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August Goals

Believe it or not, I feel like I did a really good job on my July goals. I didn’t really eat any processed foods, and somehow didn’t find myself constantly reaching for a bag of gummies despite all that was going on with work, it might have something to do with the fact that when I got stressed I did yoga or abs for 10 minutes rather than give in to my sugar cravings.

1. Give in to sleep. I’ve always been a terrible sleeper. At three, I cried hysterically in my bed about  how I couldn’t go to sleep because I had to do my homework. I was also that child that could not take a nap…just couldn’t. Lately though, I have found myself craving sleep more. So I would like to go ahead and say in bed by 10:00pm most nights (probably excluding weekends).

2. Get back to meal prep. We haven’t been meal prepping like we used to…i.e., taking 2 hours on Sunday to do most of the cooking for the week. I think it is time we get back at it (though I feel like I am setting myself up for failure here, because I am literally traveling every weekend except one this month).

3. Swimming. I’d like to get back in the habit of swimming at least once a week. Also the July/August 2015 issue of SHAPE has this ridiculous 30 minute pool workout. It includes laps, burpees, wall kicks, push ups, and more. I haven’t figured out how its safe to do burpees on the pool deck without shoes…but I’ll let you know.

not me...
not me…

How to Stay Fit While Traveling

As we know, I am a frequent business traveler. I have my yoga and cycle studio that’s around the corner, and I get a yoga mat delivered to my room. But what about when I am traveling for leisure?

We recently got back from a cruise, and despite being surrounded by water, found ways to keep fit. In addition to utilizing the ship’s gym every day we also picked excursions that were more on the active side than the leisure.

In San Juan we went on a 12-mile bike ride around the city. We went up a few hills, saw some of the local areas that we otherwise wouldn’t have, and highlights of the city. Our guide told us great local-folklore and made it so that we really could indulge in some of that tasty food I had heard about.Cruise 038 Cruise 041 Cruise 036

In St. Maarten we went snorkeling by the famous beach where the airplanes land right over your head. We got to experience one of the “must do” activities while also getting to swim around and explore the crystal blue waters.101_0210 101_0212 Cruise 063

In St. Kitts we had planned to go hiking up a volcano, but after reading reviews, opted for zip lining instead. It was such a cool experience. While more on the easier side we did still use some of our upper body strength. Cruise 069 Cruise 066

I like to find these kinds of funtivities on our vacations because I just feel like we get to experience more than if we were just shopping. Cruise 101

 

Workout Review: Chaise Fitness

I am apparently very into the whole hybrid class thing right now, and Chaise Fitness absolutely falls into that category. When you first hear you are working with a “chair” images of a sexy little strip tease may come to mind. At least it did for a colleague of mine…but the word chair is used very liberally here. IMG_4197

I took the Reinvention class, as this is their signature class and I wanted to start with the basics. I arrived 15 minutes before class, as instructed to get a tutorial in the chair. Cat (the instructor) showed me some basic moves and introduced me to the bungees and how not to fall off. The chair is more like a padded stool, with a bar that you push down on and you adjust the resistance to make it harder. Then you have these bungees that are suspended from the ceiling. They are there both to work your arms and hold you up. IMG_4198

Here’s something else I learned while being there early….people LOVE Cat. She had recently gotten engaged and her regulars were just so excited for her and brought her gifts. It was a really sweet thing to see.

Anyway, the class itself is a combination of pilates, barre, a little ballet and aerobics.

Cat had us performing pumping moves with our arms in the bungees, core work while balancing on the chair and leg work balancing on the chair while utilizing a small ball.  We did some tricep dips off the side of the chair as well as boat poses and C curves while sitting on the chair.

One of the moves that I felt a little uncomfortable in was a signature chair move included lying on one side on the chair with legs straight and one arm resting on the bar while the top arm remained in the bungee and extended straight.  We then pushed down on the bar lowering it towards the ground and back up again.  This created tension in our arms and core and although we were lying on the chair, we still needed to maintain our balance.IMG_4195

Pikes were also pretty tough, in the fact that you really have to engage your core the ENTIRE time so that you don’t hit the ground at all. We stand on the bar with our hands on the chair, using our abs we allowed the bar to lift off the ground and pushed it back down again in small pulsing movements that worked our abs and legs.  A variation of this move included standing with one foot on the chair, knee bent and pushing the bar down with only one leg.  IMG_4194

They have several other classes, including a Cardio Chair, which was going on when I first got there. And truthfully it terrified me. I’m absolutely going to try it though.

Workout Review: SLT NYC

I’ve been taking pilates for a few months now. So I was feeling pretty confident about my pilates skills going into SLT, which stands for “strengthen, lengthen and tone.” I was in for a rude awakening.

Megareformer pilates is basically pilates on crack. Seriously, you think you know what you are in for when you head into a pilates class and you are wrong. I’d watched the introduction video before I signed up for class, but still didn’t really have a clue.image1

The space is reminiscent of a NYC dance studio – one long room with mirrors on one side. There are cubes to store your things, and two restrooms for changing. There are no showers. We are talking minimalist at its finest.

There were quite a few newbies in the class, and Audrey took us through the paces of pilates on the megareformer. You can use both ends of the megreformer, you have your standard loops for legs and hands, and there are other fun little tools.

The bed has numbers on it (1, 2, 3) with little hash marks so you know where to place your feet, hands and knees when the instructor calls it out.

Right before class started Audrey said “I’m just here to kick your ass” and she wasn’t joking.image5

It’s a pretty fast paced class. You get a count down from each move so there are no true breaks. I don’t know how each class is structured, but this one took us through core, arms, legs and glute exercises.

I was quickly drenched in sweat. The move where we slid into a standing star position and then pulled our leg on the reformer back? Yeah that’s an inner thigh workout if I’ve ever seen one.

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The one where we did oblique twist/crunch (believe it’s called a mermaid), just about made me cramp up it was straining the side of my glute so badly.

There certainly wasn’t as much core work as my standard pilates reformer class – with the set of 100s and knee tucks, but the “bear” and “snake” moves did the trick.

This is either snake or bear, I can't recall
This is either snake or bear, I can’t recall

The website says that if “cardio, strength training, and pilates had a baby, it would be SLT” and that is probably the most accurate coupling I have ever heard.

also, great mantra
also, great mantra

Slash Fitness: TRX Yoga Review

If you’ve ever wanted to prove that you are entirely not flexible…take TRX yoga. The suspension both supports and challenges many yoga poses, helping you deepen the stretch while working your entire body.

Alexis, who runs the yoga practice at Saltwater Brewery, also leads the TRX Yoga class at Slash Fitness. I’d never been to Slash, but have heard good things so I was excited to see the space.IMG_3970

First impression? I was a little disappointed that I wasn’t shown around or explained how the studio works. Maybe I just have high expectations, but felt like I was left to my own devices. The person at the front desk was incredibly nice, and answered my questions though.

The class itself was seriously challenging. Alexis wasn’t joking when she said that it was a great core workout. She took us through a pretty standard yoga flow with down dogs (or pikes), warrior I and II and III, forward folds, side planks, and lunges.

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I reached proper sweat mode pretty quickly for a non-heated yoga class. I was a bit fumbly moving through the flow and there were a few times where I am pretty sure I just got completely twisted. IMG_3988

While I easily got into the hand stand portion of class, the chest openers, lunges and bow poses were incredibly challenging. My short little limbs just aren’t made for bending that way. I can only hope that after more practice that will change. IMG_4012

Funtivity: Fitness Golf

Sometimes I really enjoy sleeping in. When I wake up without anything that I need to do immediately and then can lay around for another hour or so, that’s amazing. Then I get antsy. This happened last Saturday. Both of our weeks sort of dictated the need to sleep in, which meant we didn’t go to our usual Saturday morning Orange Theory Class.

The thought of running at noon made me want to vomit before even stepping outside, and swimming just wasn’t going to work since by that time the pool would be crowded. I wanted something new, and different.

Josh, I think jokingly, suggested putt-putt with a twist…we would do an exercise at each hole, the number of reps dictated by the hole. Of course, I loved it, wrote up a quick routine and off we went.

This is how the workout went:

burpees on holes 1,3,5

burpees make everything harder
burpees make everything harder

spiderman push-ups on holes 2,4

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lay down push-ups on holes 6,8

snap jumps (or pop jacks) on holes 7,9

you might as well just call these half burpees
you might as well just call these half burpees

 

squats on holes 10, 12

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x jumps on holes 11, 13

single leg squats on holes 14, 16

jump lunges on holes 15, 17

grand finale 18 burpees for hole 18

People thought we were a little crazy….no less than three people commented on our “double duty.” I was truly sweaty and got my heart rate up in a fun and innovative way.

 

June Goals

It is very rare that you get a new month on the first day of the week. It seems right that you should wake up feeling refreshed and excited about what could be possible this month. For whatever reason, that made me feel like it might be a good idea to make some goals for the month. I mean why not?

1. Practice yoga at least 10 minutes daily. I’ve been doing yoga challenges, but not really focusing on my yoga practice. I need to get back into that.image (10)

2. Get up early every morning. It’s summer! This means I have more daylight in the evenings, which means if I get up earlier and get more things done sooner I can take advantage of it.image_4

3. Try a new funtivity every week. I love funtivities, and right now is the perfect time to integrate them into our plans. They can be an active activity, or just a new adventure (e.g., a new restaurant).

4. Cut back on sugar. I’ve been really bad about the extra dose of sugar. I am going to try my darndest to limit my “sugary” snack intake to twice a week…I am talking candy and ice cream here. Maybe next month I’ll cut my fruit (but let’s be honest).SourPatchKids

Training In a Warehouse Means Business: Legacy Fit

When your friends invite you to train with their personal trainer, and the concern is that you don’t puke you have high expectations. Mostly of yourself to prove that you won’t puke, but also secretly hoping that you get such an intense workout that it could very easily happen.

That’s how a personal training session at Legacy Fit in Miami was presented to me. Apparently the last friend that was brought to this workout puked and had Isaac, the trainer, concerned.

On the drive over to the gym for our double-date, sweat session, we got the low down. There are pitbulls outside, but they adorably snugly.  There can be a lot of sled pushing…and so forth. We pulled up and the gym was exactly as promised. A down and dirty, old warehouse that was turned into a two room gym. One room holds what looks like a cross between a crossfit wod and boot camp. The other room is set for personal training with astroturf, a few cardio machines and lots and lots of weights. image6

Also, their tagline is #nodaysoff, which really resonates with me, because “hi. My name is Laney, and I am a fitness addict.”

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There isn’t a lot of A/C moving around, and you can get warm pretty quickly. There were four of us, and Josh went to workout with Corey and I got paired up with Lauren. We did the same movements, just with some more weight (for the guys).

The full workout consisted of: sled pulls running backwards, sled static pulls in an iso-squat, sled pushes, battle ropes, Russian twists with the battle ropes, partner sit ups with a medicine ball, and partner push ups with high-fives. The sled pushes did me in, and I needed a serious breather after my intervals.

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My heart rate was skyrocketing and it was absolutely a challenging workout. I was surprised when it was over, and did feel like I could go a little longer. On the positive I watched a Dolphins defensive lineman grunt through his very tough workout and made me feel like a hardcore athlete.

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High Intensity Training at Its Finest: The FHITTING Room

High intensity training is a staple in my weekly workouts. Essentially, any routine that gets me in and out in 30 minutes or less (thinking Kayla, Plyos from P90X and 21DayFix, and more) are done at least twice a week. Friends who live in the NYC-area have told me, more than once, that I “have to try FHITTING Room.” That it was in my fitness wheel house.

So we rallied a few troops from work and went during my last week long trip. I didn’t really know what to expect but I was ready to sweat.

The room holds 24 participants and class is run by two instructors. I loved the added instructor. It means you can’t get caught slacking at all, and the energy remains high throughout the workout. Ben and Farouk taught our class, and they were just really fun to be around. I don’t remember looking at the timer once because they were keeping our spirits up.

The workout itself was challenging in the sense that it got my heart rate up and I was sweating VERY quickly. It was broken up into a “warm up” (term used loosely), strength, circuit, and then finally a partner workout.

The Warm Up: we did 30 seconds of jumping jacks, jump rope, air squats, hip openers, mountain climbers and then more jumping jacks. I was certainly warm up the jump rope and sweating buckets by the second set of jumping jacks.20150413_181908

Strength: I didn’t go extremely heavy here, probably used just about a 12-15lbs depending on exercise, but really started to feel it when we were doing the bent over rows with kettlebells. Each move was a minute long, and we did it with the entire group. This was done twice through.

Circuit: Then they broke us into four groups and we went through four different exercises twice. Each station lasting a minute. This included rowing, KB presses, KB step ups and KB swings.

Partner: Finally, if my arms weren’t tired enough at this point we did 4 rounds for each person and you had one minute to finish nine dumbell thrusters to a medicine ball and nine burpees. And at the FHITTING room, you go all the way to the floor for the burpees. 20150413_192745

This workout was no joke. I was honestly sore for two days following, and couldn’t believe it. The workouts change daily, so you can be sure you never fall into a rut.

Yoga At The Brewery

I’ve done yoga in the middle of Times Square, in a blocked off alley way across from a Whole Foods, on a hilltop, and inside a Lululemon with all the pretty clothes tempting me while I was in down dog. Two weeks ago, we practiced yoga in a new unconventional spot….Saltwater Brewery.

Knowing that we were at a brewery, it shouldn’t surprise you that this was the first time Josh joined me for vinyasa flow class. Apparently being surrounded  by beer taps is the best way to get your husband into the yoga mood.

Bend at the Brewery is led by Alexis King. She runs the TRX Yoga class at Slash Fitness and also does private practices for clients. This was my first class with her, and her energy made me want to take more — especially that TRX class.10982713_10153127380966757_465222353687387447_n

The Sunday that we went was a much smaller class than some of her previous classes (know this because of the pictures). It was just us, and four other people, which means more attention (yay!). The flow itself was challenging with some added twists that my incredibly tight sore body needed. Alexis was great about coming over to help you move deeper into the poses. She also helped me get into flying pigeon on one side.

The only down side is when you go into a headstand you realize you are on a concrete floor and should you lose your balance you may hurt yourself. I was a little tentative to do anything beyond tripod because of that.

Should you choose to stay after class, you can get a flight of beer for a little cheaper than the usual price. We didn’t stay since I was headed to NYC that afternoon and had to get some packing done…but the next time we go, we are absolutely staying to take advantage of that.