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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Colorado Let’s Get Physical!

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A couple of weeks ago Dustin and I were able to go back to my home state of Colorado for a 5 day trip. It is amazing how you can grow up in a place and never really experience all the city has to offer. I am not sure if others feel this way, but for myself coming back home as an adult is different compared to how it was in my youth. I have grown to appreciate my hometown in a way I never did when I was younger. Home used to just be a place to come and see family and friends. Now home has become a vacation. It has now become a place to not only enjoy time with the ones I love, but to also spend that time doing things I love with them.

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So what did 5 days of activities and fun look like in Colorado? Well Day 1 started with a 3:30am wakeup call to get ready for the airport. Now I am one who will stop at no cost to get a workout in the morning. I mean I have been known to get up at 4:00am to get a run in before a really early flight or work meeting, however we all have our limits and 3:00am was mine. If I am being honest I thought about working out all morning. When was I going to be able to get it in, how could I balance spending time with my family while also doing what I needed for me? Once the plane touched ground and I saw my parents waiting to eager and happy to see me, I decided being with them was way more important than any workout I could get in. So I just made this day my “rest” day for the week. Now this might sound like nothing to most, but for me it was a big step. One of many steps I am slowly making to learn how to balance my life more.

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Day 2 started with a morning at the gym. I went to an hour spinning class while Dustin hit the weights on the gym floor. Afterwards we headed home, ate some breakfast, and got ready to play golf with my parents. This was the first time I had made it out to the golf course this year and boy did it feel good. I forget how much I enjoy playing. I love being outside, being completely engulfed with concentration, almost into a meditation at times.  For me when I  play golf it is a true  mind-body connection. When I am out on the golf course I am thinking about nothing else but what I am doing in that very moment. If your mind is off then your game will be too. There are few opportunities we have in life to fully be present, to not have our minds wander. When I find an activity that allows me to do just that I love it.

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Day 3 was a day of running and hiking through Garden of the Gods. I grew up with this magical place practically in my backyard, well a 15 minute drive. In my adolescence I never enjoyed any of the outdoor beauty that Colorado Springs had to offer, so I am only grateful I have learned to love it as an adult. I try to make it to the beautiful red rocks every trip home I can. My run for the day was 5 miles, followed by a couple miles of hiking/walking. For me every time I go home to Colorado I never know how my body is going to react to the altitude.  The longer I have lived at sea level the more I feel a difference when I go home and attempt to run. Some trips are easier than others. I have found if a trip happens to be a hard one for me to acclimate then I need to listen to my body. This typically means a shorter run than usual, a slower pace, and if a break is needed in between miles then that is ok. What is important is I am out moving my body.

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Day 4 was maybe my favorite day of them all. I started the day with a 4 mile run around the neighborhood. I love this run, for the sole reason of every time I do it I get flooded with memories. I see the house of my best friend in 3rd grade where I had more slumber parties then I could ever count, the friend’s house where in high school on summer nights we would sit around a big outside fire pit, playing guitar, talking, and just hanging out. I run by the neighborhood pool where for countless summers I spent sun bathing while my friends had their first summer jobs as lifeguards. Then to bring the run home I end right in front of my elementary school where I spent years learning and growing. After getting home Dustin and I grab my parents bikes and do the 10 mile bike ride on the Santa Fe Trail to downtown Colorado Springs for breakfast and coffee. This trail is amazing. You go through the whole length of town seeing a vast array of views. You cross over multiple bridges and get waved at by every biker/walker/runner you encounter. It is a true heart of Colorado Springs in my mind. After breakfast Dustin and I saddled back up and rode the 10 miles back home.

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Day 5 was all about the Manitou Inline.  I am pretty ashamed to admit this, but I had never heard of the Manitou Incline till this past Christmas when chatting with my uncle. Even though I was not into fitness growing up, it feels like this should have been something I at least knew about. Either way once Dustin and I learned about it we decided next time we were out in Colorado it was on! Let me tell you a little about the incline. It is located in Manitou Springs, a quick 20 minute drive from my parents’ house. “Since its closure as a railway in 1990, the trail has steadily grown in popularity as a hiking trail and fitness challenge. The base of the Incline sits at 6,600 feet (2,000 m) and the trail climbs 2,000 feet (610 m) in just over 3⁄4 mile (1.2 km). Parts of the trail are extremely broken and steep and will require even the fittest of hikers or trail runners to scramble over the broken rocks and steep trail.”

I have to admit, I was nervous. Seeing pictures of how steep the trail was and just knowing how my lungs had not been cooperating with me on my runs all week, I was not sure how this hike was going to go. However regardless of my fear I knew I was physically capable of doing it and had a great partner in crime to do it with. We arrived at the trail head early Friday morning. We looked at the trail, looked at each other, smiled, and started our walk up. Was it steep, yes. Hard, yes. Did moments of rest have to occur, yes. But overall I would say it was a breeze and by the time we reached the top we were excited and marveled by the view. It is good to remind yourself from time to time you can do anything. We hung out for a bit and then hiked the 3 miles down the Barr Trail instead of hurting our knees trying to go back down the incline. All in all it was a perfect start to my Monday and a great way to end the trip!

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!

TRX- Not Just For The Boys

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Three years ago when I first started dating my main squeeze, we used to spend a lot of time walking the streets of Russian Hill where he lived at the time.  I had always lived in Potrero Hill, which I loved for its amazing views, sunny disposition, and all while having a small neighborhood feel in a big city. However getting to know Russian Hill was like getting to know the heart of the city. There was constant hustle and bustle, bars and restaurants galore, and young people as far as the eyes could see. We would walk everywhere on the weekend, just getting to know each other all while exploring what the neighborhood had to offer. For me it was not only a chance to get to know this new amazing guy, but also learn a part of the city I never even knew existed. One place we would pass by consistently on our walks was the TRX Training Center. I would walk by and stare in the window amazed at what these strong and fit athletes were doing. I remember thinking to myself how intimidating it looked and how I would never be so intense to try such a thing. Well I was wrong…..

I have done TRX a handful of times over the last year, but not enough to feel 100% comfortable in the workout yet. When looking at places to try with my Class Pass account I stumbled upon the TRX Training Center and thought what a better time then now. So I signed up for this last Sunday’S class at 9:30 am.

Upon waking up in the morning to go I felt nervous and excited. I went on a quick 3 mile run to get my body loosened up before heading into class. Once in there I was impressed by the lay out. It was a large, bright, space, which just felt legitimate. The instructor was great, he pulled all of the new people together to give them a quick run down of the studio and the workout ahead. After he finished explaining everything a 60 minute timer mounted on the wall was set to start timing down and the fun began.

The class started with 2 minutes of jumping rope and then moved into more boot camp drills like mountain climbers, high knees, and butt kicks. From here we moved onto a TRX circut where we used the machine along with other various tools around the studio and we would alternate between stations. After every 10 minutes or so we would stop the circut to do more jump roping. I had no idea how hard jumping rope was! This format continued like this through the rest of the hour and by the end of it I felt pretty good! The only thing I didn’t like about the class was you are so busy trying to figure out what you are going to be doing next that it made it hard to really focus in on what you are doing.

Overall I liked the workout and the studio. I would not say this is one I am dying to go to every week, but will be nice to through into the mix every so often.  At the end of the day though I am proud of myself for trying something I thought I never would do. It is nice to push yourself sometimes.

Health & Fitness Articles of the Week – 8/10/14

CrossFit Flirting: Talk Burpee to Me– I have shared articles in the past on cross fit and although I have not done it myself I admire the comradery that is built from those who do participate in it. I love the idea of everyone stretching the limits of their own body with the goal of just helping and supporting one another. This article is more of a nice read then it is informative.  “Perhaps more than disciples of any other type of exercise, people who participate in CrossFit can’t help being drawn to people who do the same. This is partly because the exercise regimen inspires near-religious devotion.”

Men Say ‘Uh’ and Women Say ‘Um’– Interesting the differences between men and women and how it also correlated to age. “Back in 2005, he found that usage of “uh” increases with age, but at every age, men say it more than women do. Meanwhile, usage of “um” decreases with age, but female speakers said it more than male ones at each stage in life.”

Women Pace Marathons Better Then Men Do– Maybe it is because I am a female runner, but I found this article fascinating. “As it turned out, men slowed significantly more than women racers did. In aggregate, men covered the second half of the marathon almost 16 percent slower than they ran the first half. Women as a group were about 12 percent slower in the second half.”

How To Reset Your Metabolism With Diet Breaks- I think this article highlights something really important, taking a break. I wish I had done this more when I was in dieting mode. I would be so strict with myself and never let myself indulge or take a break. This lead to binge eating when I would finally allow myself something I craved. Letting yourself have what you want occasionally will make a big difference to your body and your mental well being. I in fact still have to learn to take breaks from my hardcore eating ways otherwise I find I will still binge.

10 Things All Beginning Lifters Should Know– If any of you know my boyfriend you will hear him emphasize the importance of strength training. This article is great at answering some common myths and giving good information.  “At any rate, in a caloric surplus, strength training will cause the weight that you gain to consist of a higher proportion of muscle and a lower proportion of fat. At a caloric maintenance, strength training will cause your body to recompose so that you gain more muscle, lose fat, and improve your bodyfat percentage. At a caloric deficit, strength training will cause the weight that you lose to consist of a higher proportion of fat and a lower proportion of muscle.”

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Photo from Huff Post

Dustin’s Health & Fitness Articles of the Week – 3/16/14


Dustin
Dustin
Certified Personal Trainer
NASM-CPT, EMT-B