Written on March 6, 2014 at 6:11 pm , by FITNESS Intern
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.
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Written on June 21, 2012 at 2:46 pm , by Karla Walsh
New snack bars seem to pop up on supermarket shelves nearly every week. With so many options, it’s hard to know which are worth your money—and calories. Recently, readers and staff members chewed and scored for our best bar food awards, and since then a few new items have caught our eye. The FITNESS team did the tasty work of testing out the latest in the Luna Fiber and Kind lines. Read on for their honest feedback!
Luna Fiber Vanilla Blueberry
- “I loved the rich blueberry taste and at 110 calories, it’s a great go-to snack for my 3 p.m. munchies.” — Kathy Green, managing editor
Luna Fiber Chocolate Raspberry
- “For 110 calories, I think you might as well have a real cookie. I really like the crunchy Luna bars, so I was surprised at the over-syrupy, artificial taste.” — Betty Wong, editor in chief
Luna Fiber Peanut Butter Strawberry
- “I immediately noticed the strawberry flavor, then the peanut butter hit my taste buds after. This would be a good on-the-go treat before hitting the gym.” — Samantha Shelton, editorial assistant
Kind Dark Chocolate Nuts & Sea Salt
- “The first bite was so flavorful and had a lot of depth. It was crunchy and is truly one of the best bars I’ve ever had. I have to buy a crate and keep them in my fridge.” — Lapo Belmestieri, freelance designer
Kind Dark Chocolate Cinnamon Pecan
- “This tasted like French toast drizzled in dark chocolate!” — Colleen Moody, web editor
Kind Cashew & Ginger Spice
- “It’s nice and crunchy, and since it’s mostly nuts, you could tell that it doesn’t have the filler junk that a lot of snack bars do. It wasn’t too sweet, which I like, but it was filling. Even half would be a good post-workout snack!” — Lisa Turner, editorial intern
Now tell us: What are your favorite snack/breakfast/energy bars?
Written on March 22, 2012 at 10:12 am , by Karla Walsh
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.
Written on December 13, 2011 at 9:59 am , by Marianne Magno
We’re big fans of coconut water and coffee, so when we heard about Coco Cafe’s newest product that combines the two, we were eager to give it a shot.
Coco Cafe’s Coconut Water Cafe Latte (available online and at 200 stores nationwide, including select Whole Foods Markets) is a mix of all-natural and fair trade organic espresso, coconut water and 2 percent milk. Together, these ingredients give you a refreshing boost, which we think both coconut water and coffee lovers will enjoy.
Here’s what our editors had to say about the drink:
“I admit, I was skeptical about the combination of coconut water and coffee at first, but this drink tasted just like an iced latte but without all the extra sugar. It got me through my afternoon of errands.” — Marianne Magno, associate web editor
“This little guy tasted just like an iced frappuccino without all the calories and guilt that I usually feel along with them. It pepped me up during my usual 3 p.m. slump without making me feel sluggish later from a sugar crash, like I usually do with coffee or anything else that is caffeinated.” — Colleen Moody, web editor
“I love coconut water and coffee. It’s a great match. It has a rich taste, but not too heavy, which I like.” — Cheri Crump-O’Donoghue, sittings editor
Tell us: Would you drink coconut water coffee?
Written on September 15, 2011 at 2:17 pm , by Karla Walsh
When the new Journey savory-flavored bars arrived in the mail last week, several thoughts popped through our heads.
- “Aren’t nutrition bars usually chocolate-covered or dried fruit and nut-packed?”
- “These flavors sound like menu items at ethnic restaurants!”
- “Would someone really eat a bar that tastes like cheese or barbecue?”
The “Travel Bars” range from 180-220 calories each and offer flavors from Thailand (Coconut Curry), Japan (Wasabi Ginger), Italy (Parmesan Romano) and the U.S. (Mesquite Barbecue). Ingredients include whole grains, canola oil, almonds and various spices or natural sweeteners based on the flavor.
Our adventurous art director, John Herr, quickly ripped open a Mesquite Barbecue bar and took a big bite. The verdict? “It tastes like someone crushed up barbecue potato chips and mashed them together in bar form,” he said. “It’s like a meal in a bar, while the usual bars are more like dessert.” I have to admit, it was a bit like watching the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory fantasy gum scene, in which the characters chew on fantasy gum and experience the taste of a full meal!
Find out more about the bars that take you on a trip, according to the company founders who are also avid travelers, at the Journey website.
Now tell us: What flavor would you like for a “meal in a bar?”
Written on August 23, 2011 at 12:58 pm , by Christie Griffin
Even though the FITNESS staff is made up of a bunch of sweatsetters—we love trying the latest classes!—we’re going to reveal a little secret: A few of us totally got our butts kicked from “om” to “namaste” at Pure Yoga last week. The web team had signed up for “a little field trip,” aka a hot power yoga class during lunch. And even though the Pure Yoga staff could’ve mopped the floors with our drenched workout clothes afterward, we still loved it! Read on for the editors’ reactions:
Colleen Moody, Web Editor
Hot Power Yoga made me feel: A little nervous at first, but then super energized when I left the class. I skipped my 3 p.m. coffee without even thinking about it!
During class, I learned: You have to give your body time to adjust. During a tricky bridge pose the instructor sat down next to me and told me he used to be a mountain biker and spent most of his time hunched over riding. After practicing and stretching regularly, his muscles eventually loosened up to yoga. Being a runner, this gave me hope that with a little practice my limbs could loosen up enough to master a bridge one day as well.
Karla Walsh, Editorial Assistant
Hot Power Yoga made me feel: Sweaty, flexible and strong. The poses were challenging enough that the class was never boring.
During class, I learned: Hot yoga can be fun from time to time, but I’d probably opt for traditional power yoga. It’s fun to mix it up, but I think I am better able to focus on the poses rather than the sweat dripping into my eyes!
Marianne Magno, Associate Web Editor
Hot Power Yoga made me feel: More flexible and ready to stretch into deeper poses.
During class, I learned: I had to work on my posture more. Our instructor helped me adjust my form for a few poses and reminded me that it’s been a while since I’ve gotten a good yoga class into my workout routine. I’ll be back for more!
Christie Griffin, Digital Director
Hot Power Yoga made me feel: Detoxed. It was great because if I’m sweating that much, it’s probably because I’m overdoing it with cardio. I liked getting the toxins out without feeling nearly nauseated!
During class, I learned: Some really cool poses. It was a lot of fun!
More fun yoga stuff:
- Yoga 101: Poses for Beginners
- Quiz: Which Yoga Pose Are You?
- The Best Mats for Every Type of Yogi
- Quiz: Which Yoga Style Should You Try?
Written on July 19, 2011 at 12:08 pm , by FITNESS Intern
Written by Theresa K. Brady, editorial intern
After one day at Camp David, you’re sure to LookBetterNaked —the mantra of DavidBartonGym. The free (yes, free!) boot camp class offered by the gym is designed to burn fat and build muscle through intense cardio drills, agility training and core strengthening moves. But this class is for you, even if you’re not a gym junkie—it’s entirely outdoors! Last Tuesday, I made my way to the gym’s Uptown location in New York City to experience the Camp David for myself.
Wasting no time, trainer Carlos Frias started the class with a brisk jog to the Great Lawn in Central Park. He led our group of 12 to a small picnic area where we completed sets of lunges and cardio drills. Although the drills were simple like running in place and jumping jacks, we all were dripping sweat! After finishing loads of squats, it was time to work our upper bodies.
Using picnic tables, we performed multiple reps of push-ups and triceps dips. (Frias made sure to help each person individually with this section to prevent any injuries.) We ended the class with a light jog, some stretching and a short walk back to the gym.
The best part? All the positive reinforcement! Frias is all about making his recruits feel great about the hard work they put into the class. “There you go” and “that’s right” seem to be his personal mantras.
Camp David is great for people of all ages and fitness levels. The best part? You don’t have to be a member of the gym to attend. Camp David classes are offered at the DavidBartonGym New York City Uptown, Miami and Seattle locations until September 1. Find out more at DavidBartonGym.com!