By Margo Donohue (aka, Brooklyn Fit Chick)
Pole dancing has grown from a few cool, off-the-beaten-track studios in LA to an increasing popular classes that can be found all over the country. And it’s no wonder why when you see the insanely fit, strong and lithe bodies of pole dance instructors and their devoted clientele. Sure, we make jokes about not wanting our daughters “on the pole” but when from a fitness-perspective this type of dance deserves a lot of respect—pole dancing can burn fat and build muscle as well as, or better than, most gym-based workouts!
Back in 2012, dancers Kyra Johannesen and Lian Tal Lebret decided to give NYC a go and launched Body & Pole after renting a space from a yoga studio to teach ten pole dancing classes per week. Over the next year and a half the demand for their classes has increased to the point that now they have a store front space right in the center of the busy Chelsea district taking up several floors, offering over 140 classes per week with some of the most gorgeous and fit instructors you will ever see in your life!
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New Year’s Eve. A night of champagne toasts, smooching loved ones, staying up way too late, and boogying the night away. At the start of the year this is feels like a fitting celebration. But it’s important to remember that calories still count on special occasions, no matter how much you’d like to think otherwise. One night of overdoing it can set you back several steps when it comes to meeting your resolutions. As in, if you wake up on January 1 feeling tired, hung-over, and a few pounds heavier than on December 31st, chances are slim you’ll reach for a healthy, well-balanced breakfast first thing of the morning. So, have fun, but plan ahead.
Try to drink at least a glass of water between each cocktail—this will slow your rate of drinking, hydrate your body, and may even help you drink less overall. And be choosy about what you put into your body. Remember, sugary-tasting drinks are usually pretty high in calories. Choosing to mix liquor with soda instead of tonic water can save you hundreds of calories by the end of the night. Finally, to negate all of those extra calories you do consume, start dancing. Dancing is a great way to kickstart the metabolism, plus it’s fun to do!
Here’s how long you’ll have to shake it to burn off these popular these popular drinks:
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I recently met a new friend who told me about a fun, unique cardio “class” that she attends every week called Dance Walk. This is exactly what it sounds like: a combination of dancing and walking (think Parkour meets Prancercise). Brooke Null, owner of Hooped, leads this Dance Walk group in Boulder, Colorado every Wednesday morning and she first learned about this new fitness phenomenon after seeing this video created by television reporter (and Dance Walker) Ben Aaron.
Null explained, and Aaron demonstrated, that to participate you just need to make a playlist of songs (that are fun to dance to), headphones and the inhibition to just let go. I’ll admit, I was a little nervous before my first Dance Walk experience. Would I be comfortable dancing around town in front of a bunch of strangers?
Within thirty seconds of Dance Walking, I forgot about all of those nerves and just allowed myself to let the music move me. I, along with a group of seven other men and women, danced our way around the streets of downtown Boulder for a full hour. Some people stopped and stared at us or laughed, others paid us no attention at all. Some took out their phones to take pictures or video, and almost every single person smiled. Some people even joined in for a few seconds and then went back to what they were doing.
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I am very aware that I have no rhythm. Despite that fact (and much to my husband’s chagrin) I still love to dance. I dance at weddings, concerts, in my living room, and even in the car. My motivation for being a self-proclaimed dancing queen is that it’s fun - but it doesn’t hurt that dancing also burns a ton of calories. According to Health.com, 30 minutes of dancing burns 221 calories (which would vary based on the individual, of course). I believe it too – just look at how much weight the contestants on Dancing With the Stars lose. To be a dancing queen, you’ve got to have the right music that gets you fired up. There’s no better music to bust out a move to than that made by my guiltiest of guilty pleasures: boy bands.
Debby Wong / Shutterstock.com
My love of boy bands is very deep-rooted. As a child I was obsessed with New Kids on the Block (I was a Joey girl). In fact (at the tender age of 10-years-old) NKOTB was my very first concert. My appreciation for squeaky clean boys who performed choreographed dance moves while singing brilliant harmonies continued through grade school on in to college. I’m not ashamed to admit that I saw Backstreet Boys and ‘N Sync in concert between the summer of my junior and senior years of college. To this day my heart beats a little faster when Quit Playing Games With My Heart or I Want You Back comes on the radio (and that results in some serious car dancing).
I recently conducted a little experiment in the privacy of my own basement to find out which boy band gets me the most pumped and results in the biggest calorie burn. To measure how many calories were burned during each song I relied on my trusty old Polar Heart Rate monitor. I selected eight different songs from eight different boy bands (ranging from NKOTB to One Direction) and put on my dancing shoes. Even though I am a little more partial to certain boy bands over others, I made sure to keep my dancing completely unbiased and consistent.
The results are shown below from lowest to highest calorie burn (based on average heart rate). Each band/song is listed followed by the length of time (of the song), total calories burned and average heart rate.
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In the high heat of summer it’s good to have a go-to workout that can be done indoors.
Colleen Ketchum, creator of BeyondBarre, has devised a series of exercises rooted in ballerina training. The BeyondBarre Home Workout requires the use of a ballet barre, a handrail that is used during ballet warm ups. If you do not have access to a ballet barre, a good old fashioned counter top will do just fine.
The barre workout will tighten your core, strengthen arms and legs, and work the glutes. The entire regimen is quick and easy, a perfect workout when you have limited time to squeeze in exercise during the busy summer months.
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