Tag Archives: spinning

Row, Row, Row to Get Fit Like Frank Underwood (It’s Better Than Spinning!)

frank underwood rowing

Oh, boy. House of Cards is back this week, and who isn’t excited? The extremely popular television show premiered on Netflix two years ago, and even though we got a brief flirtation with a third season, our long wait is finally over. Though we all appreciate the entertainment value in House of Cards (or any Netflixbinge-worthy show), we have to at least mention Frank Underwood’s stellar shape.

In the first season of House of Cards, Frank’s wife Claire buys him a rowing machine, to which he replies, “It looks positively medieval, doesn’t it?”. He isn’t as avid a runner as she is, and she wants him to stay fit so the two of them can continue their Napoleon-esque takeover of D.C.

Claire is certainly a healthy fitness inspiration, but her reign of influence has caused a boost in the popularity of rowing since a machine moved into her basement, and it is no wonder why. Rowing is a tremendously beneficial activity to add to your fitness routine.

“Rowing is awesome because it pulls double duty,” explained DietsInReview’s Kelly Turner, a personal trainer and fitness journalist. “It’s an amazing cardiovascular workout, but the motion and resistance of the rowing machine also counts as strength training.” (more…)

The Hottest Fitness Trends to Rock Your Body in 2015


Each year the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) surveys its membership of fitness professionals (myself included) to identify the top trends in fitness. The 2015 list was recently published with, in my opinion, only a few surprises.

What did surprise me on this list? Outdoor activities are #12! I see and hear a lot about running in fitness circles, but not much else. Most popular classes and activities take place in some sort of gym, be it a commercial one or the budget home gym you created in the spare bedroom. I would love to see more people get off the spin bike and on the bike path. Hiking is a new love of mine and, unlike the treadmill, it does wonders for your body and soul. Boot camps are last on the ACSM list at #20. They are still very popular in the Midwest so I am curious what group fitness trend will be taking their place. What are you seeing where you live?

Agree or disagree, here are five “big” fitness trends you can look forward to in the coming year.

1. Body weight training and High Intensity Interval Training came in #1 and #2, respectively, on the ACSM list. This worries me for two reasons. One, the high rate of injury that goes along with beginners starting at too high of intensity as well as over-training, and two, the level of burnout that often follows. I think body weight exercises are great. They can be some of the most challenging exercises you can do, but if proper form isn’t developed before adding the explosive intensity of popular programs like Insanity or P90X you may be asking for trouble.

Trend tip: Perfect your form on squats, push-ups and other body weight exercises slowly before adding weight or plyometrics. 

9 Places You Can Workout Next to a Celebrity in LA, New York, and Chicago

OMG! It’s really them! That moment you realize you’ve identified a celebrity in the wild, out amongst mere mortals, living “just like us,” can be rather thrilling. For those who live in LA or NYC, it’s all too common to dine next to the hottest faces and grocery shop elbow to elbow with leading ladies, but for people in the other 48 states, running in to a celebrity on vacation is one of the souvenirs you hope to collect.

If you’re planning an active vacation this summer, hit these workout hot spots and you’re likely to sweat right alongside an OMG-moment-worthy celeb.

Picture or it didn’t happen, your friends will say after your excited tweet. But should you even let them know you know it’s them?

“When I see celebs in the gym, I think it’s poor personal etiquette to approach them during their workout,” advised Dan Flores, RTSm, a master personal trainer based in New York City. “I value my personal gym time and would hate to be interrupted. I would approach them after they were finished and on their way out of the gym.”

— New York City

heidi klum russell simmons

Central Park is no stranger to the rich and famous; in fact, it’s practically their cardio playground. Free to enter, take your morning run to one of the most famous landmarks in the world and you’re sure to spot a name or two worth bragging about. Heidi Klum, Russell Simmons, and Gwyneth Paltrow are on the extremely short list of A-listers you’ll run or down-dog along with!

The Mark Hotel has a state-of-the-art fitness facility that rivals any gym getting your membership fees. Book your stay here, and your workout may coincide with that of Oprah, Sarah Silverman, Larry David, David Beckham, Jennifer Lopez, and even dignitaries like the President of France! (more…)

6 Ways Clubbing in Your 20s Prepped You for Cycling in Your 30s

Last week Shape.com ran an article that had me laughing out loud at my computer. It was basically a “Sure Signs You’re Over 30” story for fitness junkies and the assessment was spot-on. They wrote about how us older gals may be up at 5AM, but it’s to head out on a run, not to stumble home from a big night out. Or how massages are now a part of our maintenance routines, not just an occasional indulgence.

The article was truly amazing and a must-read for anyone who’s still going strong after the big 3-0. In fact, I couldn’t help but be inspired to think of my own amended version last night while in my favorite indoor cycling class. With the lights out and the music thumping I thought back to those fun nights 10+ years ago, which in no way resemble my “Game of Thrones” fueled evenings now.

Those were the days! But boy am I glad they’re over. At any rate, without further ado, here are 6 things that never change, whether you’re a dance club kid or an indoor cycling class queen!


cycle shorts

  1. In cycling class you still worry about what your butt looks like. Only now you’re wearing padded shorts which, let’s face it, don’t really flatter any figure.cycle water
  2. You still spill your drink on yourself on the bike. Only this time it’s water dribbling down your chin and onto your spandex top, not vodka red bull. Way less sticky! (more…)

9 Signs You’re Addicted to Indoor Cycling

Whether you cycle at the gym or at a cycling specific studio like Soul Cycle or Flywheel Sports, there’s a good chance you’ll go from amateur to addict after a few short sessions. Here are the telltale signs you’ve already made the transition:

cycling shoes

  1. You carry cycling shoes in your purse. Just in case your dinner date cancels/your lunch hour frees up/your favorite instructor announces he’s subbing that afternoon. (more…)

Bobby Flay’s Recipe for Getting in Shape: Running, Spinning, and Eating

What do you know about Food Network star Bobby Flay other than the guy really knows his way around a grill?

He is married to Stephanie March. He is a feisty, good-looking redhead. His specialty is barbecue–classy barbecue. Like, culinary school barbecue. And? He is super duper fit. Flay has focused on getting fit over the past few years, which is wonderful for a world famous chef. How does someone who works around the best food all day long do it?

bobby flay fit

His recipe includes early morning runs, delicious lunches, biking with his wife, lifting weights with pals, and making lighter brunches. Nothing superstar here, they’re activities that all of us can take part in!

One of my very favorite exercise tips from Flay? Get inspired, and do what you love. For him that’s morning runs, enjoying foods he loves, and even trying new things — something that comes naturally to a chef — like yoga and spin.

Flay is in noticeably in shape, probably the best of his career, and he will tell you exactly how he got there during a new web series that tells his get-fit story on Food Network. It’s totally relateable for the average Joe, which is fantastic for, oh, all of us! He talks about his love of running, but also encourages us to walk around for exercise if that is all we are capable of. (more…)

Professor Disputes Tracy Anderson Spinning Claims

Remember all of the hubbub yesterday about celeb trainer Tracy Anderson‘s knock against spinning, when she said cycling caused big quads?  Well, the jury is sort of out on this one.

spin class

I’ve read two contradictory articles: In this ABC News story, Cedric Bryant, the chief science officer for the American Council on Exercise, refutes Anderson’s claims, saying it would be hard to bulk up the quad muscles. However, in an article on the Today Show’s website, Michael Mantell, the senior fitness consultant for behavioral sciences for ACE, offers up a few quotes in an article that supports Anderson’s claim.

Huh? (Might be time to get your stories straight, ACE!)

To set the record straight I tapped one final, ultra-knowledgable source, Michele Olson, PhD, professor of exercise science at Auburn University Montgomery.


Spinning Gave Me Strength, if Not Thigh Gap

My twitter feed was blowing up this morning. The hot topic: Tracy Anderson telling Redbook magazine, “Spin may burn calories in the short term, but if that’s all you’re doing, it’ll bulk up your thighs.”


This did not sit well with the SoulCycle loving masses.



Anderson quickly changed her story via ABC news, saying: “I’ve never said that spinning makes you gain weight. What I’ve said is that spinning creates an imbalance in the muscular system. It bulks the thigh and butt muscles. You develop mass by working these same muscles over and over.”


Wear the Part: How Your Wardrobe Can Really Affect Your Workout

It might not be something that you spend too much time thinking about, but the clothing and shoes that you wear while exercising can have a pretty significant effect on how successful your workout is. Everything from what you wear on your head to your feet (and everywhere in between) plays a part in how comfortable you are at the gym, on the trails, or wherever your workout happens to be that day.

Here’s four tips to help you dress the part and have your clothing work for you when you exercise:


1. Choose clothing that is suited for the activity that you’re doing.

Wearing clothing that’s fun yet practical (and that you feel good in!) can make a huge difference in your attitude! If you’re feeling uncomfortable in what you’re wearing or constantly tugging and pulling on your clothing, you’ll be far less likely to enjoy your workout.


Consider which type of top and bottom you’ll be most comfortable in. If you are blessed to have thighs that don’t rub together, running shorts might be what you prefer. If you’re not so lucky (and experience that ever-so-fun chafing effect), consider tight fitting long shorts or capri pants that provide a bit of compression and support.

Stationary Bike / Indoor Cycling

Make sure that your pants are not loose-fitting as they can get caught in the pedals.


Wear clothing that’s comfortable and is not too tight or constrictive on the body in any way.

Strength Training

Consider the muscle groups that you’ll be training. I like to wear shorts when I work out my legs and tops that show off my shoulders or back when working those muscle groups. Being able to see the part of your body that you’re training might give you a bit more motivation (and help show off the results!). (more…)

Les Mills’ RPM Cycle Classes are Worth the Ride

Les Mills is a fitness regimen that covers what the company believes is needed to give gym goers an overall fit body. Within the Les Mills family is an indoor cycling class called RPM, which can be fun. Like other indoor cycling classes, it depends on the energy given by the instructor. We check it out so you know what to expect on your first, or subsequent, visits.

lesmills rpm

What is Les Mills RPM?

Choreography is already in place, so every instructor teaches the same tracks and gives the same overall workout. Unlike more traditional classes, RPM has its own positions. Instead of first, second, and third position it uses “ride easy,” “standing climb,” “power climb,” “aero racing,” and “standing attack.” These positions allow the rider to better utilize both the quads and the hamstring muscles while keeping the core active.

Anyone who has ever been to an indoor cycling class can probably testify that the first time they were told to “engage your hamstrings” in second position it was very challenging! (more…)