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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.

 

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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Review: Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide

If you follow healthy lifestyle and fitness experts on Instagram, you may have found the fantastic abs of Kayla Itsines on your phone.  Kayla is a 23-year-old personal trainer from Adelaide, Australia. At first I was hesitant, since a 23 yr old’s body is WAY different than a 30 year old’s. But, Kayla also shares #fitspirations from her many, many members of #thekaylamovement and some are new moms, moms of three, and others who are living incredibly busy lives. We are talking abs for days, people.

Those abs!
Those abs!

 

So I went ahead and purchased her Bikini Body Guide 1.0. Her workouts follow a great interval format, in total it is 28 minutes of resistance training — two 7 minute circuits that you run through twice. You tend to do these Monday, Wednesday and Friday with Monday being a cardio/leg day, Wednesday arm/abs and Friday total body. The remaining days are either low impact cardio or recovery days. The full program is 12 weeks long.

Circuit Example
Circuit Example

I am a month in, and really love the challenge these circuits bring. In truth, I haven’t changed my diet so my progress isn’t necessarily the same as some of her other participants. Also, I haven’t taken my progress photo yet…because I am scared of photos.

Of course, my “low impact cardio” days are my Orange Theory Days, which isn’t low impact and just cardio, so my body is incredibly tired. I have a hard time resting, and was recently counseled that “yoga isn’t resting.” Maybe I can change that up for the next four weeks.

In all honesty, I just love the fact that Kayla didn’t see her nearly 2M Instagram followers coming. She was just a humble trainer posting progress photos of her clients, then she started answering questions, and THEN she launched her eBooks.

Orange Theory: 90 Minute Class

“It’s just an additional 30 minutes,” said a very optimistic Laney to her very hesitant husband just before she punished both of them with a grueling workout.

Ever since starting Orange Theory a few months ago, I have been dying to try my hand at the 90 minute class. In my crazy mind, I thought — I’ve done long runs that last longer than that! There is a huge difference between straight endurance training for a certain amount of time and strength/endurance/high intensity.

First of all, we got cocky. Normally we get there with enough time to ensure we start on the treadmills. For busy days we try to get there 15-20 minutes early. I can’t stress the importance of starting on the treadmill. There is something about starting in the weight room that just drains you so that by the time you get on the treadmill you just want to roll off. However, we were convinced that there would only be a handful of people as crazy as us. We were wrong.

Immediately, I freaked out. Then Greg told me it was a partner workout. SAVIOR! With partner workouts you are rotating the entire time so you don’t really burn your legs out with squats and then have to get on the treadmill. Essentially, you are doing the cardio push until your partner finishes a circuit in the weight room. Then you switch and so forth.

The hubby and I paired up…and I love my husband…but I am going to be honest when I say that he doesn’t get into the competitive spirit like I do. In fact, there was a time when Greg even called him out because he was leaving me on the treadmill.

The workout itself was incredibly challenging — lots of legs & shoulders. My glutes were also crying for a break by the time we hit the 75 minute mark.

We made it through the entire workout. It was good, I felt really accomplished. We then crashed for the entire day. I am not joking…that couch was our friend.

We weren’t the only ones though! On Monday at my regular class those who had also attended the 90 minute were still feeling sore. And we all agreed, doing 90 minutes twice a month was just crazy town….once a month is enough to push yourself out of your comfort zone.

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Soaring with My Team

I am all about the team bonding. Sometimes we do it with a fry basket and wine; but I really love it when it involves some sort of funtivity.

On one of my recent trips to NYC, we decided to try our hand at aerial yoga. I love aerial yoga, it is an entirely different challenge because it has the potential to be completely embarrassing. What better way to build camaraderie with your team but do something completely embarrassing?

I did a little research and found Om Factory. With two locations (one in Union Square, one just  outside of the Fashion District) it made it easier to find a class that would fit our schedule.  We hopped over to Amanda’s class, which was a level 1/2…so my little newbies were a little concerned.

The way Om Factory describes its aerial classes pretty much makes it everything but intimidating.

“Everyone who enjoyed swinging on the monkey bars as a kid is encouraged to try out this fun fusion of yoga and aerial arts.”

Luckily, the rest of our class didn’t mind our constant need for hand on instruction and giggling. I was just a few days away from the marathon and was so happy to have us focusing on hip openers. I’ve always enjoyed yoga as an option to cross train for running, but aerial yoga truly gives me that extra lengthening. image (22)

In truth, I have always wanted to be a Cirque du Soleil performer — and aerial yoga is the closest thing I can come to actually doing it!

Watch us swing!

So we giggled our way through class and somehow convinced the instructors to not throw us out, and stay after for a photo shoot.

The studio is cute, and they have all sorts of other classes that I am dying to try. Yoga inspired by break dancing? Sign me up. Aerial Circus? One step closer to fulfilling my dream of being a circus performer.

 

Workout Review: Yoga with Live Music at Colony Hotel

Whenever I mention my love for yoga someone tells me I need to check out yoga at the Colony Hotel.  It is led by Keith Fox and has live music with a rotating group of musicians.

Know before you go….I went to sign up online, paid for the class, and then got a little confused because there was no actual way to sign up for the class. So I called over to the studio and spoke to Keith Fox himself.

Turns out you pay for class, but then its a first come first serve experience. That made me a little anxious since I heard people flock to this class and it can be seriously packed. Keith told me that they usually get about 100 people.

I made plans with my mom to go, and decided to get there around 9:15 to get a relatively good spot in the larger/main room. Class starts at 9:30 and is 90 minutes and follows your standard vinyasa flow. There are so many people around you but everyone is focused on their own practice that you don’t even really notice. 10562875_10105458930201931_2045322270_o

Sometimes I do like to watch for transitions and variations, and didn’t really get that in this particular set up.

heyyy pretty teal ceiling
heyyy pretty teal ceiling

The room we are in so pretty. There’s no air conditioning, but they keep all the windows open and fans going. So it almost felt like a hot vinyasa flow…you know since its summer and all. DSC_0031

The music was fantastic. I regularly listen to “yoga” music during the day while I am working.  Somehow its become my favorite background noise to focus me.

I can see why people swear by this class. I am going to try some of their other classes during the next few weeks.