Regenerate Fitness Has My Heart

I decided to try out a new studio that FitReserve recently added to their growing roster: Regenerate Fitness located at 1616 York Ave on the Upper East Side, and I’m so glad I did!

After receiving a friendly greeting from Reggie, the super-buff trainer who set me up with a chest-strap heart rate monitor, our class of four people got warmed up on this crazy contraption, the Helix Lateral Trainer:

This machine was perfect for my bursitis-blighted hip that stopped me in my tracks on the treadmill at Orange Theory Fitness a few days prior. After talking with a physical therapist, I was ordered to stop running for a while, ice my hip, and strengthen my adductors and abductors. The Helix got my heart rate up just as well as running while working those inner and outer thigh muscles.

After the warm up, Reggie led us in a series of targeted-strength training exercises using the ever-popular kettle bell, TRX, straps, and dumbbells. We hopped back on to the Helix for 5-minute intervals to get our heart-rates back up between strength intervals for an efficient workout rivaling my oft-touted Orange Theory Fitness fave.

In fact, Regenerate had almost everything I love about OTF, and they offer different kinds of classes too like Kickboxing and Yoga. Plus they don’t force you to buy the heart-rate monitor, nor do they pressure you to get to a certain zone like OTF does. They provide you with the monitor, advise you on a personalized target heart rate to aim for, and post it for you to watch. The individualized attention of the small class size really made it feel like a personal-training session.

If only I lived on the Upper East Side! Yorkville in particular seems to be the land of the fitness elite. There you can choose from places like Regenerate, EVF, Exceed, The PE Club, PushLab Fitness, and one of my favorite spin spots, Crank.  Meanwhile, over here on the other side of Central Park, the boutique-fitness-studio pickings are slim. I did try a new class in my hood though, at BeFitNYC, and it was a challenging twist on the HIIT circuit. More on their classes and space soon to come!

Regenerate Fitness

Location: 1616 York Ave, between 85th and 86th

PROS: Efficient, HIIT workout with complimentary heart-rate monitors available for use, small class sizes, total body workout – cardio and strength, friendly, knowledgeable trainer, various kinds of classes offered, clean space.

CONS: No locker room or showers, small space, but they keep the class-size small too and offer cubbies for your belongings.

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Hook Up with an Ex on V-Day: Barry

Why is it so hard to resist the hook-up with the former flame that tortured you? This Valentine’s Day I found myself back at Barry’s Bootcamp, and half-way through I had that sinking feeling, like when you run into an ex and then you suddenly find yourself in his bed knowing that you will probably regret it the next day. I’m speaking hypothetically.

I used to wait longingly by my computer everyday at noon to try to book a coveted session at Barry’s Bootcamp through ClassPass. If I got in, I had to make sure I dressed as fashionably as I could (without owning one piece of Lululemon, mind you) to make up for the fact that I weigh more than 110 pounds and don’t have a six-pack. The regulars at Barry’s look they could quite literally be models and professional athletes. And when I first tried it, it was one of the best and most challenging workouts I’d ever encountered. Just like looking past a hot ex’s narcissism, I looked past Barry’s snobbish front desk crew and beau monde crowd. I reasoned that not knowing proper form on the floor lifting weights was my fault, not the trainer’s. The dark lights and smoothie bar were just so irresistible.

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I know better now. Granted, the front desk crew and trainer were quite friendly today, (they even allowed me to enter the class 5  minutes late). But, now that I know how good (and glitz-free) a similar-style workout can be because of Orange Theory Fitness, I could really see all the cracks in Barry’s bronze.

First, they keep it waaay too hot in the workout room! I had to leave at one point to get some air. They must do it so that you feel like you are breaking a sweat fast, but sprinting uphill on a treadmill and increasing every minute by 2 mph doesn’t feel so great in a sauna. Also, it’s cramped on the weight floor. I accidentally kicked someone in the head today. And there is very little explanation or correction of form. There’s just too many people in one room for the instructor to possibly watch what you’re doing. I didn’t feel safe.

I think I may have finally learned my lesson. I will no longer be lured in by the possibility of fitting in with the fit crowd and busting my butt for Barry….except…. they do offer weekend afternoon classes, and well, the smoothie bar. And it’s really convenient to book there now that I have FitReserve. Sigh. As long as I go in knowing what to expect, right?

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TrampoLEAN will make you Jump! Jump!

I wanted to title this post, “Girls on Trampolines,” as a cheap way to get more views, but when I googled it, I was too creeped out. And staring at myself in the mirror as I jumped on command at my strangely fun TrampoLEAN class, I realized that when you are almost 40 and wearing a sports bra, the bouncing flesh is in places that aren’t all that sexy.

But there’s something about jumping, like dancing, that just naturally makes you smile. It feels good to jump. And it took me back to being a kid and sneaking into my mom’s room to jump on the bed. As silly (and humbled) as I felt watching myself do jump squats on a trampoline, I kind of wanted to buy a trampoline after class so I could jump on it everyday.

My TrampoLEAN class took place at a room in the multi-studio venue, DANY studios in Midtown West, and was taught by CEO and founder, Louis Coraggio. It was a small class for a Saturday morning, and the energy-level in the room felt a bit low, or perhaps we were all just self-conscious. Something I’ve noticed since having my own kid is that it’s hard for adults to be silly and playful without alcohol involved, and trampolines by nature are kind of silly. It may have been helpful to address that directly so we could all loosen up a bit.

The workout itself was just as challenging as it was awkward. Within in the first 20 second of a light bouncing I could feel my calf muscles engage in ways they weren’t used to. I found the “knee tuck” jumping (pictured below) especially challenging as it made me feel like I might fall flat on my face at any moment. But by the end of class, it was easier, and I was going higher while flapping my arms like a bird, a move Coraggio aptly calls, “fly like a bird.” I guess that’s what it is about jumping: for just a few seconds you are suspended in the air as though you’re flying.

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We also did a good bit of core and glute work using bands and light weights. The tunes were fun too. In fact my favorite part of the class was when we did some twisty jumping while beating on air drums to a Caribbean-style drum sequence. I much preferred that to getting down on all fours and doing donkey kicks with the bands in true Jane Fonda fashion. This class works more of your small muscles than a bootcamp with heavy weights does, but don’t worry, you’ll get your fair share of jump squats.

I’ll be honest, when I first started the class I had thoughts of sneaking out and not returning. I just felt like a clumsy fool with jiggling arm fat. But, you gotta get past that. Now, I actually want to go back and try it again. Maybe next time the instructor could help us laugh and embrace the silly joy of jumping.

I booked my class through my FitReserve membership (and if you’re interesting in joining FitReserve too, feel free to use my discount code: https://www.fitreserve.com/r/15affd93). You can get your jump on too at:

TrampoLEAN

Location: DANY Studios, 305 W. 38th Street, 3rd Floor (buzz in)

PROS: Fun, unique workout; cardio and toning; no shoes required; DANY studios has a locker room or you can bring your stuff to the classroom; no prior trampoline experience needed; fun music.

CONS: You will be watching all your fleshy parts bounce in the mirror; energy level of the room/teacher felt a little low, but I’d give them a second chance; bring your own lock for the locker room; no water fountain so bring your own water bottle.

Wouldn’t You Like to Be a Runner Too?

If you’ve ever enjoyed running, even once, or even thought maybe you could enjoy running, get thee to Mile High Run Club this winter. If you’re a true runner (whatever that means), then you might really enjoy running in 19-degree weather, but me, I’m from Florida. When I can make clouds with my breath, I head to a treadmill. And, it’s a lot more fun to treadmill with a class than all by my lonesome. I probably don’t push myself as hard when I’m running alone either. (Unless maybe there are some really killer tunes in my earbuds.)

While I’ve never really thought of myself as a “runner,” darned if I haven’t been really loving the running (especially the sprints) during my Orange Theory classes. I get such a rush from pushing that plus sign and going faster, baby, faster. I’ve also grown accustomed to the community, the coaching of a class, and the chance for a little competition.  So, instead of running in the park, I went to the Mile High Run Club to try their Distance class.

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I haven’t run more than 2 miles in long time. At Mile High’s DASH 28, OTF, and Barry’s Bootcamp you get time to run on a treadmill, but never more than 20-30 minutes, so I’m not logging too many pure running miles. But since it’s become my favorite part of the class, I figured why not try out a class where you run for 55 minutes straight?

The result: I’m sore. But happy. It made me feel like a runner. It was a lot different than just lacing up my shoes and going. There were timed intervals in which we slowly increased our speed and attempted sprints at faster and faster paces. And it was fantastic to get an explanation of how form can impact speed and protect you from injury. For more on how you can protect yourself from running injury check out this recent article from the Times, “Why We Get Running Injuries (and How to Prevent Them).” Spoiler alert: Consciously thinking about a softer landing, especially if you’re a heel-striker, is key.

I can tell the sprints worked their magic on me too because I hit 9.5 MPH during my last sprint at Orange Theory this morning. I’m sure to some people that is no biggie, but it’s the fastest I’ve ever gone, so I was pretty high on that all day. Maybe I am a runner after all.

But, just when I was feeling all comfy with my new treadmill habit, a friend of mine asked me if I’d join a soccer team with her through ZogSports. Just the words “team sports” have always been enough to make my stomach do flip-flops. Too many nightmares of middle school team picking during Phys Ed class. Why do they ever let students pick the teams anyway? Do the coaches secretly enjoy torturing the chubby, awkward kids? Anyway, it’s time to finally overcome the fears of being hated by my teammates for not knowing what I’m doing. It’s time to put my new fitness skills to the test. I signed up for a Saturday soccer league! If anyone wants to join me on the team, you can sign up here: ZogSports Saturday Indoor Soccer.

By the way, I’ve had this earworm all morning: I’m a runner. He’s a runner. She’s a runner. Wouldn’t you like to be a runner too? Dr. Pepper! (which is probably not the best hydration choice while running.)

 

My Top 6 Go-To HIIT Classes

If you’ve been reading, you know I recently joined FitReserve instead of ClassPass. This was because I was too overwhelmed by the choices with ClassPass, and often couldn’t book the classes I really wanted. Also, FitReserve offered me a great deal and gives me discounts on some services like Zeel, in-home massage. FitReserve also has a great selection of HIIT-style workouts to choose from.

My favorite workout of all time is the Orange Theory Fitness workout (and I still go there at least once a week even though they are not a part of FitReserve or ClassPass). But, because of OTF‘s price-tag and my body’s endless need for variety (I’m talking about workouts), I’ve let myself roam.

My favorite workouts tend to be high-intensity, bootcamp-style ones. The kind where you are getting both cardio and strength all at once and getting high on pushing yourself harder than you thought you could. Sorry folks, but despite the acute pain I experience doing Barre or Pilates, they just don’t give that I-am-strong-like-bull feeling, nor do they seem to burn as many calories if that’s what you’re after. I’d like to do more research on how HIIT fitness differs from Barre-style workouts and what benefits you get from each, but I’ll save that for another post.

In the meantime, here are my top 6 favorite classes for High Intensity Interval Training (a.k.a. HIIT):

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#6 As One Effect at As One Studios located at 3rd Floor, 1845 Broadway, New York, NY 10023 (Columbus Circle. See my full review here: A Hidden Gem.

 

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#5 EVF 360 at EVF with locations at both Columbus Circle and the Upper East Sid. I love this not-quite-cross-fit style workout in a Cross-Fit “box” studio. See my full review.

 

brick 2#4 The B/X class at BRICK NYC, with 3 studios in New York located in Chelsea, Grad Central, and Brooklyn. This is another Cross-Fit box that offers non-cross-fit classes that are non-stop and hard core, but fun and friendly. You can check my original review of BRICK too.

Logo_FeaturedImage-353x210.png#3 Barry’s Bootcamp with 3 NYC locations in Chelsea, Noho, and Tribeca (and more in Miami, LA, Boston and London). Yes, folks, it’s dropped down from my once favorite in recent experience, as the customer service skills at the front desk and the smoothie bar are sometimes NYC-snob, and it’s more of a “beautiful people” scene than I like these days. It’s still a great workout though, and it’s now available through FitReserve.

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#2 The Workout at Exceed Physical Culture (with Upper East Side and Tribeca locations), I loved the space, the trainers, and the workout itself. I felt safe, strong, challenged and encouraged. Here’s the full scoop: Exceeded Expectations.

 

And, as I said before, although not offered on FitReserve (yet?), my all time favorite workout is:

OTF-splat1-714x930#1 The Workout at ORANGE THEORY FITNESS .

I’ve been going there regularly for a year, and can say that it helped me discover the joys of sticking with one studio as opposed to constantly hopping around. They know me there. The trainers comment on not just my form, but my progress. And it’s just all-round awesome– treadmill, rower, TRX, and weights in every class. I don’t even use the heart rate monitor that often any more, but that’s another great benefit of the workout- you can see what your heart is doing. And they are located all over the country including my hometown of Tallahassee, Fl. You can read more about it here and here.

Tell me about your favorite workouts in the comments below. I’d love to find some new places to hop to!

By the way, if you’re interested in joining FitReserve (see pricing here), use my discount code (https://www.fitreserve.com/r/15affd93) and get $50 off!

Buffer Than Barry

For my first class hop of 2016, I decided to head back to my former love, and what I considered the gold standard in high-intensity, total body workout: Barry’s Bootcamp. (See previous posts, here and here.)

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What I learned: I am waaaaay more fit, than the first time I tried it, thanks to my Orange Theory Fitness superpowers.

When the coach called out that I should be at 6, 7, or 8 (as in MPH), the lower speeds were a breeze, whereas last year I couldn’t even get to them. I could also handle heavier weights!

I kind of love the anonymity and dance club feel of the darkly-lit room at Barry’s, but don’t feel nearly the level of personal attention to form nor the encouragement that I got from Orange Theory coaches. Instead, the coaches, staff, and clientele are uber-hip. And you get to pamper yourself with MALIN+GOETZ skin and hair care products in the locker room. (This was really my only complaint at Orange Theory– while they have superior fitness classes and provide hair ties and a blow dryer, they are skimpy on the skin care products: no free deodorant and the towels are scratchy.)

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After OTF pushing me to higher run speeds based on the increased efficiency of my heart rate, I now know that I won’t fall off Barry’s treadmill if I hit 8 or sometimes even 9 MPH. And another thing I didn’t miss at OTF – the rower. I know, I know, rowing is sooooo good for you. But I’ve got calloused palms, and my heart rate never gets as high on the rower as on the treadmill. Might be time for me to venture to the Mile High Run Club and see how I stack up there. . .

Hopping Back to FitReserve

First off, I want to apologize for the long hiatus. I haven’t posted in a while or replied to comments as I was dealing with some health issues (more on that in a later post), but now, I’m back!

For the last 9 months I’ve been semi-exclusive with Orange Theory Fitness (occasionally visiting FlyWheel and Yoga to the People on the side). I LOVE OTF! But alas, monogamy fitness is not my cup of tea. The body craves variety. Orange Theory does mix it up between the treadmill, rowing machine, TRX, and weight work focusing alternately on endurance, strength, and power depending on the day. And I feel a bit guilty leaving them as they have taken me to a much higher level of fitness than I was achieving in my ClassPass days. I can run faster, and uphill. I feel stronger and have more definition in my legs, arms and abs. I love the intensity and efficiency of their heart-rate monitored, total body fitness classes. The coaches (especially Eddie!) are excellent– really watching your form and encouraging progress. Plus, there’s one in my hometown, so I can travel and still go to my own gym. I can safely say, that in all my class hopping thus far, OTF takes the cake (as in the cake I ate off of my butt).

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But it ain’t cheap. In NYC, a monthly membership for unlimited classes cost me $329 a month. I have NEVER paid that much for a gym before. Then, I thought, I’ll do it for one month, at least 4 times a week to get in shape for summer. I got hooked. I could no longer push myself without the coaches and the meticulously-planned full-body focus. I justified the expenditure because it was my health, and figured I’d cut back on eating out and clothes. I also found out that I could get $200 back from my health insurance with proof that I’d attended the gym at least 50 times in a 6-month period. But $329 a month is a big chunk of change, no matter how you cut it. I dropped down to the 8-times-per-month membership for $219 a month.

But now, It’s time to face the fact that I need to save a little money. That, and I’ve got to see how my new fit-self does back at Barry’s Bootcamp (now on the FitReserve roster!). With a wandering eye and a hankering to try some kinkier, wilder fitness forays in 2016 (like aerial fabric pole dancing and Thai Kickboxing, I’m putting my OTF membership on hold, and taking FitReserve for another spin.

I’m choosing FitReserve over ClassPass for now as the price of ClassPass has gone up (to $125 from $99 per month), and I’m haunted by nightmares of setting calendar alarms for the booking windows of my favorite classes, scrolling through endless choices, the choicest of which were always un-bookable on ClassPass.

But whether you’re using FitReserve, ClassPass, or just class-hopping on your own, this classhopper is happy to be sharing her adventures with you once again. I plan to try new classes, return to old faves, and hopefully catch up on some requests, like finding out which classes have the most guys in attendance.

Happy 2016 and Happy Hopping!