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.
Unless you didn’t get the memo from the nearly-nationwide heat wave last week, it’s go time for getting flat, bikini abs. To the rescue: FITNESS is sharing the latest core science and lab-tested exercises in part three of our Body Lab series in the April issue (on newsstands now). And talk about total tummy transformations! Testers who did the workout three times a week and followed the 1,500-calorie-a-day diet lost up to three inches from their waistlines in four weeks!
Not only can you try the workout in the magazine, but you can also do it with the creator—and model—herself, instructor Chelsey Korus at YogaWorks studios in New York City. If you’ve read the article already, you know that it’s Korus’s perfectly chiseled six-pack which is featured throughout it. And the workout is definitely getting buzz—Korus tells us that a friend even spotted a copy of the April FITNESS at Barnes and Noble with her “Core Knowledge” story torn out. “I consider that the highest form of flattery,” she says.
Korus is now infusing each of her classes at YogaWorks in New York City with the ab moves, and is already seeing a difference in her students. “They’re asking for the tolasana [see photo above] in class so they can show me their progress!” If you’re in the NYC area, find her YogaWorks schedule here and take the challenge yourself. You can also sign up for the complete Flat Abs Fast plan at fitnessmagazine.com/core.
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!
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!)
If you listen to certain Debbie Downers, today is supposed to be the most depressing day of the year, aka Blue Monday. Why? Cardiff University experts say it’s a combination of the time since the holidays, weather, low motivation, debt (holiday bills…eek!) and recently failed resolutions.
One of the best ways to boost your mood: Exercise. “Many people would agree that they feel better—mentally and emotionally—after any workout, compared to when they started,” says Martica Heaner, Ph.D., a nutritionist, exercise physiologist and obesity researcher. “Plus there’s a psychological component. If you planned to fit in a run and actually made it happen, you can be proud that you successfully achieved a task.”
Heaner, a fitness instructor at New York Sports Clubs, designed a 50-minute cross-training class specifically designed to help you ditch the seasonal doldrums. The first 30 minutes of the “Lighten Up” class involves high-intensity cardio designed to release mood-enhancing neurotransmitters in participants’ brains. For the final 20, those in the class will catch their breath and destress with meditation and bright light therapy (which has been shown to help some regulate their sleep patterns). Individuals near a New York, Boston, Washington D.C. or Philadelphia Sports Club can take advantage of the class starting January 23 through mid-February. (For class schedules, visit mysportsclubs.com. And as a bonus, all My Sports Clubs locations are allowing members to bring a guest free today. That’ll lift your spirits!)
But if you can’t make it to a Lighten Up class, here are three other fit activities Heaner recommends to help you beat Blue Monday:
- A long run outside. The repetition helps you “reach a meditative state,” according to Heaner, and the fresh air and sunlight can perk you up.
- Zumba class. Fun, joyful movements and music lift your spirits.
- A yoga session. You can tune into your body, reflect mindfully and loosen up tight muscles.
“Your mood may be enhanced for different reasons for different activities, but what’s important is that you keep doing it,” Heaner says. “If you stop, the physiological and psychological benefits do as well.”
Now tell us: What’s your go-to mood booster?
Who doesn’t want a perkier butt? So when New York Sports Club invited us to try their new “Brazilian Carnival Butt Blast” class, we jumped (or should we say squat jumped!) at the chance. The workout is inspired by the intense preparations dancers do before Carnival, a three-day festival in February that is the biggest holiday of the year in Brazil. Our instructor, Sebastian Morel-Ferreira, informed us that the headpieces and costumes Carnival dancers wear can add more than 65 pounds to your frame, so some serious core and all-around strength work is a must!
Throughout the 45-minute class, freelance editorial assistant Samantha and I used step benches, weighted barbells and our somewhat rusty dance skills to try out a day in the life of a Carnival queen. We began and wrapped up our routine with a Zumba-style dance, and hit the weights hard during the workout, doing moves like a weighted lunge with our back leg elevated on the step for one-minute intervals. But our favorite moves were near the end when we grabbed a mat and really targeted our hips, thighs and butt.
Here are two of our favorite moves that you can try at home, modeled by Samantha herself!
- Rainbow (Top row of pictures): On hands and knees, extend one leg straight behind you with toe pointed. Slowly draw an upside down “U” (or rainbow) shape with the pointed toe, stopping right before your foot hits the floor. Repeat motion to return to starting position, continue for one minute.
- Fire Hydrant (Bottom row of pictures): On hands and knees, extend one leg straight behind you with toe pointed. Pull the knee of that leg toward your elbow (you should feel your hips and obliques working here too). Hold for one count and extend leg back out. Continue for one minute.
The class will be offered exclusively at the Rockefeller Center NYSC location through this fall. Visit mysportsclub.com for more information.
Written by Alexa Cortese, web intern
Dance. For some, the word evokes memories of tutus and dreams of being a ballerina as a young girl. For others, it is an expression of self, a way of life or a fun way to get in shape. In fact, it can be all the above! Dance is a great way to have fun while exercising, to learn new things, and to challenge yourself.
Not the graceful type? Not to worry. There are many forms of dance besides ballet, and a lot of the dance fitness classes that are offered at gyms across the country even combine culture and aerobics with dance to provide a unique and interesting approach at fitness! We spoke to Andrea Rogers, creator of Xtend Barre: Lean and Chiseled, and Kimberly Miguel Mullen, star and creator of Dance and Be Fit: Carnaval Workout for more information about five of the most popular methods.
Though the exact origin of belly dancing is unknown, it has been around in Middle Eastern countries for centuries. It’s low-impact, but still will challenge you aerobically. Belly dancing is great for posture, flexibility and your Shakira-style dance game! Plus, “hip exercises aid to relieve PMS and help in preparing for child birth and post-natal rehabilitation for rebuilding abdominal muscles,” adds Miguel Mullen. “Even though the movements are small and isolated, you will work your core muscles differently than you are used to so you will feel it the next day.”
Zumba is a form of dance that is influenced by a combination of many Latin dance styles (think flamenco, meringue and salsa combined with aerobics). It first came to be known in its current form in 1986, when Alberto “Beto” Perez held the first Zumba fitness class in Columbia. These classes became increasingly popular, and came to the United States in 1999. “Zumba introduces a variety of movement that requires a level of coordination of rarely accessed core muscle groups which forces the body to work harder and burn more calories,” Miguel Mullen says. Zumba is designed to keep your heart rate up and improve your strength, stamina, and coordination. And most importantly for long-term success: It’s fun!
To learn more about barre, Pilates and hip-hop workouts, click below.
When I first started taking group fitness classes, I used to gravitate towards yoga and Pilates workouts. I’ve learned to switch things up since then, but I’ve definitely gotten used to the Zen attitudes of lots of yoga and Pilates instructors. So yesterday, when my friend and I took an abs class with a new instructor, we received a shock. Instead of a smiling, petite woman in spandex, we were greeted by a barking drill sergeant-like male trainer.
The 30-minute class consisted of jumping jacks, mat exercises, more jumping jacks, squats with twists, push-ups, planks, and yup, more jumping jacks. Our trainer walked around the room to make sure everyone was doing the proper exercise but also to push us to keep going. This guy was not going to accept my “This is too hard—time for a break!” cop out. A part of me wanted to know if those 30 minutes were over yet, but I was too busy going from one exercise to the next to even look at the clock, and before I knew it class was over. Phew!
I’ll admit, having more pressure made me push myself harder (and having someone nearly twice my size hovering over me helps, too). And it also made me curious how I’d fare in a real boot camp. Have you tried boot camp workouts? Or do you prefer more relaxed classes with laid-back instructors?