Chelsea | BRICK New York | B|X

I can’t believe it’s already July. This year is absolutely flying by.

In fact, it was just about a year ago that I first joined ClassPass which, in my opinion, was my biggest step towards fitness and wellness. While I had been an active gym-goer prior to joining, ClassPass allowed me to expand my horizons and explore the different ways to exercise. Lately I’ve been missing it quite a bit, and have been considering going back to it or trying out ClassPass competitor FitReserve for a month or two after summer is over. The price is steep, but as I discussed with a coworker yesterday, investing in your health is always a good investment. Plus, I really think I was happier with my fitness routine when I had the variety offered by ClassPass. Whatever, I’ll think about it.

Anyway, onto the main focus of this post: BRICK New York. BRICK was a studio I always intended to try while on ClassPass but for some reason never got around to it. I remember my roommate and a few of the Tone It Up girls in NYC saying that the workout was a very intense one, similar to the CrossFit Solace Body classes. So, after an extremely indulgent Fourth of July weekend, I figured it was a good time to kick my ass a little bit so that my body didn’t get too used to lounging on beaches and feasting on burgers and beers.

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Basic Breakdown

Class Name: B|X

Instructor(s): Kirsten Chilstrom

Neighborhood: Chelsea

Sweat Factor (out of 5): 5/5

Fun Factor (out of 5): 3/5

Class Overview: I arrived at the studio and after checking in and storing my bags downstairs in a locker, was directed towards the room where the B|X classes were held. Here at BRICK Chelsea, they offer their B|X Class, CrossFit, Running Endurance, and a new offering, B|Fit. (In case you’re interested, the B|Fit classes are closer to true CrossFit style, with barbells, weights and “gymnastics” – it’s a full body conditioning workout, but weights are not as heavy as CrossFit classes.) B|X, the class I was taking, is more strength building with “explosive dynamic movements,” incorporating smaller weights like kettle bells and medicine balls with body weight moves and cardio bursts.

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The B|X room was equipped with Trueform treadmills, bikes, and rowers; there were racks for dumbbells of various sizes, kettle bells, ab mats, and medicine balls. Our instructor for the day, Kirsten Chilstrom (who by the way, was one of the most fabulous looking women I have EVER seen), stood at the front by a dry erase board with what looked like a workout written on it. Kirsten made fun of us for just sitting around waiting for class to start, and encouraged us to do some cardio to warm up (which I totally did because when a woman like Kirsten tells you to run, you run).

Class was, for lack of a better word, fierce. I was right in my initial assumption that the board at the front was a workout… but it was only our warmup. I’ll list our full workout below (I breathlessly wrote it down in my iPhone Memos on my subway ride home), but it was 10 minutes of work that left me sweaty and panting. After the warm up, the rest of our workout consisted of four 7-minute stations, one boasting a more intense sequence than the next, and cooled down with a Tabata-style plank sequence. Here was our workout, from warm up to cool down:

Warm Up: 3 Rounds of the below:
-1 minute row or run
-3 wall walks (click here to see what those are. Spoiler alert: I couldn’t do them)
-6 push-ups
-9 air squats
-12 sets forward lunges

Station One: AMRAP (That’s ‘CrossFit’ for As Many Rounds As Possible) in 7 minutes
-100m on the treadmill
-6 kettlebell snatches (left hand)
-6 kettlebell swings (left hand)
-24 grasshoppers
-6 kettlebell snatches (right hand)
-6 kettlebell swings (right hand)
-24 grasshoppers

Station Two: Try to get through the whole set in 7 minutes! (Spoiler alert #2: I didn’t.)
– 70 jumping jacks
-60 v-ups
-50 air squats
-40 kettlebell swings
-30 sit-ups
-20 hand-release push-ups

Station Three: AMRAP in 7 minutes
-15 calories on the rowing machine
-5 burpees

Station Four: AMRAP in 7 minutes
-15 wall balls
-20 lateral jumps
-20 Russian twists with medicine ball

“Cool Down” Tabata Sequence x 3
-20 seconds forearm plank, 10 seconds off
-20 seconds right arm plank, 10 seconds off
-20 seconds left arm plank, 10 seconds off

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SO YOU KNOW IT WAS REALLY CASUAL AND NOT HARD OR ANYTHING.

Aka it was super hard, but I absolutely loved it. Although it was a lot of hard work the 45 minutes absolutely FLEW by. After months of complaining to my boyfriend that the workout classes at my new gym aren’t hard enough, I finally got the workout I was looking for. One that left me flat on my back, heart pounding, dripping with sweat, but ready to get my next class on the calendar.

CrossFit gets a lot of heat for a lot of different reasons but one thing that is not lacking in a CrossFit gym like BRICK is encouragement from everyone around you. Regardless of the fact that I am not a regular there, or that my workout routine lately is more barre3 than BRICK, everyone in the studio was friendly and supportive. Even as class ended, as I was picking myself up off the floor, one of the other B|Xers came over to ask how my first class was, and to let me know it’s still just as challenging the third, fourth and fifth time. After which, Kirsten, overhearing us, chimed in, “You make it challenging! You do all the work yourself!.”

Still a little sore two days later, but well worth an awesome class at BRICK.

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Additional Details:

  • You’ll receive a little orange towel for the class for the 15 gallons of sweat you will lose.
  • Lockers are B.Y.O.L (Bring your own lock… lol). They’re also separate from the bathroom / shower / changing room area, so you’ll have to bring all your stuff in with you if you need to wash up after class.
  • I happen to have very soft and ladylike hands (hehe) and could’ve benefitted from little workout gloves with the heavy kettlebell & rowing machine usage. So if you’re like me maybe bring those along.
  • BRING WATER OMG
  • They’ve got refreshments for sale up front, and I saw that they are a Kettlebell Kitchen delivery location. I remember some old CrossFit friends talking about that once, so probably a big selling point for some more than others.

Will Visit Again?: Hell yeah.. mostly to redeem myself 😉

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Love the Skin You’re In!

Hey Friends!

I wanted to use this post to share something very close to home, and communicate an important form of wellness that many of us forget to practice, especially in the summer months.

May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month. While skin cancer is one of the most treatable forms of cancer, it’s estimated that one in every five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. And of those, some may develop Melanoma, from which one American dies every hour. Skin cancer is so prevalent, so dangerous, and SO preventable – and I think it’s hugely important for people of all generations, but mostly our younger generations, to understand how they can protect themselves and their skin.

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Where’d I get this tan? My Instagram filter. #Valencia

When I was growing up, I knew the risks. I just had that whole “invincible” feeling that all teens and young adults have. Yes, I knew my mom had been diagnosed with Melanoma in her lifetime, and yes, I understood that my blonde hair, blue eyes, and fair skin made me even more susceptible to contracting skin cancer. But….I liked how I looked with a tan. So starting in my junior year of high school, to prep for my job at beachy retail store Hollister Co., for junior proms, and for my summer “base tan,” I began “fake baking” in UV tanning salons near my parent’s house in Queens. I kept that bronze skin through my college years at the University of Miami. Beach trips, pool-side study sessions, and endless time in the sun kept my skin looking sun kissed – and I loved it.

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Me in May 2008, just after high school graduation. That skin color = AHH!

I loved it until last February, when I went for my yearly dermatologist exam. I’d been back in New York almost two and a half years and my skin was back to that Northeastern, soft and fair color I grew up with. My dermatologist stopped over a spot in the middle of my back – one that I obviously couldn’t see myself. A quick biopsy determined that it was, in fact, melanoma. Luckily for me, it was T-level “tis” (melanoma in situ), a form of skin cancer that lives on the surface level of the skin, and is very easily treatable. My doctor was able to remove the entire affected region through a small excision surgery a few weeks later. Once the spot was removed, I was cancer free.

 

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Me (and Daniella, hi Dee!) this past January – any slight color is from a spray tan prior to this trip, and some bronzer (duh).

 

I got off easy. I know that now. For the amount of time I spent in the sun, slathering on oil to get that “Miami tan,” the amount of 10-minute sessions spent lying in a UV bed, the amount of times I skipped applying sunscreen for the first hour or so at the beach to get some color – I did more damage to my skin than I can even fathom. For me, skin cancer was one small scare that truly could have been much worse. And for many, it is much worse. That’s why I’m urging everyone to read about the risk factors associated with skin cancer, and learn the little things that can be done to prevent it. These things are as simple as wearing a light sunblock every day  (you can get face and body lotions with SPF in them), covering your skin when in the sun (wear a cute hat, stylish sunglasses and shirts that cover your shoulders), examining your own skin each and every month (look for strange freckles or weirdly-shaped moles), and visiting a dermatologist every year for a full skin check.

 

ABCDE

The “ABC”s of Skin Cancer – How to Identify a Potentially Cancerous Area or Mole

To be frank, I still like how I look with a tan. So I’ll spray tan before big events, apply tinted moisturizers to my face and legs, and don’t go anywhere without bronzer in my purse. (Need a recommendation on any of the above? I got em – tweet me!) It’s true – I think I look better with a tan. But at the end of the day, I KNOW I look better with clear, fair skin than covered in scars from skin cancer excisions. Even though it shouldn’t be about appearance, I know that was my downfall – and will likely be others’ as well. So remember, you can always #SprayThePaleAway!

Skin cancer is easy to treat, but it’s even easier to prevent. Do yourself a favor: take care of your skin, and you will be healthier, look younger, and live longer.

For more information on skin cancer, visit www.skincancer.org – or ask me any questions you like!

Click here to download a PDF on skin safety in the sun!

See you guys on the beach.

Greenwich Village | barre3 | Signature Class

Hi all!

It’s been a busy few weeks at work so I’ve been letting blogging take a back seat – but after working my “seat” so hard last night, I felt inclined to share my experience.

I’ve actually been meaning to review barre3 for a while. While I was on ClassPass, this was one of my I need to be on my phone at noon on the dot to reserve! classes. My obsession with barre in general was born this year, and I simply can’t get enough of it. Exhale, Pure Barre, The Bar Method, FlyBarre, Physique 57… the list goes on, I love each and every studio, and look forward to barre class every single time. Hey ClassPass! Make me a “BarrePass” app and let me just work my ass, abs, thighs and tris, whaddya say?!

Anyway, my birthday was last week, and barre3 generously offers their students a free class within the month of their birthday. So last night I visited the Greenwich Village location, just north of Washington Square Park.

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Basic Breakdown

Class Name: barre3

Instructor(s): Skylar Stetten

Neighborhood: Greenwich Village

Sweat Factor (out of 5): 3/5

Fun Factor (out of 5): 4/5

Class Overview: My favorite day of the week to do barre is Wednesdays. Something about Hump Day gets me in the mood for some squats and tucks. So I was very excited to have this on my schedule. The studio is super cute: small and compact in the lobby and waiting area, but because the workout area itself isn’t huge, there aren’t that many people present at a given time. The girls are reception are very sweet and welcoming, and the place is immactulately clean and well organized. After checking in and heading into the well-lit studio, myself and the other ladies in the class grabbed a resistance band, two sets of weights (I did 2 lbs and 4 lbs), and barre3’s signature bright orange resistance ball before finding a spot at the barre. My class was taught by Skylar, who was absolutely adorable. Smiley and energetic throughout the whole class, she really made the burn hurt a little less.

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What makes barre3 different from some other studios I’ve taken classes at (and why I’m quite fond of it) is the amount of time you spend elevating your heart rate. My boyfriend recently asked me, “When you leave barre class, sometimes you’re not even sweaty. Is it even a work out?” And I kind of share that mentality.  I know it’s wrong, but it’s just how my mind works. If I don’t sweat, I feel unsatisfied, like I haven’t worked hard enough. Which is why in barre3, those sections of large, dynamic moves to “flush out” your body really make me feel like I’m getting a total workout, and sculpting more of my body than in a traditional barre class.

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We began in the center of the room with some squats and weighted moves to wake up different muscles in our legs and booty. After we were warmed up (and I was sweaty), the group headed back to the barre for some thigh work. We went back and forth from the center of the room, where we did some cardio work and isometric holds, to the barre for toning and small range movements that made me shake like a leaf. The class ended on a mat, with some booty-bridge moves and an ab sequence that I basically cried through (on the inside). I know I only gave barre3 a 3/5 on “sweat score” – that doesn’t mean it’s not hard. It’s like, really hard. Like closing my eyes and breathing through the burn hard at times hard. But I LIVE for that burn, let me tell you. Regardless, I always leave feeling so revived, and so strong – and isn’t that why we’re all working out anyway?

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Basically, if it’s not apparent enough, I really love this place. I love the studio layout, I love the staff and instructors, I love the workout. I love barre in general, but this place, for some reason, holds this warm little place in my heart. In my happiest hour, you can find me at the barre. 😉

Additional Details:

  • Towels available, as well as water (but bring a bottle to fill up. Save the enviro, people!)
  • No showers, but changing rooms available.
  • There is plenty of locker space / hooks to store your stuff and hang your coats.
  • Socks are optional – I went barefoot, but if you wear socks, I’d recommend the grip socks so you don’t slide around.
  • Take Skylar’s class! She is a gem.
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Picture above: not me. 

*Bonus: You can also purchase a monthly membership to stream barre3 classes online. If you have an actual living room (and not a “walkway/kitchen/dining room/hallway/living room” like I do in my apartment), you can totally do this workout with a chair and a few barre essentials (ball, dumbbells, resistance bands!) at home. A great option! Totally telling my mom to give it a shot :p

Will Visit Again?: You know I will! One of the few places I will probably consider buying classes on top of my gym membership. Thanks, barre3!

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Me, during barre3 – just shake, shake, shaking it 😉

barre3 Images from: (1) Well & Good, (2) Well & Good, (3) barre3 Facebook page, (4) barre3 Facebook page.

Union Square | The North Face | Mountain Athletics

Spring has finally arrived in New York City after what has felt like an eternity of winter. I swear, I feel this way every year. I know we had it abnormally mild this year – remember when Christmas Eve was like, 65 degrees and we all were contemplating putting the gifts under tinseled Palm trees instead of Evergreens? No? Just me? Ok, moving on.

Anyway, this beautiful 50 and 60 degree weather has me like:

 

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So when I’m looking to plan my workouts, the last place I want to be is enclosed inside a sweaty gym – no matter how good the class is. I want to be OUTSIDE! Breathing New York’s clean and crisp and not-at-all polluted air!!!

I’ve been looking to differentiate my workout a bit (and also am taking a brief hiatus from Classpass) so I’ve been doing some exploring. Through my research, my wonderful friend and coworker Alexa and I came across The North Face’s Mountain Athletics training session on Twitter. It’s free. Yup, you read that right – completely, 100%, no hidden fees – FREE. All the time! Finding anything for free – let alone a workout class – in the money trap that is Manhattan is insane. I decided to get down and dirty, and give it a shot.

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Basic Breakdown

Class Name: The North Face Mountain Athletics

Instructor(s): Rachel & Alyssa

Neighborhood: Union Square

Sweat Factor (out of 5): 3/5

Fun Factor (out of 5): 4/5

Class Overview: After being stuck at my desk all day with lots of meetings and calls, I was SO excited to get my booty out of my office chair and down to Union Square. I practically skipped from the Union Square subway station until I saw the big, red ‘Train With Us’ sign that I had see on the Mountain Athletics Instagram account. Rachel & Alyssa greeted everyone with welcoming smiles, and by 6:30, we had a pretty big group assembled just north of Union Square Park.

Class began with a dynamic warm up series – walking lunges, jumping jacks, side-shuffles, butt-kicks, high knees, and the works. Once we were loose and ready to go, we split into groups of four for circuits (yay!). The stations were: 1) Tuck-Jump Burpees, 2) Cross-Over Mountain Climbers, 3) Isometric Squat, 4) Traveling Push-Ups, and 5) V-Ups. One minute at each station, then we rotated. This circuit was completed twice through, and was tough – especially the burpees. Then we did circuit two – a more booty centric circuit, so you know I loved it 😉 Stations were: 1) Alternating Glute Bridges, 2) Reverse Lunge to Single Leg Dead Life (Left Side), 3) Right Side, 4) Speed Skaters, and 5) Lateral Jump Burpees. Again, one minute each, twice through. Phew!

From circuits we moved on to partner work. First, one partner did Russian Twists while the other did Squat Thrusts holding their feet. Switch! Then, we did jump squats with high fives up top cause TEAMWORK and partner clapping pushups cause YAY ALMOST DONE. Our workout was completed by a quick abs circuit on the ground and then, obviously, a squad pic.

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Squad Goals

There was something truly different about this workout, I must say. I loved it because for the first time in a long time, I had no idea what to expect from a workout. And something about being outside just after sunset made me feel like I was 15 again, at soccer practice. No fancy boutique studio, no purified water filters, no brand-name face wash or hand lotions, no eucalyptus-soaked towels. At the end of the workout, I was dirty, sweaty, and felt like part of a team. What a cool way to work out. I seriously recommend this, at least to switch things up a bit. It’s a blast!

Additional Details:

  • Obviously, because it’s outside, there’s no place for bags / no place to change. Come ready for class. Everyone leaves their belongings together, and in sight at all times.
  • Bring hand sanitizer omg don’t forget. Your hands get so dirty!
  • If you’re like me and do your pushups on your knees, wear long pants. Concrete + bare knees = no no.
  • While the workout is challenging it’s easy to kind of take it easy. So remember to stay motivated throughout – you get what you put into it! No cheating when instructors look away!

Will Visit Again?: Yes, absolutely! Looking to try out Columbus Circle, too. 🙂

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Random dance meme

My Favorite Bars (Protein, that is)

There are just simply not enough hours in the day. Between crazy work schedules, social commitments, necessary family obligations, daily errands, rigid workout regimens, and then squeezing in a few hours to sleep, we often run out of time to plan our meals out the way we’d like to. In an ideal world, we’d all have time to prepare our breakfast, lunch & dinner ahead of time, ensuring highly nutritious plates and healthy snacks all day long. But the reality is, a lot of us end up having to grab-and-go when it comes to satisfying those mid-day hunger pains, or even settling for a quick lunch or dinner on the run. Enter the star of this post, keeping you from simply dying of hunger: the protein bar!

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Me, every day, approximately 2:30 PM.

It’s important to remember as you chose your snack or meal replacement – not every protein bar is created equally. Some are more like glorified candy bars, or just big chunks of solid peanut butter. Which – yes – sounds amazing. But you aren’t doing yourself any favors by choosing these brands. Usually very high in sugars and low in nutrients, many protein and granola bars will do little to satisfy your cravings, and lead you to eating again a few hours later. So although you are on the go, take an extra minute or two and check out the ingredients. Here are are five tips on choosing the best protein bars for your snacks.

  1. Fiber: Shoot for bars that have a minimum of 3 grams of fiber. This will fill you up more and prevent you from snacking mindlessly later, and also helps with digestion. Bars with less than 3 grams just won’t do the job if you’re looking to replace a meal or even satiate hunger between meals.
  1. Protein: Aim to choose a bar with at least 5 grams protein, for obvious reasons. More protein in your snacks means you’ll have more control over your appetite later int he day. You always want to have a good balance of both protein and fiber in every snack.
  1. Number of Ingredients: Rule number one: “The less ingredients, the better.” Rule number two: “The more ingredients you can pronounce, the better.” Avoid heavily processed bars, as they have additives with little nutritional value. If you can’t read it, don’t eat it!
  1. Calorie Count: Try to stay around 150-200 calories for bars that are snacks, and around 250-300 for meal replacement bars. Some protein and granola bars can have upwards of 500 calories!! Save your calories for full meals that you can savor for longer, and with more nutritional value.
  1. Sugar: This is probably the hardest for me, with my peanut butter obsession. Look out for added sugar in the ingredients list. For a little extra help finding those artificial sugars, look for  words that end in “-ose” and any “syrups.” Too many of those ingredient, and you should probably throw that bar back on the shelf. (*Note- bars with fruit in them will naturally have a higher sugar content. This is okay, but make sure there are no extra sugars added to these bars.)

 

So those are the golden rules of choosing a protein bar. Don’t even have time for that? Here are my three favorites for you grab and go if you only have a few seconds!

  1. Health Warrior Chia Bar – Dark Chocolate Coconut Sea Salt
  • 200 Calories
  • 10 grams protein
  • 5 grams fiber

HealthWarrior

  1. QuestBar Protein Bar – S’mores (Although all flavors are delicious!)
  • 180 Calories
  • 20 grams protein
  • 13 grams fiber

QuestBar

  1. Strong and KIND Bar – Thai Sweet Chili
  • 230 Calories
  • 10 grams protein
  • 3 grams fiber

KindBar

Snack smart and enjoy!

Originally written for Better Body Bootcamp Newsletter. 

Eat Healthy While Eating Out

Thanks to Leap Year, we’ve got one more day of February. Yay!

February is the month of love, and regardless of your relationship status, we all have someone that we should care deeply for and give a big, warm hug to – ourselves!

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Love yourself!

As we all know, it can be a struggle at times to stay true to our fitness goals, and to stay steadfast on our journey to the healthiest, happiest version of ourselves. The easiest way to put it – sometimes life gets in the way. How many times have you committed to a workout or healthy eating regimen and had it interrupted by an unhealthy corporate lunch, a heavy dinner out with friends, or a few too many indulgences at parties? We’ve all been there, and it’s dangerously easy to get down on yourself when you slip up.

But the important thing to remember is that, the same way we can get over small obstacles that appear in our relationships with others, we can easily overcome these hurdles in our relationships with ourselves and get back to where we start. Forgive, but don’t forget. Instead, move forward.

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Today, I want to tackle our relationships with the food we eat – and how to let our health goals and our social goals coexist without hindering each other. Going out to eat at restaurants can prove to be a very big challenge in keeping true to our healthy-eating habits. But following some simple tips will allow you to enjoy going out to eat instead of dreading or fearing it.

  1. Do a little stalking.
    If you know the name of the restaurant where you’ll be going out to eat, check out the menu beforehand. Go through the different sections of the menu and the options in each, and make a mental note of potential items to order and any substitutions you can easily make so that your meal is a little healthier.
  2. Talk to your waiter.
    He or she is your biggest ally here. Don’t be ashamed to ask if you can make substitutions. Choose veggies over starches for sides, opt for grilled protein over fried, and try appetizer-sized dishes over full-sized entrees to help with portion control.
  3. Place your order first.
    Before you hear “bacon cheese burger,” “mashed potatoes,” “fried cheese sticks” and other items that may cause your mouth to water and your mind to change, place your order. Don’t allow distractions to get in the way of ordering the healthiest meal for you.
  4. Eat half.
    If you order a large portion size for your meal, ask for a box from you waiter right away. Bring the other half home for your significant other, your kids, your dog, or your lunch the next day. This way, from the beginning of the meal, you are only looking at half of the normal portion size. Another way to divide and conquer is to share a meal with someone else at the table. Sharing is caring when you’re looking to whittle your middle! 😉
  5. Slow down.
    Take your time with your food. Put down your fork between every bite, and take some time to fully chew your food. This not only helps with digestion, but means it takes longer for you to finish your meal. Often, our hands move faster than our minds, and we shovel down our food completely before realizing we’re full. Slowing down will allow some time for your body to trigger you’re mind that, “We’re done! You can stop for now.” Saving you from overeating!
  6. Strive, not deprive.
    Remember that eating out should be an enjoyable experience. If you are absolutely dying for a margarita, get one, and sacrifice your appetizer. If you’ve been craving a brownie, split it with the rest of your table. Allowing yourself small indulgences will leave you feeling more satisfied, which will prevent binges later.

So go forth, grab some friends, and dine socially, healthily and happily! You can be well rounded without becoming too, well, rounded, after all! :p

Originally posted in the Better Body Bootcamp newsletter, February 2015.

Flatiron | Beebe’s Buttcamp | ‘A Well Rounded Workout’

Hey all!

I know it’s been a while since I posted. With the holiday season, the New Year’s Eve festivities, and a wedding in early January, I’ve essentially been on an IV of Champagne straight to the bloodstream. But I’m excited to get back into my fitness routine, move my ass from dance floors to studio floors, and shake some of those extra pounds off that ass.

Ah, speaking of booty…

My biggest complaint about ClassPass as a whole is that I can’t filter through classes based on the part of my body that I want to work out on a given day. Prior to CP, I used to go to the gym (and pretend I knew what I was doing lolz), choosing what I wanted to work on that day. Whether it was abs, booty, or arms, I’d attempt to focus on just that (and copy what all the really fit girls were doing). While ClassPass offers SO many options, I wish that, in the same way I can filter by ‘Activity,’ ‘Near,’ or ‘Amenities,’ I could filter by ‘Butt’ and get a list of all the classes that would get my booty burning. ARE YOU THERE CLASSPASS GOD? ITS ME, KRISTEN.

Which leads me to a few days ago. As I was recently scrolling through available classes, I was pleased to see that one class had ’00’ written before their name. And as everyone knows, before the days of the #peach emoji, ’00’ was the only way to send a subliminal ‘booty’ message. (The ’00’ also plants them at the top of the list – so smart.) And that is how I discovered Beebe’s Buttcamp.

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Basic Breakdown

Class Name: Beebe’s Buttcamp: A Well Rounded Workout

Instructor(s): Jasmine-Symone Gates

Neighborhood: Flatiron

Sweat Factor (out of 5): 3/5

Fun Factor (out of 5): 5/5

Class Overview: Beebe’s Buttcamp is held on the 9th floor of Steppin’ Out Studios on W 26th Street in the heart of the Flatiron district. When the elevator doors opened we were greeted by our instructor, Jasmine, who had a welcoming smile and super cute neon pink shorts on. We filtered our way into an open studio and grabbed two dumbbells and a resistance band.

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Let that sh*t burn

The class kicks off with a warm up that is basically a dance party – music loud, lights off; a similar setting to Vixen Workout. We did lots of aerobic, cardio-based movements to get our bodies ready for the ass-kicking (literally) they were about to receive. We did probably one million squats. …Okay, exaggeration. But it felt like it. Resistance bands around our knees,  we squatted, lifted, squeezed and pulsed until my butt felt like it was on fire. Throw in some leg lifts with the bands, more weighted squats and booty bridges and I was dreaming of crawling into bed. Then it was #TWERKTIME, when we did some more aerobic dance moves before a final few minutes of SERIOUS cardio burn (think high knees, jump squats, etc.). Class ended with a much-needed stretch-sesh.

“Just smile, so I know you’re all still with me,” Jasmine asked a few times through class. And truly, it was easy to do that. Like many of the cardio-dance classes I’ve done, Beebe’s was a blast. However, it’s a step up for me personally from the others, because of the super effective glute workout you get in addition to high-intensity cardio. The perfect class for Hump Day if I do say so myself.

As Sir MixALot once said, “You can do side-bends or sit-ups, but please don’t lose that butt.” Thank goodness for Beebe’s Buttcamp. I have seen the light. Memorial Day Weekend is just about four months away and I now know the way to a fabulous bikini booty.

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Instructor Jasmine gettin’ down with great form and greater booty shorts

Additional Details:

  • Resistance bands: They come in various sizes/resistances. Be sure you get the right one. Too little resistance, you won’t get the full effect of the workout. Too much and it’s almost uncomfortable.
  • I believe there are showers in the bathroom on the 9th floor.
  • No lockers available, but everyone lines their belongings up in the back and along the sides of the room, so no need to worry about leaving your stuff.
  • BYO water bottle + towel
  • If you have sneakers with good support, wear them – you’ll do a lot of jumping in the warm-up.
  • Get ready to GET LOW.

Will Visit Again?: I can’t wait to get this ass back to class – I’m bringing all my flat-butt friends with me.

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The key to success (or at least a fab bottom): Beebe’s Buttcamp

*BONUS BOOTYWORKOUT: Go back through this post and do a squat every time I wrote the word “booty”. You’re welcome. 00

NoMad | CrossFit Solace | Solace Body

I’m going to be 100% honest as I begin this post, as I am a terrible liar and I believe I owe it to anyone reading this to be entirely transparent about my experience at each of these studios that I try. My roommate called me after she had tried a class at Solace and, although completely out of breath, she managed to gasp “Kenny from The Challenge was the instructor of the class I just took!” I hadn’t watched the show, but I knew of Jess’s obsession with it. So after her breathing had slowed to a normal pace, she told me a little more about the class (and about how I just had to see Kenny in person!) and I agreed to work it into my ClassPass rotation.

I was super intimidated by the name of the studio -“CrossFit Solace.” CrossFit? Me? Not two things I would normally put together. But I checked out the description of the class:

Sweat and burn. Strengthen and tone. Shred insane calories. Stop going to classes that don’t teach you anything.”

I was like …oh. These are things I want to do while working out. Okay, I’ll try it. So off I went, on a Monday evening after work, across town to CrossFit Solace with Kenny Santucci.

Solace Logo

Basic Breakdown

Class Name: Solace Body

Instructor(s): Kenny Santucci

Neighborhood: NoMad

Sweat Factor (out of 5): 5/5

Fun Factor (out of 5): 3/5

Class Overview: I arrived at Solace for my 6:45 class and saw the class before me finishing up, and I was immediately terrified. Everyone kind of looked like they were… dying. I tried instead to distract myself by the sleek, clean look of the studio. Bare wood featured simple yet elegant lettering spelling out ‘SOLACE’ on the back wall of the studio. The space was open, airy, and smelled clean – despite the obvious perspiration on each of the class participants’ foreheads. Green moss covered some of the wall space. The entire place resembled an urban garden / playground.

Solace-Gym

I changed (after checking out the immaculately clean bathroom that shares the urban garden feel) and headed out to the main area, again trying not to watch the class before me struggle to finish their last circuits. The class finally ended and immediately, Kenny called his 6:45 class into the training area. :gulp: His next victims.

Spoiler alert: I survived. But not unscathed. The class was tough. Or as the kids are saying these days, “hard AF.” We started immediately – no introductions or easing into the routine. We each grabbed kettle bells for our warm up. The circuit consisted of one arm kettle bell swings (20 seconds each arm), kettlebell round 8s, and circling the kettle bell around our heads. The “strength” portion consisted of kettle bell snatches and deadlifts – ‘Tabata style’ – 5 rounds of 20 seconds each.

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ASSAULT AIRBIKES OF DOOM

Then there was the “Conditioning” portion. Here’s where my whole life flashed before my eyes. We did an intense circuit four times through. First circuit lasted :30, then 1:00, followed by :45 and a final :30 circuit. We started on the ‘Assault AirBikes’ and assault you they do. Then we did push-up-pull-throughs, plyo-lunges, rows on hanging rings, and box jumps. It was brutal; I’ll admit, I needed to hold Kenny’s hand for the first few box jumps (poor me!). But I made it through without falling on my face!

CrossFit-Solace-quote

Overall – for lack of better terminology, I got my ass kicked. But what a workout. Kenny had a “tough love” attitude, calling you out and pushing you hard even when you thought you couldn’t, but I work well under pressure like that. Plus he’s pretty easy on the eyes so it’s hard to not feel a little extra motivated 😉

kitty

Additional Details: 

  • Super clean locker / shower area with towels available for use
  • No towels allowed in the main workout area!
  • There’s also a yoga class offering here that I’d like to try, as well as the ‘Sculpt’ class.
  • I recommend Kenny’s class if you have the option!

Will Visit Again?: Absolutely. Once I can walk normally again. :-p

TriBeCa | Drill Fitness | Multiple Classes

My obsession with Drill Fitness went from 0 – 100 real quick.

I checked it out thanks to an old friend, Michelle Lamelza, with whom I worked in a restaurant prior to moving to Manhattan. Michelle now teaches at a few different studios across the city, and I saw her posting on Instagram about Drill Fitness. She would hashtag #IntensityIsAddictive in a bunch of her posts and I was like “Damn, sounds legit.” I was so curious as to what this TriBeCa studio that I had never heard of was and so I signed up to try it out. How did it turn out? Well, they always said I’d find love where I least expected it. ❤

Main Studio with lots of natural light - for HIIT and Lean Burn classes

Main Studio with lots of natural light – for HIIT and Lean Burn classes

Basic Breakdown

Class Name: Focus: Arms & Shoulders; HIIT

Instructor(s): Justin Sanchez, Diana Mitrea

Neighborhood: TriBeCa

Sweat Factor (out of 5): 5/5

Fun Factor (out of 5): 3/5

Class Overview: So I have done two different classes at Drill at this point, so I’ll do a brief recap of both.

HIIT – I’ve taken two HIIT classes with Diana and I could not believe how hard she kicked my ass – both times. The HIIT classes consist of “drills” – two or three moves done for a set amount of time followed by a rest, 2 – 3 rounds through. Think kettlebell swings, squats, lunges, weighted shoulder presses, etc. Then, there is a Tabata round – if you’re familiar with Tabata you know how that leaves you huffing and puffing by the end. Then, repeat that whole process another time or two, and wrap up class with some serious core work that will leave your abs burning. Besides the fact that the workout itself is insanely effective (and hard as hell), the instructors push you to give it your all. “Don’t make me come over and tell you in front of everyone that I know you can work harder,” Diana yelled in one of our classes. “Just give it your all! You can do it!” It’s challenging, but super motivating.

Added bonus: they encourage students to borrow heart rate monitors from the front desk for each class. I was SO glad I did this. It helps you see where you’re at in terms of your effort through the class. Meaning during the drills/Tabatas, you want to be up “in the red,” where your heart rate is highest, and bring it down while you are resting between sets. This really helps you visualize the workout in front of you and see exactly where you stand and how much harder you can push yourself. Don’t make plans to do too much the day after one of these HIIT classes because your body will be hurtin’ real good.

Studio for Focus Classes with Versaclimbers

Studio for Focus Classes with Versaclimbers

Focus: Arms & Shoulders – I took this class on a whim. I have essentially no upper arm strength or definition and after recently wearing a shoulder-bearing dress to an event realized that I need to not forget about my arms. I had never done a class, ever, with a focus on my arms so I was completely convinced my arms would just fall off in defeat. (Spoiler alert: they didn’t. But it was close.) This class, with Justin, was set up in circuits, utilizing dumbbells, Concept 2 Rowers, and Versaclimbers (simulated ladder-climb machine). There were three circuits through, and each circuit included two stops at each station. Sometimes the focus was on speed, other times on form, but the circuit was designed to target each part of your arm/shoulder effectively. Justin was an amazing instructor. I was inspired by his arms (and by inspired I mean “in love with,” but you know the drill). I was sore for DAYS after this class. Although the focus was only on specific areas, the class still kept your heart rate up by incorporating cardio. They can’t not leave us sweaty messes, after all – another slogan for the studio is #EarnYourShower.

Overall, the classes I have done at Drill have felt to be the most effective of any other studio I’ve found on ClassPass. It’s like every move is chosen with intent vs. other places, where I feel as if instructors have set-in-stone routines and are just going through the motions. It’s the first studio that’s mad me consider buying classes outside my ClassPass package – 3x a month just doesn’t feel like enough. So to the Drill family….

Spongebob Thank You

Additional Details: 

  • Lockers, Bathrooms, and Showers all located downstairs. Everything is clean and high quality. Plenty of hair ties, sprays and lotions so you can go on with your day after your sweat sesh
  • SUPER YUMMY smoothies available for purchase at the front desk – I tried the Pumpkin Peanut Butter…. #nomnomnom
  • Plenty of towels for you to use during/after class
  • Heart rate monitors can be borrowed from the front desk
  • Tons of different class offerings – try them all! I plan to 🙂
  • Take a class with Michelle if you can. She is an angel but will kick your ass 😉

Will Visit Again?: Hell yeah!

Midtown East | Throwback Fitness | Throwback

Let me set the scene for you.

It was a Sunday morning and my alarm was blaring even though it was already well past 10 AM. I rolled out of bed, basically crawling to the kitchen for some coffee. My roommate Jess and I had signed up for a noon class at Throwback Fitness – a studio we’d seen within the ClassPass files but had not tried yet. Only problem was we were in recovery mode after being out late the night before, each waiting for the other to suggest canceling class despite the fee, but neither of us wanting to give up.

Little did we know that was only the first of many times we’d be squaring off against one another that Sunday, willing ourselves to push through the pain; and little did we know how thrilled we would be that we hadn’t cancelled class.

Enter Throwback Fitness

Enter Throwback Fitness

And so we “threw back” some coffee, pulled on our sneakers, and headed uptown, making it to class only about one minute late. (Sorry, Ryan!)

Basic Breakdown 

Class Name: Throwback

Instructor(s): Ryan Wilke

Neighborhood: Midtown East

Sweat Factor (out of 5): 3/5

Fun Factor (out of 5): 5/5

Class Overview: Neither of us were sure what to expect when we arrived at the studio, but were greeted by Ryan, our stud of an instructor, upon arriving. Hoping our eyes weren’t too bloodshot, we introduced ourselves and got settled. Ryan began the class with a warm-up: laps around the 2nd-floor studio. After the run, we played a get-fit version of 20 Questions; here’s how it went. Ryan split our class of 5 into two teams. Ryan would think of a person, place or thing, and each of us could ask one yes-or-no question at a time. But here’s the catch: before we could ask a question, we needed to complete 7 squats and 7 mountain climbers. Then you could run to Ryan and ask the question. There were no real winners here except for Ryan, who probably got a good laugh from us running up to him and breathlessly whispering, “IS IT SOMEWHERE YOU GO TO RELAX?” …Clearly we were tired.

Then it was time for “Phys. Ed.” The Phys Ed portion of class was an individual workout of 90-seconds on the Rowing Erg and then 90-seconds off the Erg, doing an Increasing Ladder of Renegade Rows + Hollywoods. This 90-seconds on/90-seconds off lasted for 15 minutes – which I thought would be a breeze but was obviously wrong. By round 3, I was already feeling it, and still had a ways to go. Halfway through, Ryan realized that Jess and I, working on rowing machines next to one another, were only about 50 meters apart. It became a race to the end – Ryan announcing our distances and keeping the rest of the class informed of our neck-and-neck status up until the buzzer (finally) went off. I basically collapsed (in defeat) off my rowing machine upon completion – it was quite a workout. I forget how intense rowing is, and combined with the off-the-erg strength training, it proved to be an intense part of the class.

Next up was “Recess.” Wild Wild West style. After a quick ab session of flutter kicks and low planks, we were again split into two teams. (Ryan asked for our favorite “Fall Drink” as our team name; while Jess fed into the “White Girl” stereotype choosing Pumpkin Spice Lattes, I shouted, “Pumpkin Beer!” Which says a lot about who I am as a person.) So Team PSL faced off against Team Beer. Half of us started on the erg, and were instructed to sprint to 200 meters as fast as we could. Our opponent would face the rowing machine and perform 28 pushups (round 1) and then 40 squats (round 2). Each of us armed with a tiny water gun, the winner of each round would get to squirt the other. The third and final face-off round was off the erg: sit-ups and burpees (everyone’s FAVORITE!). Then we did a nice stretch-session to end the workout.

ThrowBack1

This class – above everything else – is SO much fun. The ambiance is bright, personal and welcoming. Between the 90s-inspired decor, total throwback playlist, and encouraging instructors, it’s very hard not to feel comfortable in this setting, regardless of your fitness level. That rowing machine combined with strength training will kick your butt, but it does it in a way that I’ve never seen at other studios – by making it a friendly competition. It’s not often you find a class that you can laugh through while still getting an effective workout. I think next time Jess and I try this, I won’t play as hard for Team Beer the night before. But regardless, it got me moving, kept a smile on my face the whole time, and was a fantastic way to start my Sunday. Plus, the personalized e-mail today from Ryan thanking us for stopping by was a real nice touch 🙂

Additional Details: 

  • Cubbies are available to store your stuff, and they have towels there for your use. No showers just yet.
  • The vintage looking shirts are SO CUTE. Almost impulse-bought one on the way out.
  • While this class is not the most intense I’ve done, I believe a lot has to do with how hard you push yourself. It’s designed to be effective, but you have to put the work in to feel the results.

Will Visit Again?: Definitely! 🙂