Different yoga teachers for different folks.... Let's get this out up front: Mindy Frenkel is not my kind of yoga teacher. But her Thursday evening classes at Equinox are packed. Here are my issues: at the beginning of class, she produces a rather large harmonium and then leads the group in an prolonged sanskrit chant. I'm a lapsed Catholic, but my first thought at this point is thank God for the Protestant Reformation: it's slightly weird for a large group of New Yorkers to chant in a long-dead foreign language. I'm way cool with "Om," but when the song goes on for many verses, I get frustrated. I don't SPEAK that language, and what's with the slavish reverence to some other equally-imperfect culture?
To be fair, Mindy hands out sheets with the lyrics, but invariably there aren't enough of these sheets to go around. Also, they're sort of crumbled from re-use, and who wants to be reading from a handout when they're trying to get centered and clear their brain? So, I'm not down with the harmonium sing along, and I'm really not down with the extended Earth, Wind and Fire set that comes next.
Lunch time spin class today with the always strong Nadia Zaki at Greenwich Avenue Equinox. Arriving on bike #24, I'm greeted by Meg Hourihan who happens to be on bike #25. Meg is the co-founder of Blogger.com (snapped up by Google in '03) and a genuine new media pioneer. Turns out she's also an ex crew jock and marathoner turned gym regular. We're friends, and this made for a Potentially Awkward Moment: Am I really going to sweat profusely and endure psychic torment twelve inches from a woman I normally see at cocktail parties?More...
It has been at least three months since my last visit to the gym. It's sad really, because I was on a roll. The kind of roll where you actually want to go to the gym: You can increase the weight you're lifting, or the distance you're running, or the speed, or the number of squats.... Well, maybe not the number of squats.
Last spring, six months after the birth of my first baby, I hired a trainer at my local Equinox to help me find a way back into my old pants. And she did. Towards the end of the summer, I actually had definition in my legs and my arms...but then I got drunk on my own fitness. When the training sessions ran out, I simply basked in the glory of my in-shape self. It was August, and I was on vacation, so I put on my bikini, picked up an ice cream cone, and enjoyed myself. Fine idea, but then a week turned into two, two into a month, and, well, here I am, in mid-October, back to square one. In August, I actually could wear spandex with a tank to the gym. Now I will have to dig for the long, big t-shirts to cover up the shame. Oh the shame.More...
I don’t want to talk about it…. I didn’t go. I was pretty much prepared, but I had certain excuses:
- It was not sunny.
- I woke up 15 minutes late, throwing off the entire gym-shower-work schedule.
- I had two very distracting dreams. One featured me lost on a highway in Philadelphia. The other one involved me unable to speak French working in a Parisian Louis Vuitton store for Anna Wintour.
- My husband did not give me a hard time about getting out of bed.
- It seemed cold outside.
- I had a big day at work, a REALLY big day. (Ok, not that big.)
- I did not pre-fill my water bottle.
Moral: I need to email my trainer. I clearly have no self-discipline. Apparently, unless I pay someone to wait for me at the gym and then make me do stuff, I will not go. I haven’t totally given up on myself, but I don’t have high hopes.More...
We danced around at the launch party on October 8th, but somehow neglected to mention that Lululemon Athletica has opened a new store in Soho. Please file under Belated-But-Important Retail Report. For those counting, that's three Lululemons in Manhattan thusfar, with at least one more on the way.More...
At dusk, the Hudson River Park quiets down. Last night there was a slight breeze, and the air was damp, and you could smell the woodchips and fresh plantings along the new pathways. I had gone for a bike ride, and rolled past the lone runners, evening strollers, and the stray commuters, down to the very bottom of the island.More...
Friends with kids stayed in my apartment, and they left behind a family-size box of Cheerios which screams at me every day: "Take the Cheerios Challenge!" Apparently, if I eat Cheerios every day for six weeks, I'll lower my cholesterol 4%. "Why not?" I thought this morning. "At least I'll finish the damn box." Went directly to CheeriosChallenge.com, a wonderful bright yellow place with music and nice people. Was about to sign up, but then I thought: "4%? Huh? Is that really worth it?" You're thinking: "Of course not! This is marketing, dummy." I know, but I had come this far.... So, I went looking for supporting evidence.
And I found the excellent blog What to Eat which notes that Cheerios claims to be the only cereal "clinically proven to reduce cholesterol," but that the study in question dates from 1998, and is 1.) long since out of print, and 2.) very likely funded by General Mills. Turns out it was.More...
All else equal, life is better when you get up early. I struggle to do so. Mightily. My advice if you do too? Find a wake up buddy. And figure out some way to program your alarm clock to play vintage Nike commercials like this one, from the 2006 launch of the Air Max.More...
...as compiled by the not-for-profit American Council on Exercise (or "ACE"), which was kind enough to poll 1,500 ACE-certified trainers and fitness instructors:
- Women who lift weights will get bulky muscles.
(So, ladies, put down the lame-o, pink, 2lb dumbell and step up to the Big Iron.)
- Spot reducing is possible.
(Huh? This makes us uncomfortable. Quick Google check. Phew. In trainer lingo, "spot reducing" means trying to reduce the size of one part of your body. Like, say, your butt. Nothing related to lunar cycles here. Keep moving.)
- No pain, no gain. (Hey ACE dudes, don't fuck with words I've lived by since Junior High. Not cool.)
- Exercise requires a hefty time commitment.
(Very true, but if you're actually going to break a sweat, I find it takes at least an hour and a half, door to door.)
- If you exercise, you can eat whatever you want.
(So stop it with the Foie Gras and Bluefin tuna crackers.)
- There’s a magic bullet (quick fix) out there somewhere.
(Via That's Fit.)
FYI: The photo credit goes to Mythbusters, the Discovery Channel TV show, which we do not believe has any formal affiliation with the ACE.More...
Monday night. The gym at the 14th Street Y. 20 or so New Yorkers jumping rope and listening to the Rocketz singing Killing. For those not familiar, the Rocketz are a hardcore/rockabilly band, and K-I-L-L-I-N-G is loosely based on the nursery school rhyme about two people sitting in a tree k-i-s-s-i-n-g.... What killed me was the fact that Tim Haft, our leader, asked us to spell out the word while jumping, i.e. front and back, side to side. That's really all you need to know about Punkrope: as fitness classes go, it's so nutty, and yet done with so much commitment, that it approaches some form of alt. fitness genius.
The classic NYC gym: vertical, state of the art, with small subterranean swimming pool. When I signed up, I mentioned I was considering Chelsea Piers as an alternative. My hard sell sales guy couldn't have been less threatened, and said somewhat annoyingly, "Go ahead, give it a try. You'll end up back here. It's too far away." Well, he wasn't entirely right.
Testosterone Nation is a massive online community of body-builders. Thousands of readers sharing war stories, workout tips, and muscle shots. You might think they're all sad 'roided out ex-football jocks, or else scrawny 17-year-olds with Wal-Mart bench presses drinking Joe Weider protein shakes. But actually the level of discourse can be very high. You will not find a more detailed - if goal oriented - discussion of diet and metabolism anywhere.
Consider this gem of an interview, posted today, with a 34-year-old native of Santiago, Chile known online as Caveman. Our man is 5'9" and weighs 220 pounds -- up from a mere 160 when he was in college -- and is clearly very dedicated to his practice. Caveman's key insights?More...
Harvey Spevak is the CEO of Equinox. As the world's economies have collided like so many cars caught in a chain-reaction accident on the Interstate, Mr. Spevak rushed in as if he were an auto-body mechanic caught on the scene. "We are in a unique position to help our members maximize life," he wrote shortly after Lehman Brothers and AIG had crashed and burned. "Our members and prospective members are counting on us more than ever to provide community and support and help them de-stress and maintain a healthy life." True dat: as the Dow has plummeted, gym traffic has, in fact, spiked. Spevak's challenge as businessman and self-appointed Global Life Coach is to keep 'em coming back (for their sake!) And so, in a separate mailing, came the Equinox Crisis Response Plan, dubbed "Mind over Madness."More...