For now, I’m downloading these songs for my playlist this week—and beyond!
- “My Name is Back in Black,” Eminem vs. ACDC mashup
- “W.T.P.,” Eminem (Recovery, Deluxe Edition)
- “Cleaning Out My Closet,” Eminem (The Eminem Show)
- “Rabbit Run,” Eminem (8 Mile)
- “Fairytale Without Me,” Eminem vs. Alexander Rybak mashup
- “‘Till I Collapse,” Eminem & Nate Dogg (The Eminem Show)
- “Crazy In Love,” Eminem (Encore, Deluxe Edition)
- “Love the Way You Lie,” Eminem feat. Rihanna (Recovery, Deluxe Edition)
- “Cry Me a Superman,” Eminem vs. Justin Timberlake mashup
- “Shake That (Remix),” Bobby Creekwater, Eminem, Nate Dogg & Obie Trice (Eminem Presents the Re-Up, Bonus Track Version)
- “Lose Yourself,” Eminem (Curtain Call-The Hits, Deluxe Edition)
- “Stan,” Eminem feat. Dido (The Marshall Mathers LP)
Now tell us: What artist is a mainstay on your workout playlists?
In honor of the big royal wedding weekend, we asked SoulCycle instructor Jenny Gaither to create a party song playlist exclusively for FITNESS! Add these to your iPod today for some major motivation in the gym.
My personal favorite? “Dog Days Are Over,” an ideal song for interval training, which is a mainstay (on repeat) on my playlists lately. Test it out and tell me what you think!
- “Devil Wouldn’t Recognize You,” Madonna
- “Judas,” Lady Gaga
- “This Is the Remix,” Girl Talk
- “How Come You Don’t Call Me (Live),” Alicia Keys
- “Run the World (Girls) [Single Version],” Beyonce
- “Monster,” Kanye West, Jay-Z, Rick Ross, Nicki Minaj and Bon Iver
- “Big Jet Plane,” Angus and Julia Stone
- “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough (Gigamesh Remix),” Michael Jackson
- “Dog Days Are Over,” Florence + The Machine
Now tell us: What song on your workout playlist puts you in a celebratory mood?
I’ve recently become obsessed with SoulCycle, so now I understand all the hype that Kelly Ripa boasts about on Good Morning America on a daily basis (I’d love to see her there one day!). If you don’t know, a SoulCycle class is like a Spinning session inside of a hip club—low lights, great energy and the best music to match it. I took a class Saturday evening with an instructor I’m hoping to follow all around town. I think he has the ability to get my body in prime bikini form.
If you can’t rock out at SoulCycle, you should rock out to this awesome playlist from instructor Rique Uresti:
- “Magical World” by Bassnectar feat. Nelly Furtado
- “Crave You” (Cassian Remix) by Flight Facilities feat. Giselle
- “Clap Your Hands” by Sia
- “This Town” (Morgan Page Unreleased Remix 2007) by Frank Sinatra
- “I Belong To You” by Lenny Kravitz
- “Yeah Yeah” (D. Ramirez Vocal Club Remix) by Bodyrox feat. Luciana
- “Dog Days Are Over” by Florence & The Machine
- “Now We Are Free” (Soundtrack from Gladiator) by Hans Zimmer & Lisa Gerrard
- “F**kin’ Perfect” (Greatest Hits…So Far!!!) by Pink
Do you ever need help putting together a playlist from the songs you already have? Try this awesome new tool I’ve discovered from MixMeister, a DJ software system, that will automatically mix you songs that go well together from your existing music library! This software is so cool because it calculates how best to mix from one song to the next to match your desired slow or fast tempo that you hope to follow on your next run. Check it out at MixMeister.com and choose MixMeister Express 7 for the newest version (what’s new you ask? It’ll add sound effects to your favorite songs to spice things up a bit!). Although this software is $70 I think it’s definitely worth it if you’re always looking to switch things up without having to purchase new music. Be your own DJ!
What are your favorite songs for spinning?