A couple of weekends ago, I met up with a bunch of fabulous local bloggers at a three-month old yoga and pilates studio in the South End – Endurance Pilates and Yoga.
We were greeted by the fabulous and energetic owner Julie Erickson. After a quick introduction, she whisked us down a flight of stairs (covered in leopard-print carpet) to the intimate studio for an hour-long sample in which we rotated through pilates, barre and yoga exercises. After, she talked us through the TRX and kettlebell classes she offers in addition and then we took a turn on the reformers. Surprisingly, they are way more fun and less intimidating than I originally thought.
After breaking a sweat, we noshed on the tasty treats Julie and her team put out for us while she told us more about her story and her practice. Julie has been teaching for 20 years, and it shows in her practice. Julie was recently named Boston Magazine’s Best Of Boston® 2014 Personal Trainer!
Julie has an amazing story – as the daughter of a double-amputee, she saw how important core strength was to those learning to walk on prosthetics. It was because of this personal experience that Julie was inspired to work with some of the Marathon bombing survivors (pro bono, I might add). It was beyond touching to hear her talk about how pilates has allowed the survivors to take control of their lives again.
Julie generously gifted each blogger in attendance with a free one-on-one session. I can’t wait to get back in the studio and work out on the TRX and reformers with her help. I’ll let you know how it goes and if I make it out in one piece 🙂 And good news for you ClassPassers, you can sign up for Endurance classes in the app!
I’d be lying if I said I was the most fit person out there. At one point in my life, I was. As a competitive gymnast for about 10 years, I worked out constantly. And then I “retired” and went to college … and then got a job … and then got a bit lazy. You know how it goes.
I go through phases when I work out almost every day and phases when I just don’t for months on end. I’m reentering a workout phase and hoping to make it stick this time. I only ever fall out of my routine because of excuses I make for myself, and it’s time to stop making those excuses.
And while sheer motivation is the main driving force behind a constant routine, cute workout wear doesn’t hurt. I don’t know about you, but a new sneaker or a cute performance hoodie inspires me to go to the gym and show off my new outfit … I mean workout.
So this past weekend, I met up with Elissa from Style Wire for a blogger class at Endurance Pilates (more on that here). Before the class, we had a little fun warming up and snapping some pictures of our newest workout wear. It was so fun to catch up, work out together and compare notes on our respective new workout attire.
Oh don’t mind us, we’re just casually sitting in the middle of this parking lot. Nothing to see here. Move along …
On Saturday, I joined Gluten Free Boston Girl and a bunch of other fabulous Boston bloggers for an afternoon ass-kicking … also known as a Flywheel class. I’ll let you in on a little secret … I’m a grown woman who lives in a city and had never been to a spin class before Saturday. That’s more or less unheard of these days.
Needless to say, I was terrified. Spin classes have always kind of terrified me. While I lift weights and run on the treadmill at the gym, the spin room is always dark, loud and intensely energetic. I was never sure if I had it in me. Well, I sucked up my fears and marched myself over to class on Saturday. At first glance, you might think that Flywheel was a fitness retail store. There is a giant chalkboard with the class schedule, a wall of (complementary) spin shoes for Flywheelers to use during the class and a water fountain with both cold and room temperature water. I’m not sure who actually likes room temperature water, but who am I to judge? Just kidding, I judge all of the time.
The class was about as intense as I expected, so I held back a bit. I could have gone harder, and I regretted not when I realized I could still walk somewhat normally the next day. The stadium seating, dark lights, hot beats (who do I think I am?), instructor Rachele and the TorqBoard all make the class motivational and fun. Plus, it was great to catch up with blogger friends old and new!
And for those of you non-Bostonians, there are lots of other locations across the country. Check out the locations here.
Growing up as a competitive gymnast, I was in the gym around 25 hours a week on average. Working out was my life. Then came a decision to “retire” at 16. About 10 years later, I’m just getting back into the groove of regular exercise. Sad, I know. Over the past 10 years I would work out here and there, but there was no consistency to my schedule (or serious lack thereof).
At the beginning of the year, I rejoined a gym and started going a few times a week. A couple of months later, I took the plunge and signed up for 6 months of personal training. Welp, here I am 2 months into it (I’m actually writing this right after my 2-month check in) and I don’t hate it. I’m getting into a groove, and I’m stronger than I have been in 10 years. Plus, I’ve signed up for a 10k in an attempt to learn how to love (or at least to not hate) running.
While I’m not a pro bodybuilder by any means, I have acquired a taste for nicer gym gear than the old ratty t-shirts I used to wear. Looking a bit more legit in the gym makes me feel more inspired. Shallow? Probably. Anywho, enough of my sob story. Here are some of my favorite workout clothes at the moment!
I was graciously invited to a special blogger class at Pure Barre Boston two weeks ago. I had started working out again about a week or two before the class, so I was a bit cocky heading in. I had heard that Pure Barre kicks your butt, but I thought I would be the kicker, not the kickee. Oh how wrong I was …
It was a chilly day outside, and I walked up the stairs to the Pure Barre Studio all bundled up. Instead of walking into a sterile gym, walking into Pure Barre was like walking into your fabulous best friend’s apartment. It was warm and cozy with flowers, candles and lovely workout gear everywhere.
All of us bloggers grabbed our resistance bands, the Pure Barre balls and a pair of dumbbells, and filed into the mirror-lined studio to get our butts kicked. We were joined by the owner and two trainers who helped us correct our form during the class.
Before I tell you about my experience, I’ll share their technique:
“Pure Barre is a total body workout that lifts your seat, tones your thighs and burns fat in record-breaking time. Utilizing the ballet barre to perform small isometric movements set to fantastic music, Pure Barre is the fastest, most effective, yet safest way to change your body.”
I started out each exercise thinking “oh, I got this one!” Then, a few seconds later, I was sweating, shaking and swearing (hopefully under my breath). While we didn’t do any cardio, I was panting by the end of the class … and really darn tired. They weren’t kidding when they said the exercise would burn, it felt like my muscles were on fire. I woke up the next day sore but not unable to move. While I can’t speak to the long-term effects of regular Pure Barre sessions, I know I felt longer and leaner after just one class.
Have you taken a Pure Barre class before? I’d love to hear about your experience.
Let’s face it, when it comes to working out we’re suckers for effortlessness. We’ve tied on electric ab belts, strapped ourselves to the hula chair and even had a go at the shake weight, all for hopeless quick fix fitness. Now, as Reebok births a sneaker promising to tone our buns and legs while we walk the dog or cruise the mall, we’re wholly intrigued, but naturally suspicious. And so, to set the record straight, I laced up, stepped out and put the Reebok EasyTone to the test.
At First Glance While traditional walking shoes are relatively flat on the bottom, the EasyTone has three balance pods specially designed with balance ball technology. Essentially, the pods cause instability, forcing your calves and hamstrings to work 11 percent harder and your gluts to work 28 percent harder to maintain balance. Pods or not, though, the EasyTone far surpass any other performance enhancing shoe when it comes to aesthetics. While other shoes like the Sketchers Shape Ups are awkward and orthopedic-esque, the EasyTone looks exactly like a regular athletic shoe and even comes in a variety of colors and designs. No fashion fear here, I wore the EasyTone all over the city of Boston, from the supermarket to Saks.
At First Glide After lacing up the EasyTone for the first time, I was on top of the world. Literally. The sneakers added about three inches to my height and the pods had me bouncing around like I was in moon shoes. Luckily, it only took a few minutes to get used to the wobble, and I was soon ready to start my regimen. Because the sneaker is marketed strictly for walking, I wanted to keep it simple. I wore the EasyTone when I ran errands around the city and for 40 minutes four times a week on the treadmill. Walking in the city, I was hardly aware of the sneakers at all, but on the treadmill I especially felt the balance pods. Particularly on an uphill treadmill setting, I had to really concentrate on keeping stable.
At First Gander While the EasyTone had me bopping around town and maintaining a consistent gym schedule, I still didn’t have the lower body of Gisele and was beginning to get impatient. And so, I decided to consult the ultimate expert, “Dr. Legs” herself, Emily Splichal, to see if she had any ideas on how to speed up the toning process. Podiatrist, personal trainer and mastermind behind Catwalk Confidence, a workout designed to help women who frequent high-heels gain strength and flexibility, Splichal knows a thing or two about feet and fitness.
Initially, Splichal was skeptical about the EasyTone solely for walking. She explained that paroneals (muscles and tendons in the lower leg) work the most when maintaining balance and that gluts hardly work at all when walking. Nonetheless, Splichal proposed a different way to tone with the sneakers. “If you did actual balance training they kind of bump up the challenge a bit more,” she said. Workouts much like her own that involve standing on one foot and lifting weights could best maximize the EasyTone’s effects.
At Last Is the EasyTone better than a traditional walking shoe? Surely. Could you enhance their effects with varying workouts? Absolutely. Is wearing them, as Reebok proposes, like “taking the gym with you?” Not exactly. According to Splichal, “Yes, they have the comfort and maybe you walk more because you have these shoes, but they’re not going to overcome the running or aerobic shoes. It’s a trendy thing.”
After last week’s post, long-time BeautyXpose reader Lissa commented that perhaps I needed a challenge to get myself back into the swing of living a healthy lifestyle. At first, I thought it was a friendly proposition to race against her in our respective journeys, but after a welcome email exchange, I found that she was really saying I should race myself.
Does this sound like your typical holiday season?
Lissa introduced me to a site that would help me do just that – SocialWorkout.com. The site offers a free way for users to sign up and inspire themselves and each other with fitness challenges. Currently, the site is featuring The Emergency Holiday Challenge, which challenges users to complete 20 workouts and 10 designated “feats” that range from taking public transportation standing up to grabbing a friend and playing in the snow. Of course, these must be completed between Nov. 26 through Jan. 1. The site encourages you to track your progress by “blogging your workouts,” and it subsequently posts your stats to keep you up to date on how you’re doing.
So will I join the challenge? That remains to be seen. There are a few things holding me back from just jumping in. First, it’s honestly hard for me to imagine adding one more responsibility to my life right now, which feels full to the brim (and overflowing most days). I don’t want to make a major commitment to myself that I know I can’t keep, and I don’t want to feel like a failure if I can’t really stick to it. Second, I don’t especially love the thought of blogging to a site full of runners and other exercise junkies (or so it seems) that I consider a one-mile walk at lunch justifiable for starting to live healthier by just getting up and moving.
That aside, if the site really allows you to determine what constitutes a workout, then, if I plan accordingly (knowing I have travel for work, celebrate my 30th birthday — eek! — and of course, the holidays themselves), I might be able to swing it.
On Friday, after a little TLC with some good food and good company, I’ll sit down and take a good, hard look and plot my path. While it may or may not include this specific challenge (which only seems exercise-based), I can assure you, there will be a solid path in place. And of course, I’ll report my decision back to you next week. In the meantime, have a happy holiday!
This morning I broke into hysterical sobs. Barely able to breath, my bridesmaid held me tight and tried to calm me down. By the time she came back with a wad of tissue paper, I was giggling and bouncing. It FITS!! My dress fits! I’m getting married in under four weeks — and I’m not going to have to go down the aisle naked!
I didn’t cry when I found my dress. I didn’t cry when I picked it up and brought it home. I’m just not that type of girl. But the rush of relief, excitement, thankfulness, happiness, shock, and gratitude when my dress zipped this morning, well it was just too much to take. I sobbed. And then I bounced. And then I giggled. And I haven’t stopped grinning since.
I rewarded myself with eggs Benedict at my most favorite breakfast spot, and to make up for it, I went to the gym.
I’m not going to lie, I was really worried I couldn’t do it. I didn’t trust myself or my workouts or my portion control. But I did it. Here’s hoping I can keep it up for another 4 weeks!
How do you stay motivated after you reach a fitness goal?
Runners everywhere are going barefoot. Well, not actually barefoot, but wearing footwear designed to support the foot’s natural stride while stimulating and strengthening muscles. While these “gloves for your feet” may help your running performance, what kind of fashion statement do they make?
In the spirit of Anne’s journey to a healthier lifestyle, I’ve compiled a list of workout clothes so cute they will make you want to get up and move. We’ve all heard it before — if you look good, you feel good — so what better way to kick-start your workout regime by looking like a pro?