Dailey Fest- A Morning doing Barre in the Sun

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I first started incorporating barre into my fitness routine about 2 years ago after having a lower back stress fracture. Up until then running and body pump had been my two main workouts. Over the years as I started to continue to increase my intensity with these two workouts my body could no longer take all of the excessive pounding and forced a break on me, literally. At the time it was one of the scariest places I had ever been mentally. How would I survive 6 months without running? What if I gained weight? How could I tell people I was a runner if I was not actually running? Like anything in life you learn to survive with what you can control. For me that was finding new ways to keep active without pounding on my body. It was with this break I found my obsession, barre classes.

The first studio I went to in the city was the Dailey Method in the Mission-Castro district. For me it was love at first site. The class was hard, while also being fun. The music was current and up beat,  the teachers were helpful while still providing adjustments. It was a great workout, but one I always looked forward to. I found I never dreaded it like I would some days with running or spinning. I was always excited to go, the more classes in a week the better. For the last couple of years barre has become a huge part of my everyday life. So when I received an e-mail with a barre event in the city I knew I had to attend!

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Last Saturday in celebration of the Dailey Method’s 15 year anniversary Jill Dailey the founder had a barre celebration in the Presido Park. There were several fitness and health vendors there along with various teachers from all of the Dailey Method studios across the bay area. The morning started with Jill Dailey leading a 60 minute mixed class at 10:00 am. I was wondering how the class was going to be structured considering usually a good chunk of the class is done with the barre and several different props. I was impressed with how creative Jill was with the class. For instance when it came to barre work barre work everyone had to team up with their neighbor for stability and use them in place of a barre.

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After the first class was complete there was a 15 minute break before the 45 minute interval class started. The interval class was lead by 5 of the different studio owners taking turns on the microphone. What I liked about the interval class is it was fast paced and really got your heart rate going. This is something I find hard to achieve in barre classes. So when it does, I know it was a good one. I am not going to lie, but the end of the almost 2 hours of barre I was a sweaty mess! All in all it was an amazing morning. I loved being outside in the sun practicing something I love with others, feeling like part of a community.  I had hoped to bring a friend to join me in the festivities, but alas my fellow fitness pals were all busy. I deiced I wanted to go to bad to let going alone stop me. Sometimes it is good to push ourselves, to not let obstacles get in our way, and if you want to do something go do it. I had no regrets on my morning date with myself and the other 100+ barre fanatics in the city.

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New York City Studio Re-Cap

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The first studio stop on my recent trip to NYC was Row House NYC. I have wanted to try a rowing studio since the moment I first read about this new workout trend in one of my fitness magazines. Of course when I researched studios in the bay area there were none in San Francisco. Therefore I knew I would need to check it out on my next trip to New York.

This studio was about an mile walk from my hotel. Upon arriving I was greeted by a very friendly staff who showed me around the facility since I had gotten there a little early. I am going to be honest here. I was a little nervous prior to starting. Thinking about rowing for a whole hour just made me cringe. My initial thought was it would either be so monotonous that I would be bored out of my mind or it would be so hard that I would be hating every moment of it. Of course I decided to do it regardless of my apprehensions and luckily it ended up being neither.

The space was large and had quite a few rowing machines to support a large class. For this particular day though there was only a handful of client. I always find packed cardio type classes more fun as you feed off of one another, but the smaller class did make it better for more personal attention though. I grabbed a rower up front and got myself situated and ready to begin.

The class was broken down into alternating segments of rowing and floor training with weights for abs, arms, and legs. Each rowing set was 10-15 minutes, which after completing would be followed by a 10 minute strength training set on the floor. The rowing segments were broken out into speed, endurance, and then the final one which was just going all out. This last segment was by far my favorite one. At the very end of class when we started on the last song the instructor turned out the lights so we were in a pitch black room. Then they started to play this song that just gets the blood in your veins boiling and without you even knowing it you are going all out.

All in all I enjoyed this class, but I have to say I did not feel like it was the most challenging class I have ever done. It was not till the end I started to break a sweat. I cant say I would make this a weekly routine for me, but it is a great alternative for a cardio class and worth checking out.

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We all know about my love of Flywheel and Soul Cycle, well now there is  a new love on the block and its name is Peloton Cycle. I had been debating on trying this place. I had read the reviews and everyone had nothing but amazing things to say. However the safe side of me wanted to just do Flywheel all week. I already knew I loved it and with classpass I would be able to do 3 classes for free. Plus it can be exhausting to keep trying new places. In the end my adventurous side won and tried it out, boy was I glad I did!

The moment I walked into this studio I knew it was different then any of the other studios I had ever been to. When you walk into the door you immediately walk into an amazing fitness store with all of the latest and hippest clothes. It took all of my self control to not buy it all. I checked in and then walked around the corner to find myself in a little coffee shop. A barista was around the corner with couches for lounging and hanging out. I knew after class I was going to have to take a moment to relax and enjoy the space. How often do you want to stay somewhere after a hard workout?

I walked into the spinning room and started to get setup on my bike. The instructor walked in with more energy then I could ever imagine to have and she resembled Jem and the Holograms, which brought back my childhood love immediately. Her body and spirit were amazing, and I found myself quickly wanting to do anything she told me. If Flywheel and Soul Cycle had a baby it would be Peloton. It had the competitiveness that I love about Flywheel, but also the soul and heart pounding music that I love about Soul Cycle. The 45 minutes flew by in a sweaty, painful kind of way. By the end I had a giant smile on my face and knew I had found a new love.

One other really cool thing about this studio is they offer a subscription model for people remotely. The instructor has a TV on their bike and people at home can log in and spin along from the privacy of their own home. They also have bikes in the studio with TV’s for people who want to work out with an instructor at off class times. Just a very unique business model.

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The Monster Cycle + Studio was a little gem I found in Soho. Walking in you got an immediate vibe of metal, meets garage band, meets faux luxury. The upstairs was the lounge area, outfitted with a chandelier, couch, and cow hide rug. Tucked in the corner was a soon to open juice bar, but for today it was still under construction.

In the basement was the spinning room. Walking down the stairs and into the studio, I felt like I was going into some dark and forbidden place. Like one of those parties in high school with the older kids who lived life on the edge and you knew the moment you walked in your parents would not approve.

The class was pitch black with only the only light coming from the TV’s up front projecting the latest music video’s to the songs playing overhead. All of the music had a very distinct and dark feel to it, think Marilyn Manson. I have to say the TV’s were quite nice though when you needed a place to focus and tune out while hitting another steep climb. Nothing like Madonna’s latest video to motivate you to keep going.

By the end as with most spinning classes I was sweaty, beat, and ready to move upstairs and see the light. This place definitely has the dark and brooding theme down, a great switch up from the usual and perfect for a cold winter day.

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The last studio stop for me was BYKlyn a small spinning studio located in Brooklyn. After having spent all week in the high tech, top notch, studios in Manhattan it was a re-adjustment to come back to a little neighborhood spot. The studio was simple, nothing fancy to it. However the staff was all super friendly and you could tell from the moment you walked in that they were there because they loved it.

My instructor was super energetic and sweet, I ended up chatting with her for a little while after class. She did a great workout, even without all of the TV’s, dark lights, and loud music to guide her. I cant say this was my favorite spot of the week, however if this was my neighborhood spot in San Francisco I would be going there often.

New York City A Week Of Workouts

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When getting ready to travel out to New York City this year I was more excited then usual for my workouts because with my class pass membership I knew I would also be able to use it in the city. What does this mean? Well it meant I would get to try a ton of new studios for free! So then the question would be which ones to try?  My trip this go around was 7 days in the city, some days of pure work mixed with some days of vacation. On my workdays I had to stick to my hotel due to early morning meetings and lets be honest, freezing cold temperatures that were not welcoming to walk at 6:00 am. However once Wednesday came around and I was officially done with meetings the workout fun began! So what does a week of working out in NYC look like for me?

Sunday: 7 mile Treadmill Run at Ink 48 hotel Gym, NYC

Monday: 6 mile Treadmill Run at Ink 48 hotel Gym, NYC

Tuesday: 6 mile Treadmill Run at Ink 48 hotel Gym, NYC

Wednesday: 5 Mile Treadmill Run at at Ink 48 hotel Gym, NYC and 60 minute Rowing Class at Row House at W 59th St

Thursday: 45 minute Spin Class at Flywheel Sports followed by a 1 hour Fly Barre Class in the Flatiron District

Friday: 45 minute Spin Class at Peloton at W 23rd Street

Saturday: The Monster Cycle + Studio in Soho on Lafayette Street

Sunday: 5 mile Treadmill Run at the local YMCA in Bed-Sty, Brooklyn

Monday: 45 minute Spin Class at BRKlyn Cycle in Brooklyn

In general I ended up doing more cardio then I would usually, but in a city that has so many amazing spinning studios how could I not. One of my biggest issues with the San Francisco workout scene is our lack of innovative and unique studios, especially when it comes to cardio like spinning. As for the studios I tried I actually ended up really liking all of them, obviously some more then others. My top picks of the week though would be #1 Peloton, #2 Flywheel (as always), and #3 The Monster Cycle + Studio. I plan on going into detail on each place in my next post, so check back if you are looking for more details on the places!

Nothing Pure about Pure Barre

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Over the last year I have tried a lot of various barre classes from coast to coast. What can I say, when I love something on the verge of slight obsession I try to get my fix in whenever and wherever I can. Barre is different from other workout classes though. Unlike a spinning class where even if an instructor is just ok or the music is not as motivating as you would like you can still always manage to get a great workout in. The same is not true for barre.

A barre class can range from feeling like a slight warm up where you leave feeling relaxed and stretched or it can be a full on sweat heart pounding session. If barre is going to be my primary workout for the day then I prefer the later. However after a cardio session a more mellow class can be preferred. For myself there are very few barre studios out there where the class feels like a truly hard workout. However it has happened. I can now say I have finally found my match and its name is Pure Barre.

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I have wanted to try Pure Barre for a while, but since the only two locations in the city have never been the most convenient to where I live I just never got around to doing it. A couple of month’s ago I decided it might be time to try one out. I had gone to a spinning class in the morning and after a stressful day at work I thought why not do a barre class to help me relax and unwind before heading home. I picked Pure Barre based on the time and figured it would probably be a mild workout at best so my body would not be too exhausted from what I had already done. Wow was I wrong.

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Unlike most barre classes where you focus on a set of work and then follow it by stretching the muscles you just used, Pure Barre just keeps you moving through sections one after another, after another, after another. Essentially the class is “Pure Barre.” Just when you think you are going to get a break from a hard sequence and be rewarded with a nice downward dog or leg stretch you are hit with another set. Every part of my body was shaking and quivering throughout the hour session. By the time the cool down hit I was truly worked, but in a way that brings a giant smile to your face.

I have now been to Pure Barre over a handful of times at both locations. Each time I leave happier then when I entered. Their studios are not as posh as some of the other barre studios in the city, aka Pop Physique in Russian Hill with the hard wood floors and floor length windows overlooking the lush trees in the back or The Bar Method in the Marina with the glitzy chandelier and velvet couches in the main lobby. However there is something I appreciate about a place that holds itself up on the content of what it has to offer. A truly hard, fun, and uplifting workout. Just writing this makes me want to sign up for my next fix.

 

Los Angeles Studio Run Down

Kinetic Cycling

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One of my go to group fitness classes, especially when traveling, is spinning. Not only is it the best way to get a major cardio session in, but I have found it is one type of class that is very different depending on what studio you are at. Soul Cycle, Flywheel, 24-hour fitness, Worlds Gym, they all have a completely different format and approach to spinning. Of course the more boutique spinning classes are edgier and unique, which is why I wanted to give a new studio a try when I went to visit.  Kinetic Cycling ended up being my studio of choice. It is located in the charming area of Brentwood which was about 15 minutes away from my where I was staying at my girlfriends place in Culver City.  Walking up to the studio it is located in a typical LA shopping center and at first impression one would think there is nothing special about this typical suburbia mall.

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Walking in I was first greeted by the instructor who had to be one of the happiest people I have ever met! Upon learning it was my first time at the studio he proceeded to advise me that before  we could do anything I needed to introduce myself first. After introductions he gave me a huge hug and smile. This of course put me right at ease and I was ready to get my spin on. Now what makes Kinetic Cycling stand out from other spinning studios out there is not the ambiance of the place, as walking in the ambiance is pretty bare bones and basic. Rather it is the premise of the class, spinning while the music video’s of the songs playing are streaming in front of you.

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Once on my bike and the time hit 9:30 the  music came on and Usher was all of a sudden singing and dancing in front of me. The  lights started to  flash from hot pink, to blue, to green, to purple and continued in this fashion all throughout the 45 minute ride. In front of us our fearless leader started the charge and we were all immersed in the television screen behind him. Talk about a great way to zone out when you are starting those hills! After about 10 minutes into the ride and  just when I thought our instructor could not get any more enthusiastic he all of a sudden jumped off his bike, grabbed a microphone, and preceded to walk around the room cheering us on and giving is high fives, talk about a great tactic to keep you motivated and engaged.

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Towards the end of class when my legs were burning and I was cursing the fact that I made myself get up early for this, it was as if the instructor knew we needed something a little more. It was here we were told that we were no longer racing for ourselves, but we were doing it for one another. We had to decide then and there to continue on and push through to help our fellow neighbor.  If that does not make you want to push yourself harder, I don’t know what will!

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All in all this class was not only a great workout, but the sense of team work and motivation was off the charts. I would highly recommend this place for anyone starting an adventure in spinning. There was every age, sex, and type of person in my class which also helped in the feeling of this is a people’s spin class with an edge.  They currently have a groupon deal out to try 5 classes for $45, which is pretty cheap!

The Main Barre

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Surprise, surprise I had to of course try an LA Barre class while I was visiting. For this one I enlisted my best friend Melissa. The class was bright and early Saturday morning and located in LA’s emerging downtown area. This area is very similar to San Francisco’s Financial District. It is very busy during the work week, but desolate come the weekend. Our class was bright and early at 9:30 am, which would normally not be a problem for me at all. However the only obstacle we had not factored in with this early morning start time was the bottle of wine we each consumed the night before. However we still managed to make it on time and get our Barre on!

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The studio was located in an old, vintage  building with early 1920’s elevators and a grande marble spiral staircase. We made our way up to the top floor and walked into a quaint and quintessential  barre studio.  Hard wood floors stretched out in front of us with  large bay windows overlooking the downtown financial buildings. Looking outside one could see the streets lined with pops of Palm Trees guiding the roads, making it feel very LA From the minute I walked in I felt at home and at ease. For those of you from San Francisco it had a very similar feel and vibe to Yoga for the People in the Mission District.

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Our instructor was tall, blonde, friendly, and natural, which all fitted with her big grin and effortlessness in teaching. She had a demeanor which made you feel like you had been friends for years.  The class was a great workout. It was similar to many of the Barre classes I have taken before where you start with warm up, move onto hand weights, followed by a set focused on glutes and thighs, and then rounding it out with abs. The workout was challenging, but easy to follow.

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Overall what I loved about this place is it very Los Angeles. It is not a chain studio and that independent feeling is shown through the entire experience. In terms of pricing they have a deal for your first time trying the class where you can buy one class and get one free for $20, which if you take barre consistently know that $10 a class is really not a bad deal. If I lived in LA this might be my studio of choice. However I think I will have to try a few more various studios out before I fully commit to that statement. Either way I am hoping I can make it back prior to my second class expiring. If not Melissa is a lucky lady with a bonus class to try!

Los Angeles vs New York City, A Gym Story

Every time I visit New York City I make it a point to try a new workout class or studio since New York is known for having so many unique and diverse ways to exercise. I now always look forward to these adventures in health and fitness and it has become a staple in my bi-yearly trip to the Big Apple.  This would leave one to think that since I visit Los Angeles at least 4 or more times a year for work as well that I would partake in this same kind of love.  Surprisingly though, the only times I have ventured outside of my hotel gym is for a run outside or to the neighborhood 24 hour fitness.

Now I was sitting and thinking to myself why this might be. Los Angeles is just as adventurous in terms of workouts as New York, one might even say more so. You have all of the scantily clad women with their tan and toned bodies, so they have to be going somewhere. Not to mention the many celebrities who call LA home.  In my guilty pleasure US Weekly magazine I will see photos of celebrities meandering around the city in yoga pants, cupping a juice smoothie, with that glistening just worked out glow, so they have to be going somewhere?  After some contemplation I decided it came down to convenience.

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 In New York I know I can get to anywhere without a car. I can pretty much walk to some studio from wherever I am staying, although yes sometimes the walk is so long it is getting a workout in before my actual workout. I also know if it came down to it I could get on a bus, train, or taxi cab for relatively cheap if needed. LA is a completely different game. Without a car you are virtually locked in your immediate surroundings.  This last week I was in LA for work and stayed on a couple of days to celebrate my best friend turning 30. I decided for this trip I was going to indulge and face my fear of finding my way around the city of Angels.

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Now obviously I do not have the time, money, or resources to try a new class or studio every day. I wish I could! So there was some hotel gym runs in the mix. Below is my LA workout’s for the week. My trip began on Monday and went through Saturday morning. One thing I like about going on trips is switching up my routine. It helps in keeping me feeling refreshed and not stale, especially when it comes to workouts.

Monday: 45 minutes of my own personal made up spinning class at my local gym

Tuesday: 6-Mile Treadmill Run

Wednesday: 6-Mile Treadmill Run

Thursday: 6-Mile Treadmill Run

Friday: 45 Minute Spinning Class at Kinetic Spinning Studio

Saturday: 3-Mile Run Outside and 60 Minute Barre Class at The Main Barre Studio

Although I will say my week of running at the Marriott hotel gym was at least nice since the treadmills were new and the facility was not crowded, two big thumbs up for me when it comes to travel. The fun for me or also known as slight torture depending on the day started on Friday and Saturday morning with my two classes. Stay tuned for my next post where I go into details on the two studios I tried!