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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

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

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.

Building a Complete Home Gym

This has been the longest stretch I’ve gone without belonging to a big box gym since I was a newly minted entry-level PR person barely scraping by in NYC.  Getting into a long-term relationship with a gym is almost as serious as getting into a long-term relationship with a significant other.

My gyms have always been within walking distance, had classes that fit my schedule, and had enough location options that I could avoid the crowds. So that’s what I tend to look for when committing. There just wasn’t a good option near me, so I just bought packages at local yoga studios, a spin class here and there, and made use of my tiny apartment gym. With marathon training looming, I didn’t need much. Now that time has past and I am getting bored/antsy with my workout limits. (There aren’t even two benches to do these fancy squats I want to do!)

What I’ve found though is that my area isn’t really catering to a young professional….more like someone who has retired or can do a 9AM class, which makes it really hard. Who can make a 9:15 cycle class? I mean come on!

There are gyms that are just equipment and therefore much cheaper, but I would have to drive 15 minutes to get there. GASP, 15 minutes you say, but it is on the highway and can get really backed up. Also, it is AT the mall…that’s just like tempting you way too much.

Unfortunately it just isn’t feasible to join a spin studio, a yoga studio, AND a gym to gain access to all the equipment. It really isn’t even feasible to join even two of those.

So, instead I am thinking of building out my home gym a bit more. We already have a few essentials (TRX; varied dumbells, jump rope, glides, resistance bands, pull-up bar); plus a ridiculous amount of DVDs (thanks, friends)…so now I need to figure out what else is needed. My running list is below, but would love some other must haves.

1. Medicine Ball — for slamming and ab work

Medicine Ball

2. Plyo-Box — one of the most versatile tools you can have in your home gym…you can jump, squat, bench dip, and step ups.

3. Barbell & Weight Plates — deadlifts and weighted squats are much easier to complete with a barbell

4. Bosu Ball — another all purpose tool

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5. Heavier Kettlebells — right now we only have 3lbs and 5lbs…we need some heavier ones to do more workouts (Again Faster has some relatively inexpensive options)

6. Adjustable Step — different from the plyo box, but something I can also lay on and step on k2-_d6fea17a-f47a-4d04-90be-134fa2052189.v1

 

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.

 

Marathon Training Week 15

Like many runners I know I am very superstitious when it comes to my pre-run routine. The foods I eat, the way I lay out my clothes, down to what socks I am wearing and whether they match my outwear. All training I ran in conditions that most likely would not be the same as race day, unless a ridiculous heat wave came through NYC in November. Two things could happen: (1) I could possibly run much faster than I had been running or (2) the shock of different weather could present other challenges. So when the opportunity to run my 20 miler in NYC presented itself, I decided it needed to happen.

I treated this very much like a trial marathon-weekend run…from packing, my meals, and post-race activities.

Although the bridge on Linton has given me some hill training, I knew it wasn’t really going to prepare me for the real deals. So I asked Kristen to map a route with bridges. She really delivered with four, including two from the marathon route. As the day grew closer it looked like I was also going to have to complete my first training run in the rain. Amazing how I made it through 15 weeks of training in Florida with no rain. How is that even possible?

It was cold and literally rained the entire time. We started off near Prospect Park, headed to Brooklyn Bridge, swung back around Manhattan Bridge, through several neighborhoods in Brooklyn (Park Slope, Greenpoint, Williamsburg, hipstertastic places), the Pulaski Bridge in Long Island City, and then over the Queensboro Bridge into Manhattan and into Central Park just like race day. Three boroughs in just about 3.5 hours. As we rounded around the West Side the shivering set in. Apparently my “rain” jacket wasn’t waterproof enough for this much rain. I couldn’t really feel my fingers and the idea of two more miles just didn’t seem feasible.

What I learned on this run (other than needing a better rain jacket), is that  I am going to finish this race. There is a good chance that if I keep myself healthy with stretching, icing, foam rolling and sleeping, I could PR it. But even if that doesn’t happen I know I am going to cross that finish line.

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Monday: yoga

Continuing to do active rest days to keep my legs active.

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Tuesday: 4 miles

Did a mixture of speed work, endurance and hills to keep myself interested on the treadmill.

Wednesday: 5 miles

I have a big work project looming and there was a significant amount of frustration and anxiety building, which fueled a very fast post-work run.

Thursday: travel day/rest day

Up bright and early to head to NYC, so turned this into a rest day.

Friday: yoga

I downloaded a new ashtanga series from Cody App, and although it said beginner I found it really challenging. More to come on that.

Saturday: 20 miles

Pretty much gave you the run down above, I know it is going to be a hard race…and I really just want to finish.

Sunday: yoga

Went to a studio down the street from my hotel, and essentially had a private class. More to come.

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Marathon Training: Week 9

I wavered a bit this week. I was just excruciatingly tired.  I wasn’t really sleeping that well and the temperatures reached “hot as hell” proportions at my normal run times. I still got three runs in….though I feel guilty about my long run turning into almost nothing. Physically it was probably the best thing for me to do at the time…mentally I am struggling with whether I set myself back. What do you do when you hit those kind of walls?

Monday: full rest day

I didn’t even do yoga. I went to see my PT in the afternoon to get my muscles stretched out, and that was honestly enough for me.

Tuesday: 4 mile speed

Because it was near 95 degrees when I got up to run, I decided a 4 mile treadmill speed drill was the best way to go. I pulled this off the internet and depending on how I am feeling do either 6.0 mph to 6.8 mph or 7.0 mph to 7.8 mph. It is 45 minutes long and a good heart pumping negative splits drill.

Wednesday: cross training

Total body weight circuit followed by 12 laps in the pool. I hadn’t really noticed I was getting stronger until I decided to start adding in a few laps. I might actually invest in goggles now.

Thursday: “hills”

Living in Florida means hills = bridges. I ran over to the Linton bridge and decided to do hill sprints. It was so hot. Not humidity hot, but sun blazing hot. Still it I felt incredibly fast on the bridge.

The only problem with my "hills" is that they move
The only problem with my “hills” is that they move

Friday: yoga

Just a short 20 minute yoga flexibility and strength practice to shake out my legs.

Hoping to start getting to classes again so that my solo inversion practice gets a much needed boost
Hoping to start getting to classes again so that my solo inversion practice gets a much needed boost

Saturday: 6 miles

Today was supposed to be 13 miles, but it was 95 degrees at 5:00AM and that just didn’t seem like a good idea. My body was incredibly tired in the morning before I even set out, and I just didn’t want to make myself sick. The run itself was pretty good, but there was this nagging voice in the back of my head making me feel guilty for cutting it short.

so many boats
so many boats

Sunday: kayaking and snorkeling and putt putt

Funtivities! In honor of our 3rd wedding anniversary we decided to do some of our favorite activities. This included kayaking over to Peanut Island and spending the day swimming among the fishes and a manatee! The water was a beautiful blue and clear, and we couldn’t have asked for better weather. It was such a fun day that I honestly think kayaking might be my new favorite water activity.

Seriously the water was just gorgeous. I could spend every Sunday like this.
Seriously the water was just gorgeous. I could spend every Sunday like this.
That's Peanut Island over yonder
That’s Peanut Island over yonder

We went to putt putt later in the evening. We haven’t done this in almost two years, slightly because I am not the best at not getting competitive about it…but I really tried hard not to get frustrated. I think I succeeded. That might have been due to the fact that I got a HOLE IN WON!!!! Wooohoo winner.

 

We played the Everglades course...and I may have lost my ball to an alligator
We played the Everglades course…and I may have lost my ball to an alligator

 

Marathon Training: Week 8

This is what I like to call the cross over week. It also happens to be half way through my training plan…coincidence? I think not.

I call it cross over, because it is the first week where your long run gets you to the point where you are committing to doing more than a half. The serious business starts and your body knows it…or at least mine does.

Monday: yoga.

Continuing to do yoga flexibility at least once a week. This seems to be the best way to keep my ITB in check and my hips somewhat open. image

Tuesday: 4 mile ridiculously awful run.

As much as I was appreciating evening runs since it was so hot outside, I realized I had to watch my nutrition during the day to keep myself from vomiting. It was also one of those days that required gummy bears, which means I had terrible sugary gunk in my tummy. Need to conquer that.

Wednesday: cross training. A superset workout for arms and legs, starting to think it is time to do light weights on my legs at least once a week. Nothing to major. I also went to Health-Fit to start active release techniques. I think this will be the best replacement to my neuro-musclar massages (they are practically the same thing). I honestly worked up a sweat having someone stretch my legs and knead some of the larger knots. Worth every penny.

Thursday: 3.5 mile beach run.

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I didn’t bring my camera on the run on Thursday, so Saturday morning beach sunrise pictures will have to do

I was able to make it to run club, and I was so happy I did. Instead of speed drills some of us ran down to the beach, kicked off our shoes and went for a run along the beach. It was the first time I had ever run without my shoes on the beach and it was a very different sensation. My lower calves seemed to tighten rather quickly, but otherwise it was an easy comfortable run. Plus, I put into place my new running at night nutrition rules and it made for a much easier run.image_2

Friday: yoga.

Just a simple yoga for runners 20 minute routine. I didn’t want to do too much, but enough to keep me from getting stiff.

Saturday: 14 mile long run.

Met a few new people in run club to run with. They were so incredibly encouraging, and while we were only going to have 12 miles together…it was a hot and steamy one that required a lot of prodding from each of us. It was great to have that encouragement from people that I had literally just fallen in line with. I ran a pretty fast 10K averaged about a 9:30 and then slowed down on the way back. I probably could have called it a day at 12 with my two partners, but they encouraged me to keep going to hit my 14, and I did. I may have been the last one back to the store, but I felt good about finishing out my run.

These homes are along A1A and are amazing
These homes are along A1A and are amazing

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Sunday: cross training.

It was gorgeous outside and demanded that I swim. So I did.

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.