Mama’s Gonna Knock You Out

Thanks Trainer Karl for a great workout.

Thanks Trainer Karl for a great workout.

I don’t want to say I’m back, but I am feeling inspired. With the kid at sleep away camp (and having a blast) I find myself with more free time than usual. This week I took full advantage of the fact that I didn’t have to be home by a specific time or pay a sitter. We tried two new restaurants (well new to us) and I went not once but twice to a relatively new gym in Santa Monica, Gloveworx.

I first learned about Gloveworx from my friend Christina Malizia, a top fitness trainer and co-founder of CHILLBYWILL. Christina knows I love to try new things and that I’m alway up for a challenge. She said I would love Gloveworx and she was right. My first class was on Wednesday night. I went with three of my work peeps to a BOOM class. When I first arrived I felt a bit intimidated. There was a class going on and these people were working hard – sweaty hard. Class started and we were introduced to our instructor Karl. We started with a brief warm up on a spin bike. From there the 5 of us went over to the turf and were instructed on the proper stance and taught how to do a 1-2-3 combination. 3 of us were then brought into the ring. Our hands were wrapped and we picked out a pair of gloves (they supply wraps and gloves if you don’t have your own). I put on some awesome pink gloves and was ready to go. I had gone to a boxing gym in downtown San Diego the summer before I started college and loved it. Though it had been years, maybe even decades since I had gloves on I was energized and ready to go. There is something about standing in a ring that makes you feel tough! We spent about 5 minutes in the ring with Karl. He’d alternate between the three of us and work with us on our technique. From the ring we went to the turf where another trainer led us in a series of ab/core exercises. These were no joke. We then got on rowers and I became breathless trying to get below 1:55 on the rower (not sure I know what that means but it was hard). We repeated the ring, turf, cardio two more times. Our time on the turf got even more difficult (plank, squats, jump squats, high knees) and the final cardio session was on a Versa Climber. Wow maybe all the treadmill running wasn’t doing as much as I thought. Class flew by and left me drenched, just how I like it.
I came home super pumped and began plotting my next visit. I recruited my regular workout buddy and another friend to go Friday (yesterday) at 6:30am. Again we did another Boom class. This class was with Leyon, one of the Co-Founders. In this class we followed a similar format with the addition of time on a heavy bag. Can we talk about how fun it is to try and whack the sh%$ out of a heavy bag. Not only is it fun and therapeutic but this morning the back of my arms and my entire back are sore (that’s a good thing).
Gloveworx is located in Santa Monica on Wilshire between 15th and 14th. The first class is free. Go check it out and tell me what you think.

Orange Is The New … Workout

Friday morning I tried the brand new Orangetheory Fitness  in Brentwood.   I was told to arrive 15 minutes early to get the heart rate monitor set up.  This meant arriving at 5:15am.  What was I thinking?

Parking was a breeze.   The check in process was easy. Sign a waiver, get a moist heart rate strap (don’t worry it isn’t residual sweat…they wet the straps to make it less abrasive on your skin and it helps facilitate the Bluetooth transmission to the PODS) and put around your chest.  Snap on a Polar monitoring component.

Here is a run down of my 60 minute class (I may have missed a few details):
Minutes 1 – 10:
On and off the rowing machine.  Doing short bursts on the machine then getting up and doing full body squats.  What am I doing wrong. My feet are getting stuck when I try and get out of the rowing machine.  My heart rate (there are mounted flat panels with your name and % of exertion listed) is not going up.  I woke up at 4:45am for this?  The instructor needs to explain more up front and walk us through how to set the machine, proper rowing technique etc.

Minutes 11 – 30:
On the floor doing two different circuits.  The first involves TRX and burpees.  I hate burpees (but I know they are good for me).  What am I doing wrong. Instructor is saying heart rate should be in the orange zone.  I’m still nowhere near there and I can tell by the monitor other people are getting their heart rates up.  The second circuit is with dumbbells – chest fly, skull crushers, and then abs.  Okay, I know I’m getting a workout but maybe I’m just flat out bad at this class. Do I like it? Am I glad I came.  Hmm … Still not sold.

Minutes 31 – 56:
Treadmill time.  I can do this.  I can run on the treadmill.  We do a set of intervals.  Medium pace for two minutes , faster pace for one minute , fastest pace for one minute, walk.   Now I’m getting it.  My heart rate is 96%.  Awesome. Yay me I must really be doing a great job.  I can’t remember all the different combinations we did on the treadmill. I was too out of breath to think about it.  This is good.  I’m panting and dripping with sweat.  This was a great idea. I’m so glad I got up.

Minutes 57 – 60:
The moment of truth.  Our stats are put up on the screen and we are led through some stretches.  I’m too distracted by the data.  I have real data about my workout in the form of a bar chart showing how many minutes I spent in each of the zones and total calories burned.  I’m kind of bummed by the calorie count – 404 calories.  Seriously is that all.  A tad depressing seeing some of the men burned more than 700.

The teacher explains what the results mean and I’m asking a bunch of questions.  Mainly I want to know how  I optimize my workout in order to burn the most calories.  Answer, Orangetheory (spend your time in the Orange Zone).   Interesting so maybe I shouldn’t try and run so fast?

I leave class and within a few hours I have the results of my workout emailed to me.  This is good.  I now have a benchmark and you better believe I will be back again this week to beat my results.

With the studio just opening on Friday, I expect it to take a bit of time for the instructors to find their rhythm.  One thing I hope they add ASAP is towel service.

So if you are looking for a new workout to try Orangetheory is it and they have over 400 locations.

 

photo (6)

Pretzels at The Bar….Method that is

I know you’ve been doing Bar classes for years now.  I could never get my head around spending a hour  doing something where I wasn’t dripping with sweat.  Cardio was my mantra for years.   I’m sorry I didn’t listen to you sooner when you told me how amazing Bar Method is.  Well amazing may not be the right word, but I can see why you were hooked.  Holy sh&T that is one tough workout.  I’ve been going once a week for the last 3 months (well that is what I’ve been trying to do).    I’m fairly certain I’m always the worst in the class.  I have zero flexibility so things like getting my leg  up on the bar pose a bit of a challenge.   That being said, I don’t care and I’m certain nobody else in the room cares either.  We are all too busy “pushing our limits” and “experiencing the shake.”  I  kid you not, at time it feels like I’m my own earthquake but they say that is “when the change really starts to happen.”  Oh and there are pretzels at the Bar but you don’t eat them.  Instead, I think they eat your fat away.

Bottom line is I get it, I understand why people hit the Bar. In fact,  I wish I could do a 30 day Bar challenge as I truly believe I would see changes in my body.

You can find me at Bar Method Brentwood @ 6:10am on Tuesdays or Thursdays.

So cheers! Take a shot at the Bar.

Screen Shot 2014-05-07 at 8.27.05 PM

 

 

Super Fly(wheel)

I’ve been in NYC for an eternity. Okay only since Sunday but I swear one day in NY feels like 3 days to me.  I was busy with work so sorry to my friends in NYC if I didn’t reach out.  I’ll be back.  Anyhow, I had lofty ambitions outside of work. I was going to try and different workout every day.  #Fail

However, tonight on my last night, I made it to Flywheel.  It was awesome.  There are 2 Flywheel locations in LA (West Hollywood and Larchmont) but I’ve never been.  Flywheel is indoor cycling but in my opinion it is vastly different from SoulCycle and I firmly believe you can like both.

Here is what I loved about Flywheel:

– I got super sweaty (sweat is fat crying)

– It was over in 45 minutes

– Accountability – Each bike has a little computer that measures your resistance and speed (no more cheating and pretending to put on a full turn)

– Torq Boards – You can choose to have your performance display on leaderboards in class so you can see how you rank against other riders. This was super motivating as I wanted to be first.

– Performance metrics provided in your own private account (snapshot from my account below)

Looks like I’ll be heading East of the 405 more often

Image

 

Tucked in Corners Make Me Claustrophobic

I recently tried Shape House Los Angeles on Broadway @ 10th Street in Santa Monica (there is also a Larchmont location).  The only thing I knew about it was it was an “urban sweat lodge.”  I didn’t do any research and I did not know anyone who had been before. I like to sweat and I like to try new things so I figured I’d give it a try.  I bought a coupon on Yelp thereby getting me the sweat session at a discount.  I didn’t bother to read the reviews.  I booked my appointment and I showed up excited to sweat away stress and toxins.

Upon walking in the door I felt like I entered a “boutique hotel.” I think it was the color scheme – orange and gray.  The relaxation room that I had the option to use after was directly in front of the reception area.  The chairs didn’t look very relaxing and I found it a bit odd that from where I was sitting I was staring directly into the relaxation room.  That being said, the woman I saw in the relaxation room did look very sweaty.

The women who worked at Shape House were nice and the facility very clean.  One showed me where to change into my sweats (I brought my own but  I believe they also had them available for a fee).  Dressed in sweats, socks, and a long sleeve shirt I was shown into my little area.  There was a curtain surrounding a special bed and a private TV mounted on the wall in front of the bed.  I was instructed to get in the bed which had some plastic and metallic like material to wrap around my body.  This is when I began to freak out inside.  I hate sleeping in a bed with a flat sheet firmly tucked in to the corners.  In my own bed I don’t use a flat sheet and the first thing I do at hotels is untuck the sheet. Sleeping bags forget about them – totally out of the question. I need to be able to move freely.  So now I’m laying with my arms by my sides feet firmly enclosed and material on top of me.  It is warm and it proceeds to get warmer.  I’m given headphones and a remote. The TV has ROKU so there is no shortage of things to watch.  Mentally I’m talking myself through my distress and trying to distract myself with the programming on TV.  I decide to watch a documentary on Chipotle – the Mexican fast casual (I learned that phrase) restaurant. It was interesting and motivating in a way.  In my head I was thinking that all this sweating would definitely earn me some Mexican food. (I also learned that Chipotle is an interesting and socially responsible company).   Each time I took my arm out of the bed to drink water (they provide endless supply of alkaline water) I was calmed by the cooler air temperature and reminded that I could leave at any time.  However, there was a part of me that was determined to overcome my phobia and see how long I could stay in a mummy like position.  When I started the woman explained the bed would only get hotter and that she would be by often to check on me and offer me more water.  In the 45 minutes I was in the bed, I drank 3 Liters of water.  I got sweaty, very sweaty.  I never felt relaxed as I was trying to talk myself through the experience.  I didn’t last with my entire body wrapped under all the material. I had to keep my arms out as I was too hot and felt too confined.  You know what it is like when your in a hot tub and so hot that you decide to sit on the edge but still keep your legs in the water, that is what taking my arms out was doing for me.  When the session ended I wasn’t sad.  I went into the relaxation room to cool off and was treated to more water and delicious orange slices.  I kept thinking of the movie Cocoon but I think that is only because I felt like I had been in one for the past 45 minutes.  While I do like to sweat I realize sweating while exercising is my preferred method.  Second would be going to a spa where I can walk in and out of a steam room or sauna at my leisure.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m glad I went.  I love to try new things. Shape House LA just isn’t for me. If you go or if you’ve been, I’d love to hear about your experience.

Image

I’ve Got The Power

corepoweryoga

I swear every New Year I think about how I should do more yoga. I also think about how I want to do pull ups but that hasn’t happened and I think I’m over pull ups.  Anyhow, this year after hearing my friend Carly rave about Corepower I decided to give it a try.  She told me there was a class called yoga sculpt.  Sculpt, YES, I need a lot of sculpting.  I was a bit intimidated so I enlisted the support of a good friend.  My friend was up for trying something different.  She does a lot of yoga but Corepower was new to her  We arrived and managed to squeeze our mats so they were next to one another.  We sat down on our mats and began to take it in our surroundings.  At one point before class started she looked over at me and said, “I feel like I’m in the movie This is 40.” Sadly I’m closer to 40 then I am 30 and I got what she meant.  We were flanked by beautiful young women (this place draws a UCLA crowd) scantily clad in sports bras and short shorts. Although I could say age and having birthed a child were my excuse, truth is I never looked like them. As if they were not enough to distract us, in walks a tall, dark, and very chiseled man shirtless and in what I’ll call hot pants.  At this point I was feeling amused.  Regardless of how the class turned out, I knew I’d have some material and visual candy.

Class started and the teacher, Marxel, cranked up the heat and turned up the music.  We did a series of yoga poses and the pace was fast.  Before I knew it I was dripping with sweat and loving every second of it.  I was no longer concerned with the people around me, I was more concerned with myself. OMG I was getting my butt kicked.  Push ups, mountain climbers, up dog, down dog, chaturanga push up, was there no mercy.  Sweat was coming out of pores I didn’t know I had and I felt winded – sprints winded.   I wasn’t the only one sneaking in an extra child’s pose here and there.  Anyhow, about 3/4 of the way through class we picked up our weights (I stuck with 3lb weights) and incorporated them into the movements.  You’d be surprised how heavy those weights begin to feel.

Although I was glad when we took our final savasana, I felt great.  In fact so great that I decided every weekend when possible I would go to Corepower Yoga Sculpt. I’ve now been 4 times.  I’m hooked. Marxel was out of town one of the weekends and there was a different instructor. She was great in her own way but not as hard.  Rumor has it (according to friends and other people I hear talking after class) Marxel is the hardest teacher.  I’m not telling you this so you’ll be that much more impressed with me or think I’m more insane then you once thought. My point is that each instructor is different so give it a try and see for yourself. If you don’t like to work out and don’t like to sweat then don’t go.  But if you are up for a challenge (and have consulted with a physician and are ok to exercise) give it a try.

And if you ever want someone to go with on a Sunday morning, let me know.

Better Late Than Never

I realize I’m what you might call a laggard.  I know people have been blogging for years now and that is great for them.  I decided to do this for me and maybe one or two of my friends out there will find a gem or two in what I have to say.  This blog is the vehicle for me to share the things I love.

Speaking of things I love, exercise is high up on the list. I know some of you hate to exercise. Maybe it is because I grew up playing sports, but for as long as I can remember physical activity has been a part of my daily regimen.  I can’t begin to tell you how excited I was when I finally turned 13 and was able to join a gym.  Thanks mom for supplementing my membership (I did put babysitting money towards it) and helping me get there.  These days I’m not a regular gym goer but I love to try new classes and workout with friends.  One of my favorite places to exercise in Los Angeles is Burn60 in Brentwood.

I’ve been going to Burn60 since it opened many years ago. Prior to having a child (now 7) I went  3-4 times a week. Now if I’m not training for a marathon, I try and take a class once a week.  Quick summary on Burn60. It is a 60 minute treadmill based workout.  You spend half your time on the treadmill and half your time on the floor (resistance training with light weights, bosu balls, kettle bells, push-ups, planks, etc) .  Depending upon the class, the day, the teacher, etc you might do 5 on 5 off, 10 on 10 off, 15 on 15 off, 30 on 30 off, etc.  There are 12 treadmills so at most a class has 24 people in it.  You DO NOT have to be a runner to do Burn60.  There are MANY people who walk on the treadmill.  The great thing about Burn is all the instructors give you recommendations for treadmill speeds: walker, jogger, runner, advanced runner, etc.  This morning’s class was taught by one of my favorite teachers, David Siik. (BTW I also love Keith, Nick, Julie, & Anna).  David is an incredible instructor. He is an accomplished runner and spends a tremendous amount of time crafting each class.  Oh, he’s also a model and one of the nicest people I’ve ever met.  Today’s workout was everything I’d expect from a Burn60 class.  I ran my butt off and had my arms and abs worked to the point where they were on fire.  This to me is a great thing.  And, I saw some friends plus a ton of familiar faces I’ve come to know over the years.

If you are looking to change things up, add Burn60 to the list of things to try.  Also try a few different instructors as everyone has their own style. Oh, and after class you may be able to score some great shoes at Habit (they are currently having a sale). Burn60