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We Tried It: JumpLife Gym

Written on April 10, 2014 at 5:47 pm , by

Written by Jordan Clifford, editorial intern

What it is: A body-rocking trampoline fitness class.

Good for: Anyone, from beginners to professional athletes. The trampolines offer a low impact workout that uses the resistance and rebound motion from the trampoline to help tone and tighten your body.

Where you go: Tribeca, New York City

How it works: JumpLife offers four different trampoline-based classes: JumpDANCE, JumpGYM, JumpFUSION and for the youngins, JumpKIDZ. You can check the schedule and sign up for classes online.  Once you’re there, hop on your own personal trampoline and get ready to sweat to the beat of some rocking tunes.

What you need: Form-fitting clothing, cross-training kicks and plenty of water. Avoid wearing anything too baggy or long pants—we love capris for this workout—so you don’t trip on a hem or um, flash anyone mid-jump.

What it costs: First-timers score a deal at $18; after that a session costs $28. If you decide to make it a go-to, consider opting for one of their packages, available in 5, 10, 20, 30 and 50-class packs. Check out more details here.

What we think: This class was a blast from the past—seriously my inner child was out in all her glory! Before hopping (pun intended) into sweat-mode, I popped SKEnergy’s Berry-flavored energy shot—which is made from green tea and green coffee beans with all natural flavors—to get the kick I needed for this early morning workout. After that, it was all smiles, even as I began to feel the burn. But before you start thinking just how high those little trampolines will get you, let me stop you. This class isn’t like bounding on a massive, springy backyard trampoline; it’s all about staying grounded and using your core and legs to jump down into the rebound of the trampoline verses up into the air. It’s killer on your glutes and thighs and when our trainer, Terrell Pruitt, had us add in some light weights, it was a great upper body workout too.

Want us to get the scoop on another workout? Post a comment and let us know and you may see it in a future We Tried It!

More Workouts We’ve Tried:

DailyBurn’s Inferno HR 

Doonya Fitness Party 

NYRR’s Empire State Building Run-Up 

We Tried It: DailyBurn’s Inferno HR

Written on April 9, 2014 at 9:36 am , by

What it is: The first interval heart rate zone workout series released by the online streaming video service, DailyBurn.

Good for: All levels. The trainer, Anja Garcia, did a great job of providing modifications for beginner and more advanced athletes.

Where you go: Anywhere your heart desires. Download the service and stream onto your phone, TV or iPad. So, it’s obviously great for those who travel a lot or tend to avoid gym settings.

How it works: Simply sync your iOS device with a heart rate monitor, cue up DailyBurn and follow the Inferno HR workout program. As you sweat, DailyBurn streams your heart rate info onto the screen so you get a better understanding of heart rate zones and how to burn the most calories in a short amount of time. Want a basic rundown of working with a heart rate monitor? Check out this article first.

What you need: It depends on the workout you select within the Inferno HR program, but I recommend having a set of dumbbells and a yoga mat handy. You’ll also need a Bluetooth-enabled heart rate monitor (try this one), your sneakers and the urge to sweat.

What it costs: $10 per month for access to all of DailyBurn’s workout programs, available 24/7. With NYC classes averaging $25-$35 a class, this is a total steal.

What we think: For the price, I’m totally on board with this program. Anja’s energy is infectious and she pushed me to my max, helping me focus on staying within the proper heart rate zones when I wanted to go balls to the wall and sky rocket out of ‘em (fun fact: that’s not really the most effective way to train). I enjoyed the variety of exercises—we did everything from jumping lunges to Turkish getups—and after a mere 25 minutes, I had a healthy puddle of sweat beneath me. I’d call it a success.

What to watch out for: Make sure you have the heart rate monitor on correctly. When I first got hooked up, my data displayed me in zone 3—picture heavy breathing and lots of intense movement—when in fact I had only walked about five paces to say hi to a friend. To get set up properly, spritz the sensors on the back of the chest strap with water and make sure the monitor is in direct contact with your skin (translation, ladies: make sure it’s not over your sports bra band). Position it snugly around your ribcage and you should be good to go. To extend the battery life, be sure to detach the sensor and lightly rinse after each use.

Curious about a workout? Let us know in the comments and we may put it to the test for a future We Tried It!

More Workouts We’ve Tried: 

Doonya Fitness Party

NYRR’s Empire State Building Run-Up

SUMMIT at Exceed Physical Culture

 

We Tried It: Doonya Fitness Party

Written on March 6, 2014 at 6:11 pm , by

Written by Jordan Clifford, editorial intern

If you think Zumba is fun, you’ve got to try Doonya. This Bollywood-inspired dance workout made me sweat – and smile – a crazy amount (smiling has to burn a certain number of cals, right?).  And when you feel like it’s one big party, like I did last week when I attended their first-ever fitness dance party, the culturally-inspired moves will have you grooving like it’s your job.

Co-founded by Priya Pandya and Kajal Desai in 2011, Doonya (which means “world” in Hindi/Urdu) is a cardio and strength-building fitness class matched to the beats of the latest Bollywood-inspired music. It’s totally taking the fitness world by storm, and got its first big push into the spotlight back in 2008 thanks to the hit song “Jai Ho” in Slumdog Millionaire. My class was two hours long – definitely plenty of time to get a hefty burn in – but I consider that a consolation prize (not a bad one, mind you) because it was So. Much. Fun.

On my way into class, admittedly, I was a little nervous. I grew up taking dance classes, so I knew I was coordinated enough. I’d also taken my fair share of Zumba classes, meaning I’m pretty familiar with dancing for fitness, rather than style and grace. But I had never taken on something quite like this. It wasn’t a genre I was at all familiar with. I didn’t know if I was going to be able to catch on quick enough or if I was about to make a complete fool of myself.

But as I joined about 40 other Doonya-goers at DANY Studios in downtown New York City for an all-out dance-a-thon, I realized it was just about having fun and getting fit. We started off with a quick warm-up to get our heart rates going and then the dancing began. Bollywood dance features a lot of high-energy movements. It’s not just leg lifts and shoulder twists, but hand gestures and arm movements too. You’re working your core, arms and quads, all at the same time. It’s a great way to get a full body workout and have some fun. Don’t get me wrong, I love hitting the gym as much as the next fitness fanatic, but sometimes it can get old. It’s nice to switch it up with a fitness class like Zumba, and now Doonya, too!

Interested in trying it out yourself? They have classes in New York, Washington D.C. and Houston. They’ve also held events in Los Angeles and hope to head over to India in the near future. Keep your eye out!

Photo courtesy of Al Chan.

More from FITNESS:

We Tried It: NYRR’s Empire State Building Run-Up

We Tried It: Equinox’s Flow Play

We Tried It: Reaching the SUMMIT at Exceed Physical Culture

We Tried It: NYRR’s Empire State Building Run-Up

Written on February 13, 2014 at 6:29 pm , by

It’s mid-February, and I don’t know about you, but this girl is ready for a new challenge. The New Year’s resolution hype has all but died, winter is burying us East Coasters under piles of snow, and stir-crazy frenzies are settling in. So what’s a girl to do?

Enter New York Road Runners Empire State Building Run-Up. What’s that, you ask? Simple: run into the narrow stairwells of New York’s most iconic building, and get your butt up those 86 floors as fast as humanly possible. Easy enough, right? Heh.

After running 10 half-marathons, I decided to take on the challenge because there’s nothing like climbing stairs to get out of my distance-running comfort zone. After all, I live in New York City and, even though I can run 13.1 miles with relative ease (relative being the key word here), just getting to the top of the subway stairs can rob me of breath from time to time.

While I was fortunate enough to have words of advice from those who have run before me (our fitness editor, Jenna, climbed that stairwell in 2013!), I did my research. If this girl – you know, the one who avoids the stairmaster, lives on the first floor of a building and takes the elevator to the 25th floor of her office – was going to survive, I had to at least have my head in the game. And I’m proud to say that I made it to the top of New York’s most iconic building in just over 23 minutes. While I certainly wasn’t the fastest out there (seriously, some were finishing sub-10 – crazy!), I put my whole effort into it. Here’s what I learned along the way – hopefully it’ll inspire you to step (see what I did there?) outside your comfort zone. Maybe not 1,576 steps worth of discomfort, but if you skip the elevator just once, then I’ll consider my job done.

Chew gum and suck on cough drops. This tip from associate beauty editor, Molly, saved me. Chewing gum prevents your ears from popping as you quickly ascend to the top, thus increasing your elevation. The cough drops keep your mouth moist in an otherwise-dry environment. Remember, you’re in a small, dusty stairwell that doesn’t get a lot of use on the reg, so there isn’t a ton of air flow. Both helped me keep up a fast (for me) pace.

Mix up your movement. When sprinting so many stairs, your body quickly switches from an aerobic state over to an anaerobic state, and lactic acid starts to build in your muscles when you pass your anaerobic threshold. To keep pain at bay (and your legs moving), alternate how you get up those stairs. In the beginning, everyone’s in a mad dash, so a moderate sprint will keep you in the group without tuckering you out too quickly. After about eight flights of that, I switched between running up every single step and every other to ensure I was using different muscles.

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We Tried it: Reaching the SUMMIT at Exceed Physical Culture

Written on November 20, 2013 at 9:06 am , by

Push it to the limit! Thanks to Exceed, I was sore for days! (Photo courtesy of Exceed Physical Culture)

Written by Alena Hall, editorial intern

Upper East Side boutique fitness studio Exceed Physical Culture has received a lot of buzz for its butt-kicking abilities this year, so I couldn’t help but jump at the opportunity to see what all the hype was about. And after taking the studio’s signature SUMMIT class, I have to admit—I totally get it.

You know how they say a performer really works the stage? Well James, our trainer for the morning, really worked us around the studio. From jumping rope and swinging kettlebells to cycling through high-intensity workout stations, I never quite figured out where to stash my water bottle! The room kept moving, the music kept playing and we kept working.

The clean, industrial feel of the space helped us all focus that much more on the burn we wanted to feel. We aimed to complete as many reps of each exercise as possible—sometimes for 30 seconds, other times until James decided to have us try another move. Integrating medicine balls, BOSU balls and bodyweight strength training, this strength-cardio combo workout offered true variety. And with James, there was no lack of encouraging words and reminders of how strong we all are.

Most classes max out at 20 people, creating a motivating and competitive environment that pushes each athlete to really go all in. Our class, which was about a third of that size, felt more like a small-group training session full of intensity and drive to squeeze in every last rep. We worked hard and non-stop for 50 minutes and as exhausted as my body felt when it was all over, I couldn’t believe that much time had gone by. I guess it just goes to show what can happen when you constantly focus on a task that never stops changing.

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We Tried It: Lacey Stone’s SWEAT Week NY Outdoor Boot Camp

Written on November 12, 2013 at 2:21 pm , by

All smiles from start to finish. Now that’s a workout!

Written by Alena Hall, editorial intern

Last month, I headed over to the Astro Turf Pier on the West Side just before sunrise to meet up with celebrity trainer Lacey Stone. Her neon orange sweatpants glowed against the green field filled with her local followers ready for another day of her SWEAT Week NY outdoor boot camp. The hour-long leg and butt workout began promptly at 6:30 a.m. when she blew the whistle hanging around her neck. What a way to start your day!

Stone’s training persona was even more vibrant than her workout apparel, barking orders all the while joking excitedly and sharing quite a few cheesy puns with the group. I laughed more than I winced through her tough routine, something I had yet to experience in any other group fitness setting. Combining just the right amount of high intensity cardio moves and bodyweight strength training, Stone’s contagious enthusiasm motivated the entire group through non-stop exercises.

The early bird boot camp utilized all of the surrounding elements of the park: the cement side walls served as plyometric boxes, the poles lining the turf field marked each leg of suicide runs, and the pier itself served as a timed running loop on which we raced one another. Toward the end of the hour, as we started losing steam, Stone grouped us into teams to instill a fun sense of competition that made everyone give it their all.

Stone’s no-frills approach to fitness made each participant leave excuses at home and commit to the butt-blasting workout—and it worked! It’s always interesting to see how using back-to-basic moves in a unique outdoor space can make such a difference. Plus, few workouts can beat getting your butt kicked by the hilarious Lacey Stone as the sun rises over the Hudson River around you.

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We Tried It: Michelle Bridges’ 12 Week Body Transformation

Written on October 29, 2013 at 10:09 am , by

All smiles during a sweatfest? That’s Michelle Bridges for you! (Photo courtesy of Michelle Bridges’ 12 Week Body Transformation)

Written by Alena Hall, editorial intern

Michelle Bridges means business. In addition to appearing on television and authoring eight health and fitness books, The Biggest Loser: Australia star trainer has helped people across the globe lose a collective 1.6 million pounds with her online weight loss program 12 Week Body Transformation. With the program’s United States launch approaching in January 2014, we just had to try this Aussie’s at-home workout. The FITNESS verdict? Two thumbs up.

We met up with Bridges during her recent visit to New York City for a fat-blasting, 30-minute interval-training session, and man did we break a sweat! Her one-step-at-a-time weight loss strategy resonated in her workout design, which broke the routine down into 5-minute intervals. Within each interval, we pushed through 10 different exercises for 30 seconds at a time, earning one minute of much-needed rest before starting again.

Incorporating cardio and total body strength-training moves, the workout utilized pure bodyweight training to target every single muscle. The intervals also alternated the dominant muscle groups every 30 seconds to keep the body strong and balanced. Bridges combined old-school moves in inventive ways, like plank jack pushups and reverse lunge front snap kicks. And as if burpees weren’t already challenging enough, she had us lift and hold alternating arms and legs during the plank portion. Oh yeah, we felt the burn.

Tough moves aside, the format of the workout made time fly by. With only a few repeating moves, the routine required constant focus and kept the body guessing. And as the body fatigued, it felt far easier to dedicate 100 percent effort to an exercise when we knew it was only for half a minute. The mini goal design not only feels more doable, but also achieves a more effective workout. As far as at-home workouts go, Michelle Bridges knows how to help you make the most of little time and persevere through the pain.

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We Tried It: Equinox’s Flow Play

Written on October 23, 2013 at 10:24 am , by

Flow Play capitalizes on the power of music and sound for an overall enhanced practice. Namaste to that.

Written by Alena Hall, editorial intern

I’m quite the traditionalist when it comes to practicing yoga—all I need is my mat, my body and a soft-speaking instructor guiding me through postures in an otherwise quiet room. However, Flow Play, a new yoga class from Equinox that matches each yoga posture with musical soundtracks from around the world, helped me experience the mind-body connection of yoga in an entirely new way.

Co-created by Equinox instructor Derek Beres and three-time Grammy nominated musician Philip Steir, Flow Play is designed for yogis of all levels—especially those looking for a new style of practice. The class takes recent psychological research about the deep connection between listening to music and the body’s physical movement and brings it to life. Each song selected for particular postures helps students focus more purposefully on their pose and elicit a certain physiological response. Indian sitar music, for example, is proven to lower cortisol levels and inspire a state of relaxation, so the DJ plays these tunes during shavasana and other restful poses. Heavy beats, on the other hand, increase the heart rate and inhibit the body’s pain receptors, helping you push through the more difficult components of a workout (think sprinting to the finish line or lifting your maximum weight). So the DJ matches these more intense sounds with more challenging poses like the Vinyasa flow series or warrior postures.

No two classes are the same, because each instructor creates original series of postures and the DJs adjust their playlists accordingly. Flow Play debuted in select clubs in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Dallas earlier this month, and Equinox will continue expanding the class schedules through early 2014. They offer a Vinyasa class focused on energetic and athletic movements as well as a therapeutic Restore class that opens the joints with deep stretching and full breathing techniques. Are you ready to give this musically inspired yoga class a try?

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Why We’re Totally Hooked on Mud Runs (And You Should Be, Too)

Written on August 16, 2013 at 12:56 pm , by

Fashion Assistant Marla Horenbein and Editorial Assistant,Lauren Cardarelli ran the Rugged Maniac in New Jersey with a few friends!

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?!

Fashion Assistant, Marla Horenbein, hurdling fire!

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!

Why The Color Run Really is the Happiest 5K on the Planet

Written on July 30, 2013 at 9:54 am , by

Bright and early and ready to do this.

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:

My best friend Emily couldn’t resist a morning of painting by my side.

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.

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