In 1995, I took Adele Munisteri's spinning class at the Reebok Sports Club. More...
In 1995, I took Adele Munisteri's spinning class at the Reebok Sports Club. This was perhaps my first experience with cult-like fitness classes.
I was amazed, both at how hard spinning was, and how the people responded to Adele. There was applause at the end, and a crowd three deep formed around her. "Wow," I thought, "She's their therapist."
In the following ten years, I migrated from New York City, to Boston, to Silicon Valley, and back to New York; and from one career as an MBA dot-commer, to another as a tech journalist. And, everywhere I went, I found gurus, and coaches, and trainers at the center of intense "workout" communities: Tim Sheeper's masters swimming and triathlon program in Menlo Park, CA, Gemma Schusterman's Dance Workout at Rhythm & Motion in San Francisco, Julie Kleinman's yoga classes at Yogaworks in Santa Monica, Djoniba's African Dance classes on Park Avenue South, Patricia Moreno's Inten-Sati, Calvin Wiley's Calvinography.....
Somewhere along the line I became pretty fascinated by all these scenes, not to mention the dynamics at my local gym. I had always been very into the Internets, so the natural thing to do was start a blog. At least I've got a good excuse to go to the gym. Thanks for visiting.
I Heart These...
- The Love Challenge:
- Love Belly
- Love Body
- Love Soul
- See all feats for The Love Challenge
- Social Workout Challenge: New Years Edition:
- Stand Up
- Sleep Log
- Pimp Your Bed
- Sun Salutes
- Take A Bath
- Jan Plan Plus
- Go Fish
- Home Food
- See all feats for Social Workout Challenge: New Years Edition
- Emergency Holiday Challenge:
- Family Oriented
- Reindeer Gaming
- Walking on Christmas
- See all feats for Emergency Holiday Challenge
- Eat. Sweat. Blog.:
- Caffeine free
- Brightly Colored
- Just Water
- Raw food day
- Soda Free
- Go Veggie
- See all feats for Eat. Sweat. Blog.
- Other Feats:
- Wheel Pose
- Handstand by 20
- Jump Rope - One Minute with Five Crossies
- Spot Turn
- 2009 Feats of Summer 50 Workout Challenge
- Recover from H1N1 Virus
- Commuting Meditation
- Mile Run
- Half Mile Swim
- Free Throws
- Group Fitness Class Sampler
- See all feats
It's Day One of a new papal regime. This got us to thinking: What's the Pope's daily routine, and does he go to the gym? Dawn Patrolers will recall that we also covered the daily routine of the Dalai Lama. Call it the Sacred Sweat series.
It's early to know how Pope Francis will spend his days, but we do know that he will not be running any marathons. Turns out Francis is working with only one lung, having had the other removed due to dangerous teenage infection. Outgoing Benedict wasn't much of a cardio fiend, either. He limited his daily exercise to a 10 minute walk around the Apostolic Palace, but he also kept a strict and healthy schedule: Up at 5AM after six hours of sleep, a Mediterannean diet, sans alcohol, and plenty of prayer.
The public record suggests that fitness, in the conventional sense, has not been a major preoccupation of the Vatican. True, Pope Pius XII, a controversial pontiff who presided over Catholicism during World War II, used a rowing machine in his youth. By the time he was Pope, however, Pius' routine was strictly 15 minutes of "knee bends and arm flexes" timed with a gold Swiss watch.
We've been compiling an exhaustive list of interesting products in the "social fitness/wellness" space. We're now well over one hundred, and it's clearly time to start sharing the love. If you'd like to make additions or changes, please tell us about it!
This just in via Andrew Sullivan: The average American walks 5,117 steps per day, which ranks them way below (among others) the Swiss and the Aussies, who log about 9,600 steps daily on average, AND the Japanese, who are at 7,100 steps per day.
Slackers! Sullivan links to a nice summary of recent walking research by Wayne Curtis. Turns out we're historically slothful. Writes Curtis: "In 1906, just as cars were coming into vogue, the nation was afflicted by a small outbreak of long-distance walking — multi-day walking races and long-distance walkers seemed to be tromping everywhere."
How far would the average 19th Century American walk in a day? To sort that out, researchers apparently visited the Old Order of Amish in Canada, and equipped those folks with pedometers. This, it seemed, a reasonable simulation of normal 19th Century life. Turns out the average non-motorized Amish male logs 18,425 steps per day, or roughly nine miles.
The "quantified self" is growing up. TechCrunch reports that San Francisco-based Lift, the company behind the eponymous habit tracking iPhone App, has raised $2.5 million from a crew of A-list investors. Joining the Twitter braintrust who seeded the company are a group of Silicon Valley heavyweights AND some big media names including Tony Robbins and Timothy Ferriss. Last week, please recall, virtual weightloss/personal training site Retrofit raised $8 million from Draper Fisher Jurvetson. Will all the money and technology actually get people to step away from their chips and screens? Short answer: Yes, but the products have a long way to go....
Move over Fitbit, Nike FuelBand, Jawbone Up, Larklife, and all the rest, here comes Misfit Shine! Behold, the Misfit is smaller and shinier than it's competition, and it plays nicely with jean pockets and t-shirt collars. More to the point, it can tell when you're swimming or riding a bicycle which is a first in the category.
What also sets the Shine apart is that it's not yet available for sale. The product is still in the prototype stage, and so the San Francisco-based Misfit crew has launched an Indigogo campaign (kind of like Kickstarter) to raise the funds to take their device from dream to reality. Thusfar, they've raised $348K, crushing their own 100K goal.
That still doesn't seem like quite enough of a war chest, however, to compete with Nike. Get out your credit cards! We love the tiny, shiny form factor, and are generally glad to see that the pot of tracking device innovation boileth over. Our big question remains: What social software platform will integrate all these disparate hardware devices so we can all play together virtual-like? Just asking.
A. J. Jacobs, the World's Healthiest Man, has nicely included Social Workout in his recent Esquire magazine round up of top "social fitness" sites. Cool! It's a funny, short read and includes info on the big devices (FitBit, Nike+, Withings), as well as Social Workout, Fitocracy and Stickk.
"There are many good and noble reasons to exercise. It cuts down on stress. Keeps your gut from becoming walrusesque. Helps ensure you'll stick around long enough to see your kids go to the prom. But my main motivation for exercise these days? To humiliate my friend Kevin....
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I arrive on the yoga mat with bones, body, and soul frazzled. I.AM.YOU Yoga is on the sixth floor of a building deep in the heart of Little Italy. It's my first visit. Outside: Waiters in white coats, wives in Juicy Couture, and husbands scarfing canolis in Sopranos tees. Inside (by way of stainless steel elevator): Lauren, remarkably toned former investment banker in skintight, black short shorts, a dozen black yoga mats laid out in tight rows on the polished hardwood, and twin turntables at the ready. Mister Bob Dalbolina kicks off a tremendously physical yoga series to soothe the tightly wound souls of the very fit mostly female class. All good, but on this night, in these very close quarters, I realize to my horror that caffeine and stress are rising from me in pungent form. Oh god, I'm stinky.
Didn't get to the gym until ten-after-nine. PEA. EM. That's late to start sweating, and I blame my compulsive, procrastinatory inability to separate from desk at the end of the day in hopes that I'll suddenly be granted divine clarity and complete all of the outstanding things on my To Do lists. But whatever.
Equinox - Soho
My question: How many situps, if any, is a Pilates class worth toward's one's Feralicious goals? (Can one even count situps done in a class towards one's feat goals?) My answer: You can count situps (or pushups) from a class, but they must be real, identifiable situps. No "situp equivalents," as in: "30 seconds of Pilates teasers is equivalent to 10 situps." No, that's a slippery slope.
Equinox - Soho
Several of the sales guys from Flavorpill, with whom we share offices, had decided to go to Yogaworks Soho. S. is a big yogi, of couse, and it was to be the first class for T., who once played football. I tagged along. Keith was teaching, and the room was crowded. It was a beginners class, and Keith seems particularly good with beginners.
YogaWorks - SoHo
As my Saturday workout. Truth is, however, it was time set aside for de-stressing, and we rolled down to the bottom of Manhattan and then back up again. More sightseeing than sweating, but physical nonetheless. Especially if you count the feeling of warm and cool spring air on face, and the smell of new bar-b-ques. And also the getting home early and going to bed.
Kristen McGee and Equinox Soho. I found the last spot in the corner, and it was all very graceful, not excruciatingly hard, and ideal for the midday time slot. While we were doing some form of core clenching exercise, a woman behind me let out a significant fart. This caused the tatoo'd man in tights next to me to start giggling uncontrollably, along with his neighbor.
I sweat hot tears, or I cried hot sweat, or something. It was classic YTTP: With a slightly certain-of-herself teacher prodding us to work on our "vibrational breathing," and a guy a few rows over groaning at high volume.
Yoga to the People
Just catching up around here, on my workout posts AND on my salsa classes. Monday was the first class in two weeks. It wasn't high impact, and Jose fell back into his nasty habit of demo-ing the move about 1,000 times before letting us try. But it was dancing, and very good for my heart and soul.
Deja vu: It's Thursday night, and it had been nearly a week since the last exercise. Travel got in the way, and work. At the company happy hour, I confessed that I was a miserable hypocrite. You can't run a site dedicated to wellness, and not take care of yourself. I was miles from Feralicious. So I finished my Guinness and bicycled to Jivamukti for the 8:30PM installment.
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Cool two story, triangular building on 13th street. Apparently 7,000 square feet. First time drop ins are $20. After that, it's $40 for a drop in or you can join on a monthly basis. The initiation is $500, and monthly is $160. There's a also a month-to-month option for $250. And, of course, they want you to stop by and discuss your options.
I've never taken Body Architect class, but Calvin is a true fitness pioneer and original. He's been teaching dance and step aerobics for-ev-ah, and yet is still the youngest guy in the room with the most energy. Seriously. This is way too positive of a review for the actual publisher of this site, (that's me), BUT Calvin was one of the inspirations for this site.
A journalist friend worked for a while for a Pilates website that went bust. Why didn't it make it, I asked. "Pilates is not a lifestyle," she said. I understood what she meant. Yoga has several thousand years of Hindu religion and Indian culture behind it. The music, the food, the clothing. Even Capoeira has Brazilian music and history. Pilates doesn't have a national culture, it's got a German-American fitness visionary and a tribe of loyal dancers and midtown media women with excellent posture.
What: Notable Trainer
Where: Crunch Fitness and Private
At Flavorpill HQ in Soho on Friday afternoons, the CEO's personal trainer comes in and runs a half hour boot camp for anyone willing to step away from their desk. It's sort of an experimental thing, and a testament to how much Flavorpill CEO, Mark Mangan, digs Clive McIntosh.
Last night, pre-martinis at Temple Bar with Lululemon (herself), we stopped in for overdue tour of the new David Barton Gym at Astor Place. Everone must go take a look, if only to see the next step in the evolution of gym to nightclub: DJ booth in the shape of giant mirrored ball, thumping music, outsized Phillipe Starck-style mirrors leaning against exposed steel and brick. Purple backlighting everywhere. Lovely juxtaposition of candle-lit wooden floors and futuristic cardio machinery (each unit with its own TV). All the energy does make you want to work out -- the way a hopping club makes you want to dance. Everyone beautiful in that lighting: The ripped man of color with dreds and tattoos; the Nicole Kidman knock-off doing pelvic lifts with pesonal trainer. And that's the further surprise: It's not all gay. The mix of men and women, in fact, roughly balanced. "David has a wife and a kid and lives on the Upper East Side," said our tour guide. "The Chelsea thing just sort of took off." My thought: It could easily have been Equinox Greenwich Avenue or any other Hot New Club, just re-themed, like a Windows desktop, to something between The Standard and the Delano. So, other than mandatory tourist visit, should you join?
Being anywhere but bed or perhaps surfing on summer Sunday morning at 8 A.M. in the Hamptons would seem unwise. But if you can drag your butt to Newtown Lane, Jerry's thoughtful class is kind of a shockingly nice way way to wake up. It's not easy, but he spends alot of time setting up poses, so your body has a chance to acclimatize to the situation.
In the New York yoga scene, there are certain hub studios, places with street cred that attract regulars with strong practices. (Compared to these places, gym yogis and Bikram fans are strictly bridge-and-tunnel.) Among the hubs, in Tribeca, is the Kula Yoga Project, a crunchy, well-run studio, up a long flight of rickety stairs, which packs them in nearly ten times a day. The teaching is generally above average, with certain standouts.
Among the latter is David Andre Regelin, a tall, dark-haired yoga Adonis with an evangelical following. "I used to be a spinning junkie," raved one petitie Italian woman to me, "and I never thought yoga could give me the same kind of high. Then I discovered David."
[This just in from Rebs Wilson, friend on extended jaunt around the world. A fragment from life with yogis on the island of Crete.... -The Eds.]
I arrived at Triopetra to help with computer stuff. My “bosses” are Ieva, a gypsy princess, who sings her Latvian folk songs while washing the dishes and cleaning the rooms; and George, often dressed in 70’s neon. In exchange for my work, I get to stay in yoga paradise for two months.
Each week a yoga teacher arrives with a new flock, car sick and terrorized from ride in, which features jaunty Cretan folk music, and narrow, winding roads attached by olive-tree roots to mountain faces poised to tumble into deep gorges.
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