By Nellie Acevedo for DietsInReview.com
Have you ever gotten bored with doing the same workout, week after week, month after month? *raises hand* I know I have. The repetitive nature of going for a run or to spin class can drive you crazy, and once in a while you want to try something different, something that awakens new muscles while keeping you mentally engaged. That workout is POUND Fitness.
When I walked into the class held at the Carlton in Midtown NYC, I was introduced to the founders of Pound Fitness — Kirsten Potenza and Christina Peerenboom. I was handed two Ripstix™ (light weighted drumsticks) to “rock out while I workout.”
The founders graciously took the time to get to know us and share background on how POUND Fitness started. Kirsten and Christina were both tired of the group fitness scene, often feeling like it was competitive and stiff. As drummers they realized that several muscle groups — including the core — are activated when there is the motion of beating the drums on a drum set.
In their own words: “POUND is a full-body workout that combines cardio, conditioning, and core work with the excitement and euphoria of drumming.” (more…)
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!
- 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.
- 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…)
A new trend is officially gaining steam: Healthy Birthday Celebrations! When it come time to blow out the candles, it seems like boozing and binging are out and exercise and eating well are in.
To be fair, this could be a sign of being a certain number of years out of college, but I don’t think getting older is the only thing at work here. It’s probably about getting wiser too. I have definitely noticed an increase in the healthier birthday party: For my roommate’s birthday a year or two ago, we all woke up at six in the morning to go on a group run. We spent the rest of the day antique shopping, walking around town (even more exercise), and ended the night with a glass of champagne each.
That’s right. Birthdays do not have to be about totally throwing your healthy lifestyles out the window. Here are some fabulous (and yes, still really fun!) ideas for a more adult birthday party. Enjoy!
Fitness Class Fun
Yoga, Zumba, Indoor Cycling, Pilates, ballet, kickboxing?! There are so many different exercise classes that are an extremely good time—why not bring your friends? Your birthday wish can (and should!) absolutely revolve around getting your best pals to join the fitness class you love. A lot of gyms and fitness centers have group rates or bring-a-friend prices, so definitely take advantage of them. What better way to start a new year in your life than with a little healthy sweat alongside your best friends?
Group Run Get-Together
Similarly, a nice group run is a wonderful way to set yourself up for success. Start your special day off right with a gorgeous run outdoors. Yes, gyms are great, and treadmills are good for your joints, but Vitamin D is important and it’s a lot more fun to run en masse in a park or along a trail. You can even theme the run. How fun would it be to run with birthday hats on or along a trail of landmarks from your childhood? Make it a little more interesting and your friends will definitely be in.
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:
- 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…)
We all know that swimming is a great, low-impact, full-body workout. But it’s not the only way to get in shape in the water. Over the last few years, traditional strength training, cardio workouts, and even yoga have taken to the water to deliver a form of exercise that is easy on the joints and effective at toning and strengthening the muscles. Sure, there’s water aerobics. But there are also a handful of other fitness styles that have taken the plunge into the pool, creating an entirely new experience for some of your favorite group exercises classes.
Here’s an introduction to five popular group fitness classes that you wouldn’t expect to take place in a pool:
Aqua Zumba adds a fun challenge to one of the most popular group exercise classes in the world. The concept and moves are the same as in a traditional Zumba class, but the extra resistance created by pushing against the water adds a great strength-training element to the workout. The class is held in shallow water (about chest height for the average participant) and the instructor is positioned near the ledge of the pool (so that everyone can see her movements and follow instruction). Aqua Zumba is described as a fun pool party- where you don’t even realize that you get a great workout.
We all know that there are many ways that you can get in shape for free. Riding your bike outside, going for a run, or even doing a bodyweight workout at home don’t cost a thing. But these are all at-home workouts and lets face it—exercising at home doesn’t work for everyone. There are a lot of us who need to actually go someplace to work out.
Visiting a gym allows me to add variety to my workouts by using different equipment and attending different classes. In a single week I might try indoor cycling, Bodypump, yoga and Zumba. But a major downside to joining a gym or going to an exercise studio is the cost. Health club and exercise studio memberships certainly aren’t cheap, but there are definitely ways to make them more affordable (and even free!).
Here are five ways to trim some of the cost off of gym memberships and exercises classes:
Take Advantage of Trial Memberships at Gyms and Health Clubs
Many national health club chains like 24 Hour Fitness, Gold’s Gym and and Anytime Fitness offer free passes with no obligation and some can be used for an entire week! This is a great way to check out a gym before actually signing a contract (or go turbo for a week right before or after vacation). Additionally, most exercise studios that specialize in yoga, cycling, and more will comp your first class or give you a deeply discounted trial period. For example, Core Power yoga studios offer unlimited yoga for one week for new students! Also, be sure to check out the schedule at your local yoga studios: most offer at least one donation-based or free class each week.
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!
Exercise trends typically come and go but some fitness fads have real staying power. Here are some of the most popular fitness trends from 2013 and a look at what trends we expect to see more of in 2014:
The Best of 2013
1. CrossFit: There’s little doubt that CrossFit dominated the fitness scene in 2013. The number of CrossFit gyms continued to grow exponentially and the numbers of participants registering for that CrossFit Games more than doubled. I predict that CrossFit’s popularity will continue to rise in 2014, despite its (many) critics.
When I initially decided to join a gym about ten years ago I pretty much only ever stayed in one very small area of the building: the cardio section. I would walk in, jump on the treadmill or elliptical trainer for about 45 minutes and leave. I wasn’t really sure what to do in the weight room and found it to be pretty intimidating, so I steered clear of it altogether. But then I got bored. I decided that I wanted to start doing exercise in the form of strength training to build some muscles! And then one day, as if by fate, I noticed a flyer for a new class that the gym was offering: Les Mills Bodypump.
Bodypump is described as the original Les Mills barbell class and will sculpt, tone and strengthen your entire body, fast! The classes use a specific formula of resistance training that is referred to as “The Rep Effect.” This essentially means that the classes focus on using low weight loads and high repetition movements for effective fat burning and production of lean muscle tissue. (Or, in my own words – it’s an hour of strength training combined with cardio moves that will kick your butt and re-shape your body.)
Nervously, I decided to give Bodypump a try, and I loved it! Even though the class was nearly an hour long, it went by super quickly and I enjoyed every heart-pumping minute. I immediately became hooked and found myself faithfully attending the class three times a week. I loved it so much in fact that I eventually decided to become a certified Les Mills Bodypump instructor! (more…)
Nike is an obvious leader in the sports industry, running the game from shoes and apparel to tech gadgets and major league sponsorships. Now they are not only dressing you in the gym, they’re meeting you there with Nike Training Club. In addition to being an app available on Google Play and Apple’s App Store, Nike Training Club, or NTC, is a group fitness class featured in a variety of universities and gyms across the US, with one of the biggest gyms being 24 Hour Fitness.
Nike’s idea for the class is amazing: Get a variety of trainers to put together a killer 45-minute routine with a variety of functional movements and athletic drills, using simple equipment to get everyone moving. Some of the tools employed are dumbbells ranging from 2 pounds up to 15 pounds, medicine balls, body weight, and common equipment used in any sports practice (e.g cones, small hurdles, and agility ladders). The instructor uses all of these elements together to come up with a unique exercise experience.
The quality of the class, while founded on Nike’s principles, will vary by trainer. Nike only wants its name to deliver the best of the best and they constantly send in representatives at random for quality control, but still, some instructors unfortunately fall under the radar.
I’ve experienced one great class where the instructor gave simple modifications to accommodate those who needed them, but were still able to work the same muscle groups targeted in the original programming. When I checked back later that week, I was greeted with new choreography to match the same high intensity I experienced the first time around. (more…)