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The App We Can’t Wait For

Written on August 21, 2013 at 3:55 pm , by

Fitting in a workout, wherever you go? Yes, please. Photo by Jennifer Koplin.

Fitting in a workout, wherever you go? Yes, please. Photo by Jennifer Koplin.

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!

We Survived The Hunger Games!

Written on March 22, 2012 at 10:12 am , by

Instructors demonstrate the "Peeta Press" and "Katniss Killers." (Photo courtesy of My Sports Clubs)

I tried to resist The Hunger Games trend for months, but finally caved and quickly devoured all three books in a matter of weeks last summer. So as soon as I heard about the new Train Like A Tribute workout offered at My Sports Clubs, inspired by the soon-to-be released movie, I knew I wanted my name to be drawn! (Thank goodness this wasn’t the real games—fat cells were the only things being killed.)

After being assigned to district three, I entered the “arena” with about 10 other tributes. We did a quick warm-up, then prepared for the mad dash to the cornucopia filled with the tools necessary to complete the workouts (a mat, dumbbells and archery bow) as well as other helpful items like bottles of water and towels. From there, the trainers gave us a CrossFit-inspired workout that would improve our skills for the arena. Our goal: Finish the most rounds in the allotted time.

AMRAP (as many rounds/reps as possible) of the following moves:

Katniss Killers: Archery

  • Using a bow, take an archer’s stance with right foot staggered in front of left.
  • Pull back the bow until taut. Instead of releasing bow string, slowly return to start controlling the resistance.
  • Do 10 reps.
  • (You can sub in the Single Arm Row with Rotation from our other Hunger Games workout if you don’t have a bow handy.)

Capitol Crunches: Tree Climbing

  • Lying flat on your back with a 2.5- or 5-pound weight overhead and arms straight, use your core to lift your upper body to a seated position with arms overhead. Keep legs straight throughout the move.
  • Slowly lower back to starting position and repeat. Do 10 reps.

Jabber Jay Jacks: Speed/Agility

  • Perform a jumping jack, crossing right foot in front of left when you jump feet to the “in” position. During the next rep, jump left foot in front of right.
  • Continue performing jacks and alternating feet for 20 reps.

Peeta Presses: Strength

  • Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand, with elbows bent 90 degrees out at shoulder level, palms facing toward face.
  • Quickly press dumbbells directly overhead, arms extended, while rotating palms forward. Lower to start position. Do 10 reps

I was able to complete about eight rounds and finished just a few reps behind the victor. But whether our districts came is first or last, we experienced a great strength and cardio workout set to some very fun Hunger Games-themed music.

Want to try it yourself? The class is offered FREE to members and non-members until the end of April at the following My Sports Clubs locations:

  • New York: 86th Street and Lexington Avenue NYSC; Tuesdays at 12 p.m.
  • Philadelphia: Market Street PSC; Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.
  • Boston: Davis Square BSC; Thursday at 7 a.m.
  • Washington, D.C.: Chevy Chase WSC; Tuesday at 9:30 a.m.

Do You Exercise in the a.m.?

Written on June 7, 2011 at 10:25 am , by

Morning workouts...Do I have to? (Photo by Sara Forrest)

I’ll be honest: I am not a morning person. I’ll wake up bright and early and be on time for races, appointments and work, but not with the perky enthusiasm of a natural morning person. (Coffee! Stat!) This is why I choose to work out in the evening after work. The thought of going to the gym first thing in the morning is foreign to me. I couldn’t understand how you morning gym-goers do it!

When I looked at my calendar this week, however, I noticed that I had a lot of after-work events lined up and meetings throughout the day. Instead of ignoring my fitness for the week, I decided to suck it up and wake up before 6 a.m. for a workout before work. I expected to find lots of busy professionals at the gym, crowded locker rooms and no available machines or equipment.

Boy was I wrong! I hopped on the elliptical right away and had lots of space for free weight exercises and stretching after. Even showering and getting ready in the locker room was stress-free. And I made it to work early! Though I’m not sure if I’ll do all my workouts in the morning, I know now that post-work plans don’t have to get in the way of my fitness.

What about you guys? Are you a morning workouts person, or more of a nighttime exerciser like me?

The NFL’s Keep Gym in School Program Helps Kids Stay Fit

Written on May 23, 2011 at 11:11 am , by

PE Teacher of the Year Dana Griffith with Deion Sanders  (Jason DeCrow/AP Images for NFL Network)

PE Teacher of the Year Dana Griffith with Deion Sanders (Jason DeCrow/AP Images for NFL Network)

Football season may be over, but that doesn’t stop our favorite NFL players from being active for a good cause. Through the NFL Network’s Keep Gym in School program, physical education programs in local schools receive grants to provide better classes to students. So far, the program has awarded more than $500,000 to 45 schools nationwide.

This year, the NFL Network also named its first PE Teacher of the Year. The recipient is Dana Griffith, a middle school physical education and health teacher at Berkmar Middle School in Lilburn, Georgia. Ms. Griffith was given this award for her efforts in getting the whole community involved in their children’s fitness. We talked to Ms. Griffith and got tips to inspire everyone to be more active:

How do you keep phys ed in your school fun and engaging?

Students set their own fitness and sports goals which are measured against their own progress. We show them how to monitor their heart rates for they can practice what they learn in class wherever they are. My students voted to have a fitness center available where they can work out and play before and after class. It has a Wii, Playstation and other games so that they have fun while exercising. If it’s not fun, the kids won’t keep doing it.

Not everyone’s a fan of sports. How do you get your kids involved?

One of my favorite sports is Lacrosse, so that’s one of the sports we play. Unlike basketball or football, lacrosse is new to most students, so the playing field is even and no one feels left out.

How can parents keep kids active when they get home from school?

Fitness has to be a priority for the whole family. Check with your local Parks and Recreation Department to find free or low-cost activities that everyone can enjoy. You can also start healthy traditions, like playing a game of touch football after holiday dinners. We have a popular mother-daughter aerobics class at our fitness center where we offer nutrition and other fitness tips too.

What do you have in store for the next school year?

We want to add a track behind the school and open it up to the community and create running groups. My students also voted to add a climbing wall. I’ve noticed that young girls lack upper body strength even for their age group. Rock climbing is definitely more fun than doing push-ups. Every year we ask students for their feedback: what they like, what they want to change. This way, they feel more involved and in control of their fitness, too.

To learn more about the NFL Network’s Keep Gym in School Program, visit keepgyminschool.com. And find fun fitness activities for the whole family at NFLrush.com/play60.

Now tell us: How did your school PE experiences impact your fitness habits today?