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How Heart Disease Survivor Star Jones Stays In Shape

Written on February 7, 2012 at 12:51 pm , by

Star Jones opened up about her heart disease history at the Macy's Go Red event on Friday.

Two years ago, Star Jones woke up on an operating room bed after undergoing open heart surgery at ago 47. “They took my heart out, stopped it for 22 minutes and put it back in—although some people from the Celebrity Apprentice don’t think they did put it back!” Jones says.

The lawyer, author and TV correspondent co-hosted the National Go Red for Women Red Dress Dash on Friday at Macy’s in New York City with actress Elizabeth Banks and former Project Runway competitor and fashion stylist Nick Verreos. Jones, Banks and Verreos teamed up to increase awareness about the number one killer of women: heart disease. After the event, we caught up with Jones, who raised more than $160,000 for the American Heart Association (AHA) during her fifth place finish on last season’s Celebrity Apprentice, to get her top three tips for a heart-healthy lifestyle. You may want to take notes—wise lifestyle choices can reduce your heart disease risk by as much as 80 percent, according to the AHA!

  1. Eat your heart out. While Jones made big nutritional changes after her weight loss surgery in 2003, open heart surgery inspired her to clean up her diet even more. “I lowered my sodium intake and eat a high-protein diet,” Jones says. She avoids processed breads and sweets and now satisfies her bacon cravings with turkey rather then pork.
  2. Keep raising the bar. “Since my surgery, I gave up my sedentary lifestyle and do a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise each day. For 2012, my goal is to include at least three days a week of high-intensity cardio. Right now, I’m loving SoulCycle because I feel like I’m pushing my heart as much as possible, and I’m really pushing myself in every way,” Jones says. She found an instructor she loves, which makes attending class even more fun. “I feel good every time I walk in the door of the studio and every time I walk out,” she adds.
  3. Sneak in exercise. Rather than relying solely on the 45-minute group exercise class as the way to challenge her heart and burn calories, Jones builds fitness into her day. “I walk the 12 blocks to the SoulCycle studio before class and walk the 12 blocks back home after,” Jones says. “It’s like a built-in workout!”

To learn more about Go Red for Women and take your cardiac vital stats, click here.

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NYC Single Ladies: SoulSingles Ride at SoulCycle is Calling Your Name!

Written on February 2, 2012 at 2:34 pm , by

Listen up! New York City single ladies (and men!), this Valentine’s Day forget the pity party and revel in the reasons why New York City is truly the best place to be. We’ve all done it before at the gym, eyeing some stud-muffin from across the room between the lat pull-down machine, hoping he doesn’t catch your glances, but truly wishing he notices you too. Well, this hearts-and-kisses day (happening on Thursday February 16th at 7:30 pm), sign up for a class at our favorite spot, SoulCycle—and taking the next closest step to handing out your business card, use conveniently accessible paint pens to write your Twitter handle all over your hot bod. (This may mean sweating it out in your bare-minimum best so your lovely tag can be seen.) Then post-ride tweet your hearts out to the other single Soulers you liked in hopes of a hook up in your future. This genius class will be led by one of Us Weekly Magazine’s Most Stylish New Yorkers, SoulCycle instructor Laurie Cole. Things are bound to get extra steamy in SoulCycle’s first-ever find-your-SOULmate ride!

SoulCycle Master Instructor, Laurie Cole, is one hot Valentine! (Photo courtesy of SoulCycle)

If I wasn’t married, I’d probably be front and center (sorry babe!). The majority of women I talk to name getting hit on while at the gym as their biggest pet peeve, however, where else besides the best cardio-party in town would it be truly acceptable to meet your like-minded match? I’m totally loving this idea and think it just may be the new date-a-thon.

Sign-ups for this sure-to-be-a-blast SoulSingles ride are on Monday February 13th at noon, but hurry up ladies, spots are limited but sure to be hot; SoulSingle ride will take place on Thursday, February 16th at the Tribeca location. Never tried SoulCycle (what? are you crazy?), make this your first time (it’s sure to not be your last). I want to hear from anyone that attended–share your love story with me!

Don’t worry taken ladies and fellas, win your way to your significant others’ heart and buy him or her a SOULmate kit, which includes a pink or grey SoulCycle hoodie, bandana and 5 SoulCycle classes for only $200 (that’s a steal!). Pick up your kit online at soul-cycle.com or at all locations. (Someone send my hubby the memo!)

Golden Globes Time: My Fit-Favorites Are…

Written on January 13, 2012 at 11:54 am , by

In the spirit of award season and Sunday’s Golden Globes, here’s my list of fit-winners this year!

Workout Trend That’s Taking Over The World: SoulCycle

Spin on with SoulCycle! (Photo courtesy of SoulCycle)

The cult-following studio that’s been all the buzz this past year is the 6-year-old SoulCycle—the spinning sensation that rides to the beat of the music. With four studios in Manhattan, two in the Hamptons, another in Scarsdale, New York, and ones coming to Roslyn, Long Island and Greenwich, Connecticut, get ready for the spinning boutique of the century to take over the world, literally. Opening next month in West Hollywood, California—with locations following in Brentwood and beyond—this A-list favorite workout (Katie Holmes, Jake Gyllenhaal, Kelly Ripa and Alec Baldwin are all staples on the saddle) just keeps getting bigger..and better.

Get yourself some SOUL and go bling with this glamorous iPhone case. (Photo courtesy of SoulCycle)

Featuring over seven daily sessions in all locations, plus regular fun-themed rides—Britney Spears, Michael Jackson, even Twilight Breaking Dawn cycle-parties—this studio is not only a 500-plus calorie dropping workout, it’s the place. to. be. on any day of the week. (Where else is there a waiting list for 6 a.m. workouts?)The captivating playlists plus theatrical performances by instructors who push you through sprints, hill climbs and strengthen-until-you-fatigue dumbbell sessions makes SoulCycle the workout of the year.

Stay tuned for much more happenings, like the special launch of this month’s limited edition Swarvoski crystal (1,650 of them jewels) encrusted iPhone cases, designed by the Villency Design Group. Available at studio locations and soul-cycle.com, the $250 price tag won’t keep even the loyalist fans away. Can’t make it to a studio? Get some soul from the comfort of your very own home with the spring 2012 cheery yellow SoulCycle-branded spinning bike. See, what’d I tell you? This workout is taking over the world, and we’re totally, totally psyched about it.

Best Collaboration:Jillian Michaels & K-Swiss

Lace up with Jillian and K-Swiss for another amazing year! (Photo courtesy of K-Swiss)

The former Biggest Loser trainer and The Doctors contributor, teamed up with K-Swiss a year ago and since then she’s taken over everyone’s sweat-sessions through totally awesome K-Swiss sneakers, tanks, sweats and apparel that will make you look just like her (if only her abs came included). My favorites were the JM for K-Swiss tanks that read “Saddlebags Suck” (got lots of looks walking through Equinox with that one) and one with her famous mantra “Blow Your Body’s Mind”. With the start of the new year, resolutions, and post-holiday shape-ups comes the launch of Jillian and K-Swiss’ “The Party’s Over” ad campaign with Lady Foot Locker. (It’s one of those rare times we’ll see this little lady all glammed out like it’s time for the ball circa 1950.) TV’s favorite trainer may no longer grace us on Tuesday nights, but we can use her for motivation every time we lace up with the K-Swiss Blade-Max shoes. Check out K-Swiss and Lady Foot Locker’s Facebook pages for exclusive videos from Jillian—workout tips and more never stop coming from our pint-sized workout queen.

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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?

Categories: Fitness, Motivation, The Fit Stop | Tags:
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Music Monday: Sweating It Out a la Madonna

Written on October 10, 2011 at 10:21 am , by

Even the front desk was tricked out to pay tribute to Madonna. (Photo courtesy of SoulCycle)

Have you ever gone to a workout not really in the mood to sweat, but knowing it’s something you need to cross off your to-do list? That’s how I felt Tuesday when I headed to SoulCycle for my weekly spin session. I was excited because it was a themed ride, which are always fun, but after a less-than-stellar weekend, my head wasn’t in the game.

That all changed the moment I walked through the doors of the Union Square studio in New York City. The front desk was decorated with photos of Madonna and the staff was dressed in cute tanks that splashed her name across the front, long pearl necklaces and fingerless black gloves that instantly made me think of the star’s style. The first of many smiles spread across my face and I knew I was in for a wild ride.

MB taught this themed ride and boy, does she know how to get a crowd pumped up! We walked over to our bikes, only to realize we were all gifted with the same tank the staffers were wearing. Score! I instantly changed to channel my inner Material Girl.

A DJ was set up in the corner to keep our tunes flowing, one Madonna chart-topper playing after the next. MB took us through a killer workout, constantly varying between first, second and third positions, tap backs, hills and upper body strength work with light dumbbells. Sweat was dripping down my forearms and my tank was soaked halfway through the class, but the music and energy kept us all going strong!

In the end, we had a little dance party to just embrace the classic tunes of the marvelous musical icon. Everyone expressed themselves (pun intended) in their own unique way and left feeling empowered and invigorated. Not bad when I thought I was going to get a mediocre workout, huh? I should have known better. I never get a mediocre workout when I’m at SoulCycle.

For your Music Monday playlist filled with tunes from the Madonna ride,  Read more

Music Monday: Marathon Training Playlist

Written on September 5, 2011 at 11:38 am , by

TK (Photo courtesy of SoulCycle)

Me at Soul, loving the music, living the words. (Photo courtesy of SoulCycle)

Monday is notably the most dreaded day of the week for many people. It’s back to the grind, back to school and usually back to that perpetual “Monday I’ll start my diet” talk. However, I have a little secret up my sleeve that I’d like to share with you all. I always take a Monday evening spin class with my favorite instructor Rique Uresti at SoulCycle. His class always pushes me a lot harder than I would have wanted to work out—especially for a Monday. But then that’s why I love it. This class starts my week off on the right foot, with the right attitude about exercising and being healthy.

Since you all can’t be riding alongside with me, I wanted to share one of my favorite playlists from the man himself, which I use all week while training for my upcoming marathon. Thanks Rique!

Now tell us: What motivates you to work up a sweat when you have a severe case of “the Mondays?”

Music Monday: Soundtrack From SoulCycle’s Britney Spears Ride!

Written on August 15, 2011 at 1:06 pm , by

Clare, our instructor, giving us her very best Britney impersonation. (The class was actually quite a show!)

Clare, our instructor, giving her best Britney impersonation—the class was quite a show! (Photo courtesy of SoulCycle)

If you grew up in the ’90s (or even just lived through them!), then I bet you’re just as in love with Ms. Britney’s tunes as we are. Every song she belts out is like an ode to working out hard and sweating it all out. That’s why when my favorite studio hosted a Britney Spears-only class, I was first in line to saddle up on that bike.

Here’s the awesome playlist from SoulCycle instructor Clare Walsh, who’s also an actor and singer in New York City. The fast-paced beats and fun hooks kept us pedaling through the intense class!

Now tell us: If you could pick one artist’s music to help power you through a workout, which would it be?

Girl Power: Baring It All With a Sports Bra Challenge

Written on August 1, 2011 at 4:29 pm , by

Samantha (right) smiles and spins right before the big reveal. (Photo courtesy of SoulCycle)

Samantha, right, smiles and spins right before the big reveal. (Photo courtesy of SoulCycle)

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.

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Get Your Burn on at Barry’s Bootcamp!

Written on July 14, 2011 at 5:19 pm , by

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.

Run Run Run...getting ready for that 26.2 for November! (Photo courtesy of Barry's Bootcamp)

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:

Instructor Natalie Uhling showing off a killer compound move. (Photo courtesy of Natalie Uhling)

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.”

Victoria’s Secret, SoulCycle Spin for a Cancer Cure

Written on July 14, 2011 at 11:22 am , by

Supermodel Cycle VS Angels

The models pose while preparing to ride for a cause. (Photo courtesy of Full Picture PR)

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!