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My excessive energy, extreme narcissism, and intense love of neon-colored spandex is both managed and fueled by my addiction to fitness. I push myself to extremes and I push other people's buttons. Obviously I needed my own blog.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

10 Things I Learned in 2010

1. Cigarettes are not a substitute for food. Well actually they are, but I have to keep reminding myself that I don't smoke anymore. In 2011 I will stop claiming smoking doesn't count when I am drunk. In 2011 I will stop claiming a lot of things don't count when I am drunk.

2. A serving of peanut butter is 2 tablespoons. Two tablespoons of peanut butter barely covers a quarter of an apple in my book. That's why I like to eat 4 tablespoons of Better'n Peanut Butter instead.

3. It is completely possible to gain 10 lbs in 2 weeks. Sadly, it is extremely difficult to lose 10 lbs in 2 weeks. This may be the definition of irony.

4. You should never drink until 4am the night (morning) before a 10K. Some people might find this obvious. I, however, did not.

5. The calorie counters on cardio machines grossly overcalculate the number of calories burned. Buy a heart rate monitor.

6. Do not agree to date a person that compliments your form in spin class. You will have to change gym locations.

7. Gyms do not clean yoga mats daily. Scabies can be transmitted through yoga mats. Once your skin stops crawling, you should go out and buy a mat immediately. Make sure it's wrapped in plastic.

8. Even rigorous sexual activity does not burn a significant amount of calories to be considered your daily cardio. This was heartbreaking.

9. Running uptown on the East River Esplanade is superior to running downtown. This actually only applies if you live in the 70s or above, but it was mindblowing for me. I used to live in Murray Hill and running downtown was pretty much the only option.

10. People actually read this blog. Who knew?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Best Christmas Ever?

This post has nothing to do with fitness, but it does describe some of the out of our minds behavior exhibited by my family during our Christmas vacation.

Christmas Eve began with my sister and I singing the Twelve Days of Christmas at LaGuardia's curbside check-in. We switched to Feliz Navidad at Chicago-O'Hare. We had progressed through half of our Christmas tune repertoire before I located my kazoo mid-flight. The passengers on American Eagles' flight to Cedar Rapids LOVED us.

This year we decided to combine the best aspects of Christmas and Spring Break: presents, binge-drinking, and chanting. "Best Christmas Ever. 2010. Woo!" could be heard at regular intervals throughout the airport, Grandma's house, Wal-Mart, and Pizza Ranch.

To top it all off, my father cannot be left alone in airports so my sister and I have had to babysit him during our travels. With only moments before our flight was due to board, he decided he must use the restroom and took off. There I was, sprinting down the concourse in my new engineer boots after a grown man to ensure that he wound return to the gate in a timely manner.

Next year I'm going away by myself.


It's been fun but I cannot take one more day of cookies and beer. I feel soft and gross all over. Please American Airlines, please please let me return to New York and my gym membership.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Happy People Are Fat, Hungry People Are Mean

Ruining your life and all your meaningful relationships once a month will keep you slim. Or at least it will if stress and embarrassment make you lose your appetite. I am always my thinnest when I'm at my most stressed out - pledging, switching jobs, being broken up with... I can't say there's much motivation to maintain a happy existence since I look awesome when I'm miserable.

With the exception of my first year out of college, when I was really stressed out, then gained a lot of weight, and then ended up even more miserable, I'm not hungry when faced with stressful situations. After that year I realized how large I had gotten, became desperately miserable, started ruining my life, and while everything else pretty much sucked, I lost 20 lbs.

Lately I've been panicking about situations that shouldn't be that big of a deal. I can't explain why this is happening, but today I wasn't hungry. At all. Happy people are fat, and I just might be crazy.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Getting Enough Vegetables in Your Diet

Living on my own, I struggle with getting enough vegetables in my daily diet. The produce I buy usually spoils before I finish it. I don't mind frozen vegetables but they can taste soggy and bland.

Before you start claiming veggie pizza and primavera pasta as your vegetable sources, check out some of the ways I've managed to include fresh vegetables into my diet.

Sugar Snap Peas - the best thing since potato chips. I eat them raw out of a snack baggie. They have a satisfying crunch and taste really good. If you're looking for a little more flavor, I sometimes sprinkle Goya vegetable seasoning onto them. To get the seasoning to stick, spritz a little water onto the snap peas first.

Shelled Green Peas - Throw these tasty morsels into salads and pasta dishes. I also like them in stir-fries. You can really put them in anything.

Lettuce - I serve my pasta on a bed of lettuce, no joke. Romaine or iceberg is best because you want to add a satisfying crunch to your carb dish. The fiber in the lettuce fills you up, diminishing your desire for seconds, and it helps keep your sauce on your noodles. Thanks Mom for introducing me to this nifty idea. I also eat plain lettuce out of ziplock bags while watching tv. Guiltless mindless snacking.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

I'll Take an Eightball of Wheat Thins

I live in a studio apartment, which means if I invite you over to watch tv on my couch, you are also in my bedroom and my kitchen. Doesn't bother me, just don't treat my bed like a chair. Or touch my baby blankets. Or put your shoes near the comforter. Anyway, I digress.

Every time I have male visitors over, ones who have permission to get near the bed and ones who do not, they notice my food scale and immediately assume I'm a drug dealer. Hello?! It says "The Biggest Loser" on it. I didn't know Jillian and Bob were now hawking merchandise to the honest drug dealers of the world.

You have got to own a food scale. Measuring cups seem tedious and inaccurate after you start measuring your food in grams. My scale has really simplified making healthy salads. The tasty ingredients can really hike up the calories and you need to be careful that you didn't accidentally put in 400 calories of almond slivers. I just hit tare in between ingredients rather than driving myself crazy with a bunch of little cups and spoons. There are a lot of digital food scales on the market, but The Biggest Loser Food Scale is reasonably priced and available at Bed, Bath, and Beyond.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Saturday Sight-Seeing

Today I set out for a run and ran 13.5 miles. Why? Because I can. And it was a beautiful day. I cut through Vernon Middle School and headed north down 106. It is beginning to feel a lot like Christmas, and the smell of the evergreen trees for sale at Dodds and Eder made me smile.

I headed through the the town of Oyster Bay and ran over towards the beach. There was a dead sea gull in the parking lot (gross) and a few other runners taking advantage of the nice weather.

This is the view from the beach. While it was extremely windy, I didn't feel cold in a pair of sweat pants and my Under Armour performance top. I continued on over towards the Oyster Bay Marine Center. In the twenty-four years that I have lived in Oyster Bay, I have never been back there. I ran back up by Carvel and made a left onto East Main Street.

I really don't like having to pay attention to traffic patterns while I run, which is why I like the East River Esplanade and the Central Park Reservoir so much. You avoid other runners and do your own thing. My plan was to run to Teddy Roosevelt's house Sagamore Hill, and to do this I had to run along some well-trafficked roads. I found that there is ample space for a runner in Oyster Bay Cove, even with all the twists and curves. Cove Neck Road was a little bit more difficult to maneuver, but I managed.
This is the view of Oyster Bay Harbor from Cove Neck Road. It's the opportunity to get outside and see this while exercising that kept me out on Long Island for the weekend.

I had run close to 6 miles by the time I reached this grassy spot. My lungs felt clear, but my feet and knees were beginning to hurt. Today is the first time I took my new Nike Frees outside for a run. I tried to remember the running form I've been reading about - body erect, hips tucked under, balls of the feet striking the ground - and I think this made a difference. Overall, I felt pretty damn good.

I saw a lot of beautiful houses on Cove Neck, and even picked out one for my future residence. I headed up the hill to Sagamore Hill and ran past an older couple out for a walk. I said hello and continued on my way. I hadn't put much thought into what I would do once I reached the historical site, but I was pleasantly surprised to find a clean and warm bathroom. I freshened up and refilled my water bottle at the sink. Then I walked around the grounds for a little.

This is Sagamore Hill. Compared to some of the newer houses on Cove Neck, it looks tiny.

Now that I had reached my destination, I had to get myself back home. I saw a lot of friendly members of the Oyster Bay community out and about running and riding their bicycles. I am a showoff and my vanity kept me moving along. My fingers had gotten cold and I was glad that I had brought along a pair of gloves in my Spibelt.

I had come this far so I decided to prove that I could run a half-marathon. I've signed up for one in March and I need to start training for it. Even though I could have reached my house in 11 miles, I kept going until I reached 25A. Then I headed west to the Gulf Station before turning around. I cut back through Vernon and then ran around my cul-de-sac. I was shuffling my feet more than running, but I was able to pick up the pace once I knew the end was near. Including all the stops I made for taking photos, adjusting my gear, and using the facilities, it took me 2 hours and 29 minutes to complete my run. Not bad for a Saturday morning, eh?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Sea Salt Cleanse

Am I the only person that finds salt water delectable? I just drank 32 ounces of the stuff and I found it absolutely delicious. A sea salt cleanse acts as a detox for your digestive track (fancy shmancy words for laxative if you ask me) and I figured I'd give it a try. The recipe said to mix 2 teaspoons of sea salt into 32 ounces of lukewarm water and to add a squeeze of lemon. Every other person on the Internet is complaining about this stuff, and I swallowed it down like no big deal. I actually enjoyed it. I would like some more.

Once I find out if I've been detoxed, I'll give you an update.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Feels like Home

I finally got to return to Tuesday night kickboxing last night. I'm not sure that I can truly convey to you how much I love going to that class over the Internet, but I'll try. It is hands down the thing I love doing most in the entire world. I'm addicted to the adrenaline rush and endorphin high from hinge-kicking four feet off the ground only to go right into the next sequence. My heart rate monitor hit 202 bpm before crapping out and going on strike. I chucked it to the side and just kept going. Sometimes I find it liberating to get away from heart rates and caloric intake, but if I stop tracking for too long, I lose motivation and get fat.

I was so happy to be back at my gym and seeing all of my friends. I miss them when I am away. Kickboxing always feels like a party.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

An Apple a Day (or Four)

I eat at least an apple a day. I think they are the perfect snack because they are 1. delicious, 2. easily portable, and 3. tasty at any time of day. Apples are high in fiber, which keeps you full. This means that the 95 calories you consume from eating a medium-sized apple is going to keep you going longer than if you spent those 95 calories on crackers or chips. Sometimes I slice an apple and spread a Laughing Cow Light cheese wedge (35 calories) onto the slices. My students are impressed that I can do this with a plastic knife. I'm badass, I know.

I like tart apples, so I'm usually a Granny Smith or McIntosh girl. After the Turkey Trot last week, my mother and I stopped at the Jericho Cider Mill and I stocked up on McIntosh for the week, but I also grabbed a few Winesap apples. I tried one today on the drive home from jury duty. I'm talented at eating while driving. You should see what I can do with a container of Greek yogurt at 50 miles an hour. The Winesap is a large, crunchy variety. It has the satisfying consistency of those red apples you used to get at school snack time, but none of that dry, icky taste. Winesap are crisp, tart apples - can we say perfect for afternoon snack?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Eww, I Hope No One Saw That

I planned ahead and booked a bike for this morning's spin class with Craig Eisenberg 26 hours in advance using the MYEQ iPhone app. Yes, I booked a bike at 6:30am the day before while still in bed. It's really hard to get a bike for this 8:30 am class on Sunday morning at Great Neck. Craig's popularity has skyrocketed, and for good reason. His studio cycling class is never boring and he plays great music. He makes you work and keeps you excited to be there. I burned 645 calories in 60 minutes today.

Now I woke up feeling very thirsty this morning. Whenever I eat a big pasta dinner like I did last night, I wake up feeling like I hiked through the desert without any water. I guess I might have over-hydrated a little bit because after one particularly large gulp, I felt a little hiccup. This coincided with a sprint up the (imaginary) hill, and suddenly I felt liquid coming out of my lips. I used my superhuman reflexes to grab one of the bajillion towels I keep on the handlebars to catch the flow, but honestly, how gross is that? I spit up in the middle of spin class, infant-style.

We all know how paranoid I am that people are watching me, and to be honest, I don't think it's paranoia if it's really happening. Anyway, I was convinced that everyone in the room saw yellow liquid spew from my mouth and were disgusted that I was still in class. In my defense, 1. it all ended up on the towel, 2. it's not like I was sick and infecting others, 3. people spit and throw up all the time during running races, 4. only losers give up. After carefully staring at my fellow cyclers using the mirrored walls to see all angles of the room, I deduced that no one was horrified enough to complain and refocused on the task at hand. My favorite part is the three sprints home during the last five minutes of class anyway.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Waldorf Turkey Salad

We had a lot of leftover turkey this year so I made a Waldorf Turkey Salad.

1/2 Granny Smith apple chopped
10 large green grapes halved
1 stalk celery chopped
leftover turkey
chopped walnuts
glazed walnuts
1 container of nonfat Fage Greek yogurt 
salt (I just shook the salt shaker over the mixing bowl)

Mix all of the ingredients together and refrigerate.

Toast an Ezekiel 4:9 English muffin and spoon Waldorf Turkey Salad on top.

This is not an entirely clean recipe because of the glazed walnuts, but I thought they would add a little pizzaz. You can omit these if you'd like. Some recipes for Waldorf salads ask for honey, which you could include to make the dish a little sweeter.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Sweat the Turkey Out!

Today I am thankful for Yves Maco and his Post Turkey-Day 2 Super Master Classes. Fusion Fitness hosted today's workout extravaganza at their studio in Great Neck. I cannot even begin to describe the overwhelming feelings of joy I experienced from getting to kickbox for seventy whole minutes. It might be the day after Thanksgiving, but I'm feeling like its Christmas.

The seventy-minute dance class was awesome. Now we know that I dance like a chicken. My Latin roots desert me when it's time to shake it, and no amount of practice has improved my shimmy. This is okay, because I just close my eyes and let my fitness alter-ego take over. In my mind I look like LL Cool J, and I dance like Michael Jackson. Yes, my alter-ego is a large black man. It makes me feel sexy.

One woman brought her daughter to dance class, and this little girl has skills. After getting over my feelings of extreme jealousy, I realized this child was an asset because I could follow her when I inevitably got confused and started tripping over my own feet. One day I will be able to move like a backup dancer in a hip hop video, but until that day, I'll just go to have fun.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Garden City Turkey Trot

Team RUNNUR completed its first Garden City Turkey Trot today.  In its 33rd year, the GC Turkey Trot had the most participants ever with more than 3,000 runners. The five mile race began at St. Paul's School and followed a scenic course through Garden City. Spectators lined the course shouting encouraging words, waving signs and noisemakers, and even playing the Rocky theme song. This is my favorite race I've ran up to date.

I was very excited for this race and put a lot of effort into my running outfit. When you look good, you feel good, and when you feel good, you do good. I wore one of my C9 sports bras (so comfortable) with my new Under Armour pullover. I went old school with a pair of Nike spandex I've had since my days on the Choate cross country team. I also wore an old pair of running sneakers (Nikes), hoping that the lighter-weight shoe would be more efficient than those Lunar Glides I've been wearing. I think I made good choices because I felt comfortable throughout the 5 mile run, although the spandex did ride up around mile 2.

The positive energy at this race was awesome. My legs were getting heavy as I started the fifth mile, but then these little girls yelled out, "You can do it!" and "Girl Power!" Realizing I was the only girl in this pack of runners, I didn't want to disappoint them and dug deep to push forward. Then a man told us we were only 200 yards from the finish line and I dug even deeper to give it my all. I came in at 37:23.2. I was 350th out of the 3,168 runners who completed the course. I would have preferred to come in under 36 minutes, but now I know my goal for next year.

I am also really psyched that I ran into a friend from college at the race. He's not a native Long Islander and I didn't expect to see him there. This was the best way to start Thanksgiving and I plan on trotting every year from now on.

Team RUNNUR before the race began.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Saturday Morning Impact!

As a result of waking up at 5 am for work, I've lost all ability to sleep in to a normal hour on my days off. On Saturdays I wake up at 7. Yes, the time you wake up to go to work. This Saturday I was up cleaning my bathroom by 7:15. I reorganized my closets. I washed the underside of my kitchen cabinets.

After I was done scrubbing my apartment, I got dressed for the gym. I decided I should get my money's worth and use my boxing gloves again. I have white Everlast gloves that I bought last winter. They've made it out of their case twice. My gym schedule is booked as it is... it's hard to attend four different classes at 6pm on Tuesdays. That's why I got excited when I saw that Impact! is offered from 10-10:45 on Saturday mornings at the Equinox at 85th and 3rd.

The instructor was late because of traffic or parking. Someone from management sent a trainer in to warm the class up. Unfortunately he got sparing confused with the cardio expectations of group fitness junkies and I thought this one lady was about to eat his head. Right when it looked like a violent outburst was guaranteed to erupt, the instructor arrived. Her name is Abby and I liked her. I've been to Impact! before with other instructors, and I must admit that I didn't really enjoy it. Abby took the time to correct form instead of working out on her own bag.

My partner had a lot of patience, and a sick roundhouse. If you're going to go, try to find someone who looks about your fitness level to share a bag with because it's no fun when you're pinned in the corner because you can't keep up.

If it's too cold to run, I'd go again.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Half Marathon on March 6th

I signed up for the Half Marathon being held in Prospect Park, Brooklyn on Sunday, March 6th. If you're interested in running this race, get at me for details. The registration is free. We could get t-shirts...


Last night I stayed for Powerstrike! after Titan Method. I went to this class once last year but got so frustrated I never stayed again. I am not a very graceful or coordinated person, and rely a lot on muscle memory to get through classes. I practice moves I'm unsure of outside of class. It took me months to master the moves in Yves' cardio kickboxing class and now my body immediately wants to do those sequences.

Taking some time off from cardio kickboxing (I desperately miss it) helped me to follow along with Omar's instructions. I find the timing weird and definitely need to work on the punches so that I can do better next week. I just don't get the random pauses.

I had a lot of fun though and it was a good lower abs workout. Since I can no longer attend Yves' classes, my lower abs have gotten soft. I hate crunches and get much better results from kicks and twists. Powerstrike! and other workouts that feature punching are wonderful for toning your arms. I could definitely feel it in my triceps today when I was writing on the board.

Total calories burned for Titan Method and Powerstrike!: 1,225 calories

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

How Else Do You Pull 18 Hour Days?

Out of all the bizarre things you can see people doing on the subway, it seems my taking my afternoon fat burning pills catches people's attention. Ignore the drunk, potentially schizophrenic cross-dresser but stare at the teacher who is simply trying to boost her gym energy. No really, that makes sense.

I am currently taking Lipo-6 Black Hers made by Nutrex. I had started taking them for a week when I caught the flu (or partied too hard...who knows) and took a hiatus. I'm down six pounds so it seems that these things work but I don't know for sure yet because I didn't take them consistently.

The directions say to take three pills in the morning and three pills in the afternoon. Pills must be taken at least thirty minutes before a meal and not within six hours of bedtime. You're also not supposed to consume caffeinated beverages. Hah! Fat chance!

This is how I take them. I wake up at 5 and swallow a Ritalin before I bother turning off my alarm. I eat breakfast by 5:30am. I drink a cup of tea or a cup of coffee at my apartment; sometimes I drink both. I leave for the train and get to work by 7am. I take the first three pills when I reach my classroom. At 8, I walk to the 3rd floor to join the coffee crew where I fill up a 16 oz mug with coffee, which I drink throughout the morning. If the day particularly sucks or I stayed up watching Criminal Minds/searching for home invaders in my studio apartment, I'll make a cup or two using the coffee maker I keep in my classroom. I take another Ritalin and the second dose of fat burners between 3pm and 4pm. Then I hit up the gym. I usually have another cup of tea when I get back home. Despite blatantly ignoring the warning, I feel perfectly fine. I have the energy I need to hike up to the 4th floor six times a day, micromanage twenty-five children, and workout for an hour on six hours of sleep.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Standard Evening

Did I really blackout binge eat sugar snap peas? Yes. Yes I did. Apparently there's a reason I don't start drinking at 6 pm anymore. After consuming way too many Bitburgers at the Standard Biergarten and making a stop at some bar in Gramercy, I was home and hungry. Saturday is my cheat day and I had housed a delicious Lenny's C5 (prosciutto, mozzarella, roasted red peppers, and Granny Smith apples on Ciabatta) at 5:30 pm so it's not like I was starving. Stumbling around my studio and successfully getting myself out of my skintight jeans and Tara Jarmon boots took a lot out of me and made me want a snack. I ignored the crackers, decided against the fruit, and blatantly did not see the peanut butter (I'll eat that shit with a spoon) and chose plain sugar snap peas. Clearly I'm even more health-conscious after I've poisoned my liver for seven consecutive hours. On that note, I'm going back to bed.

Friday, November 12, 2010

First Love

Back in 2007 when I first joined Equinox, I fell in love with step aerobics. Unfortunately step is popular with women of a certain age who don't work, which is why it is usually only offered during the middle of the day.

Yesterday I had off of work for Veterans Day (thank you to all the men and women who have risked or given their lives to keep us free!) and got to hit up Wayne Standaloft's Cardio Step class at 54th and 2nd. It was everything I dreamed of and more. The choreography was fast-paced and a little challenging. I am definitely out of practice and I tripped a few times. All those turns are confusing!

Step is a great cardio workout. In 47 minutes (class started late) I burned over 650 calories with my maximum heart rate hitting 201 bpm. Try doing that on a treadmill. You'd be bored out of your mind and crying for mercy. Wayne's class is a new In Shape Out of Mind favorite and is highly recommended.

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Importance of Dental Hygiene

You might have a great body, but if your smile is lacking, I'm not interested. Nothing is hotter than a great set of teeth. Take care of them!

My dentist and I are kind of obsessed with one another. Dr. Wong is quite impressed that I have worn my retainers for the past ten years. Orthodontia is expensive and painful; why mess it up? On Saturday I went by the office to pick up my new retainers and Dr. Wong had a present for me.

A mold of my teeth!

How awesome!

To have your very own blindingly white near-perfect smile, you can do what I do to care for my teeth.

I brush at least twice a day. Bring a toothbrush to work and brush your teeth after lunch. Your breath will smell fresh and your teeth will be clean.

Floss morning and night. I got in the habit with those floss sticks - so simple and convenient. Now I have progressed to regular floss. I like mint.

If you drink coffee or dark soda you should rinse your mouth with water when you're done to help prevent stains. I bleach my teeth with Twilight Teeth. A Twilight Teeth set comes with a mouthguard and a vial of UV-light activated teeth bleach. You apply it before entering a tanning bed and it will dramatically whiten your teeth. The special "laser" bleaching available at your dentist isn't really a laser at all; it's a UV light source. Instead of $400, you can pay $17 for 6 months worth of Twilight Teeth.

You probably won't have a smile as nice as mine, but you can have a healthy, attractive mouth with a little time and effort.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Feeling like Mariah post-"Butterfly" Debacle

After the custodian found me sleeping on the reading rug on Monday, I realized that I might need medical attention. I dragged my ass to work on Tuesday, went to vote (that was a hassle and a half), and then visited the neighborhood Doc in the Duane Reade. I was ordered to get in bed and stay there for the rest of the week.

Day 1 I stayed in bed and caught up on three weeks of soap operas.

Day 2 I moved to the couch and watched all of my DVR'd Private Practices and WB, oops CW 11 shows. I finished a book.

Day 3 I migrated to my parents' house the night before so I spent the ENTIRE day sleeping. Woke up to eat like a true fat kid.

This morning I woke up like a new person. My under-eye circles have almost disappeared. I haven't looked this good since college. I went for a run outside, got a haircut, and went for a manicure. Unfortunately I am now suffering debilitating anxiety about returning to work. I now understand why Mariah checked herself into that hospital after she found out that she is a horrible actress.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Craving Chocolate?

Today I was getting the sides of my face waxed (because I am psychotic and need my hairline to be exactly even on both sides) and the lady used something different than regular honey wax. I'm in the chair with my head tilted back, can't really see because my glasses are on the counter, and I swear I can smell Nutella. It's chocolate wax. On my face. I seriously considered eating it. The woman takes a phone call (am I the only person that thinks it's incredibly rude to interrupt a hair removal service for a call? Um hello - rip the fabric off and then take the damn phone) and I contemplate swiping a bit with my finger. Things have hit a new low.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Level 2/3 Yoga

After some confusion about a Saturday morning cardio kickboxing class, I ended up at 8:30am yoga at the Great Neck Equinox last weekend. This class was not for the casual yoga-goer, therefore it was not really for me. But I tried as hard as I could. Sweet niblets, I don't think my body was intended to bend in such directions.

I've been trying to get more into yoga. It improves flexibility and builds strength. I've noticed that even when my upper body looks really strong, I've actually built up my vanity muscles. I see an improvement in my push-ups and planks whenever I'm going to yoga regularly.

As much as I know I should go to yoga, I prefer the rush I get from cardio and conditioning classes. Getting all my energy out relaxes me, while yoga and Pilates usually leave me restless. Not with this class. I had to stop 10 minutes before class ended because at that point I was just rolling on the mat. Two ladies on the Spa staff asked me what was going on inside the studio because each week everyone comes out looking exhausted.

Ashtanga Yoga L2/3
Saturdays at 8:30 am
Raj Shtrom

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Titan Method

I finally made it to Omar's new signature class, Titan Method. It was the best hour I've spent in the gym in a long time.

The Titan Method "uses five minute training rounds that alternate resistance and body weight drills to develop muscular strength, endurance, and cardio fitness." What this translates to is an intense amount of work for five minutes and then thirty seconds to mop the puddles of sweat off the floor before the next round begins.

My favorite move was the burpee to the training squat to the box jump. To do this on your own, put a step on two sets of risers. Place your hands on the step and jump back into a plank. Jump back into a squat and lightly sit on the step. From this seated position, you jump up and onto the bench. Jump back down so that you are straddling the bench and go straight into your next burpee. Repeat for 2 minutes. Grunt and holler as needed.

Monday, October 18, 2010

No More Running

I've decided to put a moratorium on running until November. My hypothesis is that the less running I do, the better I run.

In college I ran frequently, usually on a treadmill. I was running 8 or 9 minutes miles and lost my stamina for distance. In high school I ran all the time, outdoors and on the indoor track, and I averaged 9 minutes miles. I was even slower on a treadmill.

So when did I start running 7 minute miles? When I stopped running. I prefer to get my cardio from group fitness classes. I'll settle for a CrossRamp incline trainer in a pinch, but I loathe the treadmill and its monotony. (But I do support watching tv while walking on an incline, because if you're going to watch crap reality television you have to counterbalance its negative effects.)

I think all the running I've been doing has hurt my running performance. I never felt that extra push of adrenaline during this last race where my legs suddenly feel light and ready to propel me across the finish line. In truth, my legs kind of hurt.

I'm temporarily giving up running in favor of studio cycling and step aerobics. But I will be back on the River Run and Reservoir Track next month in case you want to say hi.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Team RuNNuR Completes the Oyster Festival 5K

People with unpronounceable names
make better runners.
This morning Palindrome and I ran the Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor's 5K, which kicks off the Oyster Festival. I completed the course in 21 minutes and 55 seconds - the EXACT amount of time it took me to run the last one! My pace was 7:03 and I placed 98th out of 650. I placed 5th in my division and 20th for my sex. Awesome way to start my Saturday.

It was much more fun to have a friend at a race. The Get Outside on Governors Island 10K sucked for many reasons, but mostly because I was lonely. Everyone else seemed to be with a group and I had no one to talk to. The people I tried to strike up conversations with were not so friendly, which I found shocking because people are usually much more receptive to me. After the race was over and I couldn't find my jacket and I was convinced I had hypothermia, facebook told me that Palindrome was seated right near me on the ferry back to civilization. He also felt lonely and excluded from the merriment. This is how Team RuNNuR was formed. We're getting technical t-shirts made, NBD.

The supercool print-out of my running stats.

I saw my friend and former babysitter Maryanne at the finish line. This was her first race ever and she is training for a half marathon. I am very proud of her!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Better'n Peanut Butter: Friend or Foe?

12 Grain bread with Low Sodium Better'n Peanut Butter and banana slices

So apparently Better'n Peanut Butter put peanut butter on a low-fat diet (their slogan, not mine). My co-worker introduced me to the low sodium version of this diet nut butter at a recent meeting. I have to admit - I like it better than Skippy. If it came in crunchy, I'd drink it. As much as I love fresh grind almond butter, fresh grind peanut butter kind of skeeves me out and leaves me feeling more unsatisfied than waking up naked next to a super hot guy still fully clothed from the night before. Waste of time. 

Better'n Peanut Butter is damn tasty, but Jillian Michaels has burrowed into my brain and the first thing I thought of as I tasted this delicious treat while reviewing Grade 4 New York State math standards was, "How many chemicals in this crap are wrecking havoc on my metabolism and going to make me fat?!" However, this concern did not prevent me from purchasing Better'n Peanut Butter that weekend.

Click on the image to enlarge and read nutrition information.

Curious about the newest addition to my refrigerator, I went onto the website to do a little research.

Apparently it's "all-natural" and I can pronounce every ingredient on the label. Who knew?  It's still not as clean as fresh grind, but I think it's safe to eat instead of Skippy, Jiffy, et cetera.

As I gather more information, I will keep you informed.
Verdict: FRIEND

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Does This Under Armour Make Me Look Fat?

Ugh, forget about your skinny jeans. Is your fitness apparel announcing your penchant for red velvet cupcakes and buffalo wings to the world? Because mine is. I cannot remember the last time I bought real clothes for myself, but I definitely remember my last fitness outfit purchase (lululemon last Saturday). And when I say outfit, I mean outfit; I take the color coordination of the clothes I sweat in very seriously.

So what are you supposed to do when a love handle puts a big fat L into your fabulous technical top? You take the top off, hang it on the outside of your closet, and put on a baggy t-shirt. No cute clothes for you until you up your cardio. This isn't a punishment, but rather the steps necessary for protecting your self-esteem and motivating you to get back on track.

Yesterday I ignored my own advice and spent my hour run tugging on my Under Armour shirt and praying the sun would hurry up and set. Definitely not cute.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Save Cardio Junkie!

On Thursday nights Marcus Jackson teaches two classes back-to-back at the 85th & 3rd Equinox. Cardio Junkie gets your heart rate up and leads into Power Sculpt, where you will do exercises that target each major muscle group. Unfortunately Thursday evening happy hours are taking people out of the gym and these classes are in danger of being cancelled. While I don't think any Thursday night gym class should be forced to compete with drinking, the powers that be are comparing it to Tuesday evening classes.

To save the class start showing up! Marcus said that non-members interested in coming may attend as his guest. Contact me and I'll set it up.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Is It Socially Acceptable to Feign Injury To Get an Attractive Runner's Number?

Tonight I couldn't bring myself to workout indoors and decided to head to Central Park. Monday's excursion through the park got me thinking about the Reservoir Track and so that's where I headed after work.

Monday night's storms had left puddles all over the track, but I was kind of into the obstacle course. While maneuvering around these puddles I spotted a very attractive, tall, and blond runner running in the opposite direction. I saw him again on my second lap and again on my third. I smiled the third time I passed him, but running doesn't really permit the time to strike up a casual conversation.

So I began to think. What if I fell in front of him? Wouldn't he feel a little obligated to stop and help me up? Would I actually want to meet someone who wouldn't stop and help me up? I'm pretty klutzy so it's not too much of a stretch of the imagination that I would miss a step and sprawl out in the middle of the path. I think I'd look pretty cute covered in mud. Alas, I did not throw myself to the ground, mainly because it was getting dark and I could feel horrible blisters forming on my arches. Maybe next time.

Sunset over the Reservoir

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Practice 5K in Vibrams

This morning my friend Palindrome (by the way, I use nicknames to protect the innocence of my friends who may not want to be associated with my borderline psychotic fitness life over the internet) and I met in downtown Oyster Bay to practice for next week's 5K. We decided that we had to wear our Vibrams for this excursion, although I'm not sure why since I'm not planning on racing in them. This was actually the first time I ran in my Vibrams and I really liked it. Now that I think about it, maybe I will wear them next Saturday. I did find out that stepping on a rock hurts. Really hurts. I'm not sure I'm willing to risk that kind of pain during a race.

The weather was BEAUTIFUL today and the run set the perfect tone for the day. Palindrome and I didn't run very fast (we didn't time ourselves, oops), but we were able to determine which spots would be good for speeding up or slowing down. We aim to win the Supervisor's 5K.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Open Letter to the Editor

Dear Oxygen Magazine, 

          When I was all set on an evening of couch-sitting, bad eating, and nicotine product inhaling, your November issue arrived in my mailbox. There is no getting away from you, now is there? Thank you.         


                    former binge-eating, gym-avoiding smoker



Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Running for My Sanity

I was a smoker for more than eight years. Last Thursday I was hypnotized and I am proud to say that I have not touched a cigarette since 4:54pm 9/23/10. I might not smoke cigarettes anymore but I definitely think about them. I smoked the first cigarette of the day when I left my apartment at 5:50am and had my last right before going to bed. I anxiously awaited preps and lunch periods at work and couldn't wait for 3:30 to roll around. Now that I am a non-smoker I have to take my mind off of them somehow. So I run.

I meant to go for a slow short run last night. Just something to make me forget about pausing the tv to run out for a smoke. I went over to the river and headed north. In the distance I saw the green bridge to Randall's Island and decided to go see it for the first time. The first ten minutes were pretty. Then it got weird.
View of the Triboro from Randall's Island

I ran back over the bridge and headed north. I had guzzled a lot of water by then and my bladder was displeased, but I knew I needed to keep moving. My lungs felt clear and I wasn't tired. My pace had slowed to 7'45" miles, but my legs felt fine.

It was getting dark by the time I reached 125th Street and some older men were smoking and chatting. I used to work in an unsavory neighborhood in the Bronx and I admit this has affected my gauge of dangerous situations. Although I wasn't scared I figured I should turn back before it got completely dark.
Running back towards the apartment.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

My First Race in 8 Years

I ran my first race today since my Island School Half Marathon.  The Michael Trama Memorial 5K Run/Walk was held at Centre Island Beach to benefit the Trama family, who sadly lost their father to an undiagnosed tumor.  I didn't realize I was going to be around this weekend, but I came back to my parents' house, saw the race online, and showed up this morning.

I finished in 21 minutes 55 seconds, coming in 3rd for women overall and 1st in my age group.  Booyah!

Thursday, September 23, 2010


For some reason, I always get offered an Equifit when I'm overweight and out of shape. An Equifit is Equinox's fitness assessment and complimentary training session. On Tuesday I was heading into the 85th and 3rd location for Omar's class when a trainer named Morgan stopped me. I signed up for an appointment for last night. My results place me in the average range. Average? Me? Mediocrity is synonymous with death! I was able to do 25 push ups, which is good, but 30 would've been excellent. Morgan assures me he can fix this. We have our training session scheduled for Thursday, and if I can afford it I'd like to work with him once a week.

I stuck around for 8-Pack Abs with Mario Green. This half hour class is a full core workout that aims for muscle failure. I plan to incorporate it into my schedule. I kind of wanted to stay for R.I.P.P.E.D but I still feel gross from my delightful case of food poisoning.

Tonight I'm either going for a long river run or hitting up Cardio Junkie. My Equifit has reminded me that I have a lot of work to do.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


Now that I'm back in my apartment and my toe is nearly healed, it's time to break out the Vibram Five Fingers. I really like them as a commuter shoe, and wore them to and from school yesterday. They attract a lot of attention. Some girls from the high school located near the elementary school I work in were so fascinated by my footwear that they asked to take pictures of them on their phones.

I wore my Vibrams to Urban Rebounding for the first time. Terrell, the instructor, has a pair and he recommends them for this workout. I found that the class felt more difficult with them on because they don't give you the same bounce as a pair of sneakers. I think this is a good thing because I had to work my legs and core more to do the moves, therefore maximizing the time I spent in the class.

After class Terrell and I discussed how people who are knowledgeable about fitness recognize Vibram Five Fingers as a training shoe, but the rest of the population will try to make fun of you. Don't wear Vibrams if you aren't prepared to answer questions and take a little teasing.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

New Tanning Bed!

The KBL America
 There's a new bed at Beach Bum Tanning in Greenvale! With a 10 minute maximum, you know the bulbs are fresh. I haven't been in a bed this high-tech since I went tanning in Paris. Um yes, I went tanning in Paris. Regularly. I have an excuse, I was depressed.

The KBL America (God I love patriotic product names!) is a cocoon of vitamin D and happiness. It has a built-in sound system and different controls located at eye level. I don't actually mess with those things (while I was in France I couldn't even understand them) but you can change the volume, music, etc. There is an aromatherapy option (gross) but (thankfully) Beach Bum hasn't put any scent in. The thing that I love about newer beds is the mist function and the KBL America has it. After about 4 minutes it mists automatically, keeping you cool, and fresh.

The KBL America is a Diamond Level bed. I think it's worth the money to tan Diamond if you don't tan as often as you did in high school.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

My Feet Are So Busted I'm Embarrassed to Get a Pedicure

It's true. I'm embarrassed to let Pearl see my feet because I know what she is going to say to me. She is going to lecture me about my athletic endeavors and my insistence on wearing inappropriately cute party shoes for long stretches at a time. A few weeks ago I badly stubbed my right pinky toe during a night of debauchery. Days later I stubbed it again on one of the many baby gates that act as an obstacle course in my parents' house. Then I stubbed it on my sheets. (Didn't know that one was possible, now did you?) I have been regularly attending kickboxing, dance, sculpt, and something painful called Tabata Cardio. My right pinky toe now resembles a squashed sea slug that has been left to rot on a shadeless beach.

To compensate for my disfigured and dysfunctional toe, I think I started landing on my foot differently. This has lead to a sharp pain in my foot that screams, "Stress fractures!" to me, but what do I know? There's no visible bruising like the last time I had stress fractures in my feet, so perhaps it's not so serious.

To add insult to injury, I decided to wear the cutest, yet most ill-fitting hot pink pumps last Friday night. I was heading up to Hartford for the MML's birthday and I found a hot pink party dress in the basement. Obviously this meant that I needed to wear these adorable Bebe shoes with pink plumes with it. Only problem is that these shoes always rip up my feet (even when my feet aren't already abused), which is why I haven't worn them since high school. Trotting down Trumbull in those things was a seriously poor decision.

Today I broke out the nail clippers, nail scissors, and tweezers and dug out every ingrown nail I could find. My toenails are grossly misshapen, my blisters have callouses and my callouses have blisters, but I'm pretty confident that I will be able to attend kickboxing tomorrow night without toe pain. Now if only I could touch my toes...

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


I have a weird relationship with spinning. I'll go a bunch of times, think that I am all into it, and then I don't go for 6 months or more. I went to two spin classes last week. On Friday I went to Cycle Tech with Melissa Soss and on Saturday I went to Studio Cycling with Damian Vella. I wish I could explain to you the difference between Studio Cycling and classes with fancier names, but honestly, it's all the same to me. My favorite spin instructor is Craig Eisenberg. His enthusiasm is contagious, which is really helpful when you are huffing and puffing up an imaginary hill and praying to the fitness gods that the class will end.

I never invested in a pair of cycling shoes. I hear that they make all the difference and I would probably have more efficient peddling strokes. Tim McNamara, also an Equinox cycling instructor, recommends Pearl Izumi shoes. He also says that is a good place to order cycling shoes from because you can order a pair in multiple sizes and return the ones that don't fit free of charge.

Sun Salutations with No Sun

So I'm not really a yoga person, but today I decided to go to Vinyasa Flow Yoga taught by Michael Aronoff. My legs have been feeling super tight lately and I have been having trouble sleeping. I've never gone to one of Michael's classes before, but he is a knowledgeable instructor and I really enjoyed it.

Today I learned that you are supposed to pick something you are grateful for when practicing sun salutations. I picked my sister. I haven't really liked my sister in the past, and I know the feeling was mutual. However, she and I have gotten along better this summer and we spent an awesome day together at the beach on Saturday. I don't think I take enough time each day to be grateful for the wonderful people and things I have in my life. If you find yourself rushing from one chaotic event to another, trade a yoga class for your normal cardio, and do some sun salutations for someone you love.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Tap & Track

I have started using my favorite iPhone app Tap & Track again. This app really helped me to hold myself accountable and lose a lot of weight this past winter and spring.
The program is very simple. You input your weight and choose a weight-loss or weight-gain program, i.e. lose 1/2 lb a week, lose 1 lb a week, gain 1 lb a week et cetera, and the app tells you how many calories you can eat that day. There are thousands of foods in the database to choose from that you add to your log. One of the newer features is a list of supermarket brand foods. It's so easy to add brand-name snack foods or your favorite cereal.
I use the Biggest Loser brand food scale to measure out items that don't come in packaged servings.  Today I ate sliced banana and sliced peaches with Fage Total yogurt. The container of yogurt said 90 calories, but I measured out my fruit slices and weighed them in grams. A food scale also makes buying in bulk much simpler. When I buy the big container of Fage yogurt, I'm obviously not going to eat the entire thing in one sitting. I can put a few spoonfuls into a bowl and figure out how many calories my serving is. The Biggest Loser food scale has a tare function, which is great for weighing out salads. You just hit tare between each ingredient and then you don't have to dirty a whole load of dishes to measure everything out.
Tap & Track has an Add Exercise function.  You choose from a list of exercises and input the duration of the activity and it calculates the number of calories you burned.  The app then recalculates how many calories you have remaining for the day.  I now use the Quick Add Calories because I get a more accurate calculation from using my heart rate monitor, but if I go for a long walk or do a fun activity, I still choose from the list.
For $3.99, this program more than pays for itself in the long run.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

I actually am out of my mind.

This evening I went to the Equinox in Great Neck. Yes, I know I ran 4 miles this morning. I started with Yves' 45 minute Total Body Sculpt class. I want to push myself and develop bigger arm muscles, so today I sucked it up and threw a set of 12 lb weights out with my normal 5s, 8s, and 10s. I was able to do most of the heavy weight exercises using the 12s. I knew not to even try to do flys with them though because I ended up hurting myself when I first started using 10 lb weights. There's being insane and then there's being stupid. If I have to miss workouts because I injured myself, I get really pissed.
The hour of Cardio Kickboxing came next. I was really psyched because my friend T was there and we worked out in the front together. She motivates me to work harder. I am really impressed by how good she looks these days. Yves' kickboxing class is an amazing workout because it targets every part of your body. He added resistance bands to our mat work and I'm sure I'm going to feel it in my glutes tomorrow.
Yves' Dance Fusion class in on Tuesday nights. I don't like any of his other dance classes, but I love this one. I don't know if it's the people or the routines, but it always puts me in a good mood. I always end up leaving in the middle of the other dance classes in an awful mood. I blame the people. I am a horrible dancer and it's not like I don't know it. I stay in the back, try to stay out of people's way, and laugh at myself the entire time. Dance Fusion lets me work on improving my rhythm.  It's been slow progress.
I finished up my workout with a few sets on the abductor and adductor machines. This older gentleman was incredibly impressed that I had 185 lbs on the machine. He asked if I were a jock. I had to say no, even though I was very tempted to say yes. I burned 1,600 calories at the gym according to my Polar FT7. I burned a little over 400 calories running, but I don't trust the iPod as much as my HRM so I round down. All in all, 2,000 calories burned from exercise is something to smile about.
I had 16 ounces of coffee and a protein shake made with almond milk before I went to the gym (205 calories) so I figured I should have a substantial dinner. Not eating enough actually screws with your metabolism and you thwart your weight loss efforts. My family had tacos for their dinner so I used the leftover ingredients to create this:
So I ate my dinner out of a mixing bowl.  Shoot me.
Please ignore my cat Coly's behind in the background.

Nike+ iPod

Back in February I bought myself a new iPod Nano and a new pair of Nike+ running sneakers.  Then I used them twice and that was the end of that.  My successful Central Park run has inspired me to start getting my money's worth out of my running gear.

On Thursday I ran 11.23 miles according to my iPod.  I am out on Long Island and I thought it was going to be a pleasant experience.  Unfortunately the village of Matinecock is not meant for outdoor running and I spent a good portion of my run trying not to get run over.  I ran back towards Mill River Road and then continued my run into the town of Oyster Bay.  I hit the 10 mile mark when I reached CVS on Route 106 and managed to struggle through the remaining 1.23 miles home.  My feet were so torn up after this experience that I hobbled myself into Angel Tip Nails for a pedicure the next day.

Today I decided that I would go over to the Vernon School track to calibrate my iPod.  This turned out to be a failure.  The distance markers on the track didn't match up to the distances on my iPod.  If anyone knows what I am doing wrong, I would greatly appreciate some feedback.  I am going to be mighty disappointed if I find out that I did not in fact run 11.23 miles on Thursday.  Although I was unable to calibrate the sensor, I did run 4 miles.  I then walked around my block as a cool down.

I'm looking for a running partner for the month of August.  If you're interested in running with me in Central Park or along the East River, send me a note.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Out of Shape Out of Mind?

Unfortunately I achieved my best beach body in March, and no one got to see me in a bikini.  This summer I have spent more time drinking beer than doing cardio.  Basically I'm getting fat.  I'm still hitting up the gym regularly, but not with my former intensity, and I am definitely not eating clean.  My summer job provided me with a college dining hall-style all-you-can-eat-in-one-sitting dinner and I attacked that buffet line like it was going out of style.  I can eat thirteen oatmeal raisin cookies.  After three plates of pasta.  Sometimes I even ordered another dinner after I got home from work.

I am up 10 lbs, which is so not okay.  Starting today, I am publicly announcing (to my -3 readers), that I am going to eat clean, cut down on the alcohol, and take my workouts seriously.  Instead of a carbtastic lunch, I had sliced peaches with Fage 0% yogurt and a drizzle of honey.  Like the Nutri-Grain bar commercial tells us, one good decision leads to a whole day of them.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Just a Civilized Day with My Coworker

Despite an awkward argument over a performance review last evening, A came to stay at my apartment.  We were able to ignore the siren call of karaoke night (thankfully the argument via text message made us a little too late to attend) and get to bed at a reasonable hour.  We had planned the ultimate civilized day since tonight is my last shift at work.

I got up on time.  A did not.  After finishing my morning coffee, I was able to convince him to get out of bed and into his sneakers.  We ran down York and hung a right on 81st Street to check on my car.  Petunia was safely still parked where we had left her and I am happy to report that there was no orange envelope tucked under her windshield wiper.  We continued towards the Park and entered at 79th Street.  A and I ran down through the Zoo and towards Columbus Circle.  We kept going, dodging couples, tourists, and baby carriages (is the Bugaboo still in?) up towards the Reservoir.  I will admit that by the time we had reached the Reservoir run, I was feeling the grit in my lungs and debating if I should quit smoking.  This was no recycled Equinox A/C.  Fresh air hurts.  We ran around the Reservoir and exited the Park at 85th Street.  Our route was at least 5 miles according to Map My Run.

On the way back to the apartment, A and I went to Best Buy for some new headphones.  (Do you feel nauseous yet?  Because writing this is making me realize how grossly coupily this sounds.  I hate people who do this actually.)  We each got a pair of SONY BUMPIN BUDS.  Mine are blue and they are beautiful.  I wanted to take a look in JackRabbit Sports as well.  The staff is so nice in there.  They inquired about our run and weren't pushy at all.  I think I will go to them next time I need a new pair of running shoes.

After showering and packing the car for work, A and I went to Alice's Tea Cup Chapter III for lunch.  I cannot begin to tell you how pleased I am with that meal.  We started with white chocolate blueberry scones and a pot of Alice's Tea.  Now A claims he's not a tea or a hot beverage drinker (no coffee ever?!), but even he liked it.  I thought it was delicious.  I had the curried chicken salad sandwich and A had the grilled chicken with goat cheese and granny smith apples sandwich.  Mine was great, but A's was better.  Overall, the day was productive and civilized.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

I (still) Need New Cross-Trainers (again)

The amount of time I spend thinking about, obsessing over, stressing over, and feeling mildly nauseous about purchasing new cross-trainers is actually a little sickening.  These are the pair I am eyeing today.,pdp,ctr-inline/cid-1/pid-310407/pgid-310408

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

I've lost definition in my tricep.

The BOSU is NOT a Towel Rack

Granted I should have come 20 minutes earlier to secure prime real estate.  Yes, I am aware that Yves' classes fill up fast and that it's a dog eat dog world in group fitness.  But what really pisses me off, like tempted to throw my hand weight at you pissed off, is when someone takes a piece of equipment that others would like to use and then just stares at it.  This overweight woman, wearing extremely unflattering workout pants, used her BOSU trainer as a TOWEL RACK for the duration of Muscle Tech this morning.  I could have killed her.  Once, just once in the entire 60 minutes did she even put her foot on it (during body bar triceps rows) and then she got off and didn't even use it for the other side!  Here I am using the mini-step, which I CANNOT stand, and she's got a towel rack.  Said towel rack also took up a lot of her workout space so she was forced to do her half-assed floor lunges in mine.  Unfortunately half-assed effort will not halve her ass.  She did loan me her 8 lb weights (she had 3 different sets) after she was prompted to by the instructor.  So she's not completely evil.

Lessons learned:
1. Show up 30 minutes early because people are beasts.
2. Stay away from overweight people who wear ugly workout clothes.
3. Be considerate and don't take things you're not planning on using.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Too Busy to Eat Breakfast?

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but many of us still skip it. If you wake up at 5am like I do, you probably aren't interested in cooking while you can barely open your eyes. I've been making a quick, simple, and surprisingly tasty breakfast to eat before I leave for the subway. It keeps me full until my 10:25am snack (you've got to love the elementary school schedule) and doesn't wreck havoc on my diet.

-Put 1/2 cup dry Irish-style oats into a microwave safe bowl.
-Cover oats with water until just submerged.
-Microwave for 2 minutes.
-Mix in 1 tbsp of peanut butter. (I like Skippy Super Chunk)
~275 calories~

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Although the Mayor has rescinded his decision to lay off teachers, the wonderful time of the year when the excess list comes out is now upon us. Since the hiring freeze went into effect weeks after I was hired, I am at the bottom of the totem pole yet again. FML.

I spent last year having panic attacks over the whole excessing issue while watching NCIS marathons and inhaling seamlessweb orders in my bed. No wonder I was 20 lbs overweight, depressed, and embarrassed to go out with my thinner friends. I clearly was not handling the stress in a productive manner.

This year I will be dealing with my feelings by kicking my ass in the gym. I'm back to under 125 lbs and making good food choices. The sense of accomplishment I get from pushing myself to lift heavier, move faster, and try more complex classes helps me to cope with the feelings of helplessness I get at work.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Incentive Plan

I use a few different incentive plans as part of my overall classroom management. I know from experience how effective incentives can be and that people will radically change their behavior if they want something badly enough.

To help combat my recent lack of motivation (and weight gain!), I have decided to implement my own incentive plan.  For every twelve hours of workout classes, I will buy myself something new for the gym.  Right now I am after a new pair of crosstrainers.  Since I really want a new pair of sneakers, I have more reason to pause One Tree Hill marathons and drag my fat ass off the couch to the gym.  I chose to only reward myself for fitness classes because this keeps me from cheating.  I don't always workout that hard if I go workout on my own and I don't want to get "credit" for a half-assed attempt on the ellipitical.

The annoying thing is that most NYC Equinox fitness classes are only 45 minutes.  On Long Island they are an hour, which makes the whole counting thing a bit easier.  Regardless, I am going for a full twelve hours before I get these shoes.  I have completed 4.5 hours as of last night.

Gym Bag Love

I fell in love with a gym bag. After several purchases, I finally found the perfect bag to bring the basic essentials with me to work so I can hit the gym right after I get back to Manhattan. All the Equinoxes are conveniently located within a block of the subway stops. I have found that I lose motivation if I walk back to my apartment to get changed.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Walking to the End of the World

So last night's anxiously awaited East River run was cancelled. My running buddy was recently accepted into med school and her acceptance package was being held hostage by the UPS warehouse. Don't get me started on how it is absolutely ridiculous that packages are only delivered during the hours that most people are at work and unavailable to sign for them. I digress.

Instead of the run, I volunteered to join my friend on a walk from the UES to 43rd and 10th. It's about 7 miles round trip. We walked along the park and Columbus Circle. The tourists lined up for carriage rides made part of the trip dismal, but on the way back it was quiet and peaceful. We even saw a racoon in a garbage can. I must admit that his presence made me nervous. One of my students last year told me that you should be concerned if you see a racoon and concrete. Granted, she phrased this wisdom a bit differently.

I wore my HRM for the trip to UPS and clocked 295 calories before I paused it. The signal got lost and it was getting uncomfortable so I took it off on the way back. Still, a 7 mile walk is great exercise for a rest day and a good way to catch up with a friend. Hopefully the weather stays nice because I might start my own walking tours.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Training C.A.M.P

I must admit that I have been anxious lately about my workout schedule. Before the move I had my routine set, including back up plans in case of traffic. I was also concerned that I wouldn't find a suitable replacement for Yves' cardio kickboxing class. While my schedule may still be out of whack, I have found a new class to be obsessed with.

Curtis Williams' Training C.A.M.P is everything I could have wanted and more. Based on exercises used by NFL players, we spent 45 minutes sprinting, shuffling, and doing absurd plyometric push-up/lunge/squat things that seemed impossible. I felt like I was going to throw up, in a good way.

This class is for people who want to work hard. There was an equal amount of men and women taking the class, which is somewhat unusual for group fitness classes that are not spinning. Unlike many of the classes I have gone to, you will not see a woman wearing too much make-up and impractical workout gear tapping her feet while staring at herself in the mirrors. This is a good thing.

*Finish up your workout with Curtis' 15 minute Ab Blast class directly following Training C.A.M.P

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Urban Rebounding

Last night I went to Urban Rebounding at the 85th & 3rd location. Yes, that's right. I finally moved back to NYC!
I have dabbled in Urban Rebounding before. Roslyn offered it briefly in the winter of 2007/2008, but I guess it wasn't very popular. I went to the class at 63rd & Lex, which is taught by the instructor who created it, JB Burns, a few times last year.
The Urban Rebounder is a mini trampoline. The entire class is taught while on it. You quickly learn the set of exercises, but executing them well is the challenging part. There's the basic bounce, with legs spread shoulder width apart and hands on the hips. The key to bouncing is jumping down, instead of up. Many of the other exercises are moves you'd recognize from step and kickboxing classes. We did step touches, hamstring curls, power squats, high knee runs, and military presses. The difference is that you are constantly bouncing. You can even mock rope. If you think you can mock rope on the ground easily, this will still be a major challenge.
One of the things I have always liked about this class is the use of the quarter turn. The instructors design the routine so that you are doing the same set of exercises at least four times. It's really cool to see the entire room doing the moves while bouncing and moving in a circle.
Yesterday I used handweights during the class for the first time. This makes it more challenging. Last time I tried it, I thought my arms were going to give out, but I've really improved my fitness level over the last year. Urban Rebounding is a great cardio workout that keeps your heart rate up. I think I'm going to make it part of my regular routine.

Urban Rebounding, 85th & 3rd
Monday 7:05pm-7:50pm (abs run over)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Barre Burn and falling off the wagon

     I have been eating like it's going out of style and it has totally caught up with me.  I was finally so disgusted with myself that I had to visualize myself at my absolute heaviest and then prevent myself from throwing up in my mouth.
     Speaking of throwing up in my mouth, I went to Barre Burn tonight for the first time in over a month and it was so hard, I did throw up in my mouth.  This class is a mixture of pilates, yoga, light weights, and barre work.  My quads were burning so much at the bar that I thought I was going to keel over and I prayed that the 3 minute segments would be over before I passed out.  We did this pretzel move that targeted our obliques, glutes, and thigh muscles that was absolute torture, but I swear I could feel it working immediately.  This is a class that gives results.
    Definitely worth going.  When I was going regularly, I noticed an improvement in my flexibility that is certainly lacking now.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Woohoo! Bonne is back on Wednesdays!

    After months of requesting (okay, maybe harassing is a better word) the Group Fitness managers at the Long Island Equinox locations, Bonne has evening classes again!  Unfortunately I'm moving next week, but I was able to attend tonight's Strength and Sculpt.  My butt kills!  The thing I love most about Bonne as an instructor is her attention to form.  She is great about making small but crucial corrections that end up making a big difference.
    Bonne will be teaching cardio at 4:30 pm and sculpt at 6 pm on Wednesdays at the Roslyn Equinox from now on.  Make sure to get there.  You'll thank me.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Quantity of Quality Socks

     I spend a good portion of each day wearing athletic socks and I am very particular about the socks I wear.  I HATE socks that cover my ankles.  I think this encourages a cankle look and should be avoided at all costs.
     After much trial and error, I found my absolute favorite socks.  Someone in my family bought the Old Navy athletic socks and a pair found their way into my closet.  I wore them to kickboxing and fell in love.  The socks come in many colors, including plain white.  I happen to be partial to the blue and turquoise socks because I think they look pretty.  I also like the grey ones as well.
    The best thing about these socks is that they don't move around.  The problem with many low-cut socks is that they slip below your sneaker and then give you blisters.  It is also a really irritating feeling when a sock keeps slipping lower and lower into your shoe.  Old Navy socks are just the right thickness to keep your foot feeling cushioned but not bulky.  And the price is a steal!  The sticker says 2 for $10, which means 2 packs of 3 pairs of socks.  Six pairs of socks for 10 bucks?  Some of the other brands charge $12 for one pair of socks and they just don't measure up.  The quantity of quality socks just can't be beat.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Great hair vs. Great abs - when life challenges your workout

     Sometimes life tries to challenge your workout schedule.  For example, I called a few weeks ago and made a hair appointment for today.  I didn't think much of it because I just wanted a cut and color done by my hair stylist on a day that I didn't have work.  But then I was asked out to dinner for tomorrow night.  I tried to reschedule my hair appointment, but Jorge is not available tomorrow.  So now, I have awesome hair tonight, but I need awesome hair tomorrow.
     "But why won't your hair look awesome tomorrow?" you might ask.  Any good blowout should last two or even three days, and Jorge's blowouts are the best, but this means I'll have to skip tomorrow morning's workout.  I just don't think I have it in me to do that.  I like to eat too much and I like my abs a lot too.  And don't even get me started on women who don't have to shower after working out.  What they do is called walking around in spandex.  Real workouts leave you, and the floor around you, drenched in sweat.  I have to get an extra towel to mop up the floor during class so that I don't slip in my own puddle.
     I am not allowed to wash my hair for twenty-four hours or the color will wash out.  I REALLY want to go to Bonne's cardio class tomorrow so I'm trying to experiment with ways to keep my hair completely off my skin.  That way I can "wash" it with dry shampoo and then shower with a cap on.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tuesday Triple

Today I took 3 classes at the Roslyn Equinox.  I was pissed that the rain shut down the road I usually take and caused me to miss the first 10 minutes of my first class.

Cardio Sculpt - Taught by my favorite instructor, Bonne Marcus (formerly Marano), this class mixes intense cardio drills with sculpting intervals.  Bonne always mixes it up and she has awesome moves for ab work.  I HATE doing traditional crunches and Bonne's ab exercises get real results quickly.  One thing we do is squat and rotate with a medicine ball.  Every third rotation, we pick up our leg and stick it.  This is great for creating a flat midsection!  I'm also a big fan of the rocking horse and we tend to do a lot of those.

Athletic Flex - I tried this class for the first time today and I loved it.  A lot of shoulder and back work, which I tend to shy away from if I'm working out on my own.  What can I say?  My legs are much more powerful than my arms and I like to show off.  We used the body bar quite a bit and we used 8 lb weights for the duration of the class.  The thing I liked the most about this class was the instructor's use of dynamic deadlifts.  I am definitely going to feel it later today/tomorrow.

CARDIO Burn! - I am obsessed with Yves Maco's group fitness classes.  He is the reason I was able to lose 20 pounds.  I also lost 6% body fat.  His kickboxing classes are insane, but this class is also awesome.  I love when I have Tuesdays off from work and get to go.  CARDIO Burn! is spent on a bench and incorporates light weights.  I use 3 lb weights.  I have tried 5 lbs and I thought I was going to die.  The choreography was really hard for me at first, but I started taking Yves' dance classes and now I can fake my way through the cha chas and the turns.  The intensity of Yves' classes deliver the almost unbelievable results.  My HRM said I spent most of the class between 175 and 190.

I did 13 minutes of the PRECOR afterwards because I wanted to read the new SELF and cool down a little bit.  Overall, my HRM tells me I burned 1,764 calories while at the gym (including the 15 minutes between Cardio Sculpt and Athletic Flex that I spent socializing and drinking a protein shake.)  Not bad for a Spring Break morning.

Monday, March 29, 2010


     Today I went to Impact! at the Roslyn Equinox.  I have been eyeing this class for quite some time, but I wanted to go to Pam's class, which is only offered on Mondays when I am usually at work.  I picked up a pair of white Everlast 12 ounce gloves (so hot) at Dick's Sporting Goods yesterday so that I could attend today's class.  These were definitely a good investment because most of this class is spent working with the bags.
     Impact! allowed me to practice the skills I have learned in cardio kickboxing and work on my form.  My arms were killing me and kicks are totally different when you are actually kicking something.  Two people work on each bag to keep it from moving around, and I must apologize to my partner.  I was all over the place.  I think we started a little late, but we got in a solid 50 minutes and I was dying at this point.  I really didn't believe that 12 ounce gloves would make that much of a difference, but even jumping jacks were more difficult.
     My one issue with wearing boxing gloves is that I am a fidgeter, and they make it extremely difficult to fidget.   I am always tightening my ponytail, readjusting my sports bra, and now that I have a heart rate monitor, I find that I'm playing with that thing too.  I had to keep taking off my gloves to readjust everything.  Next time I will make sure to be completely set before I put those things on.  My HRM said I burned just under 500 calories during the class.  I know I wasn't working at my full intensity because I was trying to figure out what to do and I was busy messing with the gloves.  The class level would probably burn more than 500 calories if I worked hard the entire time.

When, if ever, is it acceptable to wear a HRM during sexual activity?

Some websites allow you to estimate calories burned during different physical activities. I am fairly familiar with many of these websites, as well as similar iPhone apps, and I regularly see "sexual activity" as an activity option. Now this didn't really strike me as odd until I purchased my Polar FT7 heart rate monitor.

You cannot truly know how many calories you burned during a particular activity unless you wear a heart rate monitor programmed to your settings. These estimation websites are based off of other people's data and mathematical formulas. I understand how a website could ask 10 different people to run a 9 minute mile while wearing a chest strap and HRM, and then use this data to generate a formula, but has anyone been asked to wear a chest strap and HRM during sexual activity?

This brings me to my true question: Is it socially acceptable to wear a heart rate monitor while having sex?  I think I would genuinely like to know how many calories I burn in let's say, 20 minutes. There was a point in my life when sexual activity was my main (okay, only) form of exercise, and it would have been nice to know if I was making any significant impact in burning the fat off my thighs.

I first thought that you could probably get away with wearing a HRM while having sex with someone you probably won't be having sex with again, (what do you care if they think you're weird? it's not like you're planning on eating breakfast with them) but then I realized you want to use this with the person you sleep with most frequently so that you can consider the calories burned as standard for the duration of the relationship. I'm not sure what to tell you if you're not practicing monogamy.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Polar FT7 Heart Rate Monitor

Today I finally purchased a heart rate monitor!  I am so excited to start using it for my group class workouts.  I have been using the Tap&Track iPhone app to estimate my calories burned during exercise, and I have decided that it is just not accurate enough.  What does intense/moderate/low really mean?  My moderate effort might be someone else's low or intense.  I originally wanted an F6 or an F11, but the knowledgeable salesguy at Dick's Sporting Goods convinced me that the FT7 chest band was the most comfortable.  Dick's doesn't carry the F11, so that wasn't an option.

I tested the FT7 while working out to The Biggest Loser Cardio Max.  I picked the DVD up at the library today while checking out Stephen King's The Stand.  I do not recommend this video for anything besides a warm-up.  Regardless, the HRM is awesome.  I am going to try it again this evening for an abs video and then bring it to the gym with me tomorrow.

Thank you Trevor

Thank you Trevor for coming up with this title.
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