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We Tried It: Trek’s Silque Bike

Written on July 28, 2014 at 10:39 am , by

I recently got the chance to hit the road with Trek Bikes and Trek Travel to tour miles of Vermont countryside on two wheels. (Check out some of their luxury cycling vacations here.) I’ve been road biking for a few years now but never really had the opportunity to completely immerse myself in the sport—until now. For our adventure, we hopped on the Trek Silque (prices vary, trekbikes.com), one of the women’s-specific road bikes nicknamed the “Smooth Operator” for its unique ability to smooth out even the roughest of roads. After riding nearly 90 miles (including one killer climb to Smuggler’s Notch in Stowe) on the bike, I got a good sense of everything this whip has to offer. Some of the highlights include:

  • The “IsoSpeed decoupler,” which isolates the movement of the seat tube from the rest of the frame, so the seat tube is free to absorb more forces from the road. Basically, your bike soaks up road shock so your body doesn’t have to. (Take it from me, you can immediately tell the difference compared to other bikes out there.)
  • A women’s–specific design (WSD) geometry that’s made for your body and is tuned at every size, regardless of frame size, to fit a female rider to the best possible level. This will put you in a position of power for a faster, more stable ride.
  • An electronic gear-shifting system, which offers elite shifting performance so you don’t have to be a pro to adjust to the terrain. (It’s very user-friendly, perfect for beginners.)
  • The trendy colors and designs—As soon as I saw this bike, I was swooning over the white, lime and aloe green color combo and chevron accents. I mean, just because I’m a girl doesn’t mean I want to ride a pink bike. And wear pink everything (just saying). But if you’re into pink, that’s cool too. They’ve got tons of options. In fact, you can even customize your own bike design here. Trek’s graphic designer hits up Fashion Week in Berlin every year to be one of the first on the scene of the hottest color and design trends. So no matter what you pick, you’re always going to get something that’s stylish and cool.

All in all, the Silque was an incredible ride and it really struck me how important it is to saddle up and try out some bikes before you buy one. If you want to test-ride one yourself, click here to find a demo coming to a location near you or check in with your local Trek retailer to see if you can take one for a spin.

More from FITNESS: 

Cyclists, Rejoice! A Low-Cost Bike for a High-Quality Ride

Bike Part Smarts

Everything You Need to Know About Bicycling

We Tried It: 305 Fitness

Written on July 10, 2014 at 1:05 pm , by

While running on treadmills and hitting the stair-climber will always be great ways to get in some sweaty cardio sessions, we have to admit that they can get boring (especially when you end up staring at that same spot on the wall during each gym visit). So when the girls of Lole and 305 Fitness invited me to a dance party overlooking the Hudson River, I practically ran there, excited to see what its founder, Sadie Kurzban, had in store.

Not only did she kick my butt, but she somehow simultaneously made me forget that I was strengthening my core, leaning out my legs, and cranking my cardio to the very max. It probably had something to do with her wild spunk and the DJ’s amazing tunes (yes, there was a live DJ there—expect that at every single class), but that’s the whole idea behind 305 Fitness. My planks were interweaved with sashays, and squats didn’t happen without a little shimmying in between. The classes are designed to get you so pumped about what you’re doing, you forget that the fun dance moves are actually contributing to your workout.

You’ll be winded by the end of it and will probably burn the next day (my calves: ow), but it makes that feeling of accomplishment so much sweeter. Add in the realization that you were just dancing for much of the class, and you’ll begin to understand (if you haven’t yet) what we FITNESS editors stress all the time: that working out can be fun.

If you’re in the New York or D.C. area, check out the schedule, sign up for one of the 55-minute classes, and get dancing.

More from FITNESS: 

Crank Up Your Cardio

The Relaxing Yoga and Dance Workout

Is Pole Dancing a Sport?

We Tried It: Speed Camp, Part 3

Written on June 11, 2014 at 1:06 pm , by

FITNESS senior editor Bethany Gumper went to Nike Zoom Speed Camp, where she tried the new Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 31 and trained with some of the fastest athletes in the world, then watched them make history at the Prefontaine Classic. Learn a few tricks to take your running to the next level.

***

Get Inspired By The Greats

Meet Mohamed “Mo” Farah

He’s a double gold medalist in the 5,000 and 10,000 meters at the London Olympic Games. Here, Mo’s top tips:

Take care of your body. If you want to get faster, the most important thing you can do is stay injury-free. “I do this by wearing the right shoes and training sensibly,” says Farah. “I also look after my body: take ice baths, get massages, do my weights.”

Have a race day ritual. Sticking to a routine will help you stay calm on the big day. “Most of my races are in the evening,” says Farah. “So I wake up and go for a little jog in the morning. When I come back, I have breakfast and shave my head. In the afternoon, I listen to some music and take a nap.”

Get in the zone. Feeling nervous? “Think back about your training and how hard you’ve worked,” says Farah. “That’s what really gets me going.” 

Now meet Carmelita Jeter

No wonder her nickname is “The Jet.” This Olympic gold medalist and American sprinter who specializes in the 100-meter is the fastest woman in the world. Down-to-earth Jeter is all about the three C’s:

Catnaps: On days when she has an especially rigorous workout, she takes a 30- or 60-minute nap to help her body recover. “Every night, I try to get at least eight to ten hours of sleep,” she says.

Core work: “During the season, I have a special trainer who focuses just on the core muscles,” she says. “It’s not just about lifting tons of weights. It’s about making sure I have a strong foundation.”

Cupcakes: Jeter started working with a nutritionist last year, who has her eating baked fish and chicken and lots of veggies and brown rice. But she doesn’t deprive herself. “People assume that because I’m an athlete, I never eat anything sweet,” says Jeter. “I will tear up some cupcakes. One cupcake is not going to ruin the diet.”

More Workouts We’ve Tried: 

Speed Camp, Part 1

Speed Camp, Part 2

Equinox’s Flow Play

We Tried It: Speed Camp, Part 2

Written on June 10, 2014 at 2:06 pm , by

FITNESS senior editor Bethany Gumper went to Nike Zoom Speed Camp, where she tried the new Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 31 and trained with some of the fastest athletes in the world, then watched them make history at the Prefontaine Classic. Learn a few tricks to take your running to the next level.

***

Your Speed Secret Weapon

Alex Molden, a retired football player who spent eight seasons as a defensive back in the NFL, knows a little something about speed. I met him on the field at the University of Oregon’s Autzen Stadium, where he played for the Ducks. Today he’s a master trainer for Nike—you may recognize him if you’ve played the Nike+ Kinect Training game for Xbox360; he’s the trainer.

One of the most effective ways to increase your speed, says Molden, is resisted running. That’s what I’m doing in the photo above. You run with a belt around your waist with a bungee cord attached to it. Your partner (in my case, an extremely ripped former NFL player) jogs behind you, holding on to the cord to provide steady resistance. We did 10-yard sprints—burn, baby, burn!

Another killer speed builder? Stair running.

Try them both, but keep in mind Molden’s sprint-form secrets:

Arms: Move them back and forward, not across the body. Think of your palms going from cheek (of your face) to cheek (of your bum).

Knees: Keep knees high, bring them up to 90 degrees.

Feet: They should be flexed and driving down.

Check back for Speed Camp, Part 3, tomorrow!

More Workouts We’ve Tried: 

Speed Camp, Part 1

Doonya Fitness Party

NYRR’s Empire State Building Run-Up 

We Tried It: Nike Speed Camp

Written on June 9, 2014 at 4:46 pm , by

FITNESS senior editor Bethany Gumper went to Nike Zoom Speed Camp, where she tried the new Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 31 and trained with some of the fastest athletes in the world, then watched them make history at the Prefontaine Classic. Learn a few tricks to take your running to the next level.

***

Try This Workout! 

When I got the invitation to attend Nike Zoom Speed Camp in Eugene, Oregon, (a.k.a. Tracktown, USA), I was equal parts nervous and excited. Excited because I’ve had a love affair with running since I joined the high-school cross-country team as a tenth grader (how amazing to run on the track at the University of Oregon’s Hayward Field, following in the footsteps of Steve Prefontaine and dozens of Olympians). Nervous because I’ve never been particularly, well, speedy. My running style has always been more tortoise than hare.

I was shaking in my Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 31 sneakers when I met my coach: Rory Fraser, one of the best distance runners in the country and the second fastest 5,000-meter runner in the U.K. Gulp. Fraser put me at ease by insisting that speed work is for everyone, not just elite athletes. Then he put me to work on the track doing one of his favorite speed drills, a pyramid workout. You push yourself to run faster over increasingly longer distances, then come back down to where you started. Try our workout—don’t forget to do an easy jog to warm-up and cool-down, as well as some dynamic stretching beforehand. 

And for those who need a reminder, 400 meters is one lap around the track. So here you’ll be doing either a half lap, a full lap, or two laps throughout the workout. Happy sweating!

  • 200 meters fast
  • 200 meters jog
  • 400 meters fast
  • 400 meters jog
  • 800 meters fast
  • 400 meters jog
  • 400 meters fast
  • 200 meters jog
  • 200 meters fast

Check back for Speed Camp, Part 2, tomorrow!

More Workouts We’ve Tried: 

Body Conceptions

JumpLife Gym

DailyBurn’s Inferno HR

 

We Tried It: Body Conceptions

Written on May 15, 2014 at 10:39 am , by

Written by Jordan Clifford, editorial intern

What it is: A full-body, dance-inspired workout developed by Mahri Relin, formerly of the Tracy Anderson Method and FlyBarre at Flywheel Sports.

Good for: Anyone looking to tone long, lean muscles. This workout targets your arms, abs, thighs and bum with a combination of explosive movements and smaller, focused isolations.

Where you go: Stepping Out Studios (37 W 26th Street, 9th Floor)

How it works: Body Conceptions offers open classes five days a week, private training sessions for groups (four to seven people), pre- and post-natal training and special events (sweaty bachelorette or birthday parties, anyone?). Check out their classes and schedule here.

What you need: Sneakers and comfortable, form-fitting clothing. You’ll be doing a lot of jumping and dance-like movements, so you’ll want something that’s easy to move in but not too baggy.

What it costs: Each classes is $32—just $20 for first-timers. (Insider tip: Once you buy your first class, you’ll get a special promo code for a great deal on two more classes!) Two, five and ten-class packages are also available. Sign up for the 2014 Spring Challenge, a six-week program for $600! Summer, here you come.

What we think: This workout is killer! Think barre, Zumba and aerobics mashed together in one sweatastic hour. Warning: the isolations are tough…in a good way. Mahri had our class do tiny pulses mid-crunch (you know the place where all of your muscle are engaged and you’re not quite sure you can hold it? Yeah, right there). My abs hurt just thinking about it. But her energy was infectious and made the class seem like more fun than work. Always a win!

Photo courtesy of Body Conceptions

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

More Workouts We’ve Tried:

JumpLife Gym

DailyBurn’s Inferno HR

Doonya Fitness Party

 

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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