Type your search keyword, and press enter

Workout Review: AcaciaTV

Since I have had a little more down time with the Holidays I called around to several yoga studios inquiring about a prenatal class. Shockingly NONE of the studio owners knew of a class in the area. Keith over at YogaFox explained the economics of it to me — you only have those specific yogis for a set amount of time so it is hard to have a standing class. Better off just modifying at your regular class. Fair enough.

Still, given my inability to back off…that idea makes me nervous. So I’ve been searching high and low for a prenatal yoga DVD, that really gives me the good stretch I’ve been looking for.

AcaciaTV has about 450 streaming workouts — two of which are prenatal yoga flows. It’s really easy to navigate via its drop down menus.

acaciatv homepage

You can also add different workouts to a fitness planner. I really love this function since I like planning my workouts for the week just like I do my menus. It keeps me accountable and I don’t have the excuse of not knowing what I am going to do that day.planner

I’ve already done Hilaria Baldwin’s DVD a few times, and it is good for a quick “trouble shooting” area. So I decided to try Desi Bartlett’s flow. It’s about 45 minutes though the screen says 58 minutes. The difference is that it also includes a sequence where she teaches you how to use a chair for support in some of the poses. I haven’t quite hit that point yet…sort of hope I don’t have to. That’s the idea behind continuing yoga right?
yoga home pageI really like this flow as a nice recovery day yoga flow. I felt relaxed and open after completing it. That’s really what I am looking for in a prenatal yoga flow something that relieves the tension in my shoulders and hips more than anything else.

Having access to this many workouts when it comes time for “body after baby” (I am already shuttering at the thought will certainly keep me motivated. They have workouts from 10 minutes to over an hour. I have a feeling that the 10 and 20 minute workouts are going to be my best friends in those first few weeks. A monthly subscription is $6.99, I haven’t sprung for a subscription yet, as there is a 10-day free trial and want to see how often I use workouts from here before I go all in. Bonus points that I can access it through Amazon Fire and Amazon Video app.

 

Best Workout Attire for the Pregnant Bod

I’ve officially reached the point where I am getting self conscious about my gym attire. I didn’t really want to spend too much money on exercise gear while I was pregnant. I figured I could make most of my tops work for a pretty decent amount of time, and invest in 2-3 leggings. I am quickly realizing that I may have been wrong.

Leggings

I’ve got about three pairs of leggings that I am rotating right now. They happen to be the “go with the flow” crops from Lululemon. They currently come up over the bump, but are getting tighter. I have a few pairs of Nordstrom Zella leggings in a larger size, but am worried that the waist isn’t going to hit in the right spot. Recently, I’ve been contemplating getting a pair or two from Champions maternity line. 

Tanks

So far this hasn’t really been an issue. For the most part they are long enough and aren’t riding up. I haven transitioned to some of my more flowy tops so that I have more breathing room.

Sports Bra

This is where I am having the most difficulty. My boobs are enormous. I had a nice healthy size bust before I got pregnant, but honestly this new size is just too much. I don’t know how you ladies do it. I picked up one new sports bra from Anita based off friend’s recommendations, and have been wearing my old Nike sports bras. Which are getting tighter and I feel like I am squishing myself into them.

Don’t even get me started on my swim outfit. Which has become running shorts and a sports bra. I probably could swing my bikini bottoms, but I am just not that comfortable yet.

So question — what have you all done for maternity workout gear? Particularly the sports bra.

 

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…

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.

image4

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.

IMG_4014

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

IMG_3911

 

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

IMG_3928

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.”

image1

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.

image4 image5

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.

image3

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.