Posts filed under ‘Everybody Loves A New Toy’

Haul you need is love

I was raised in a family that celebrated every holiday it could. I suspect that comes, in part, from the fact that Momma Buns is the queen of many things, including finding the perfect paper goods for any occasion — on sale — at Party City. As my sister and I grew up, she put that talent to the test as often as possible. I remember waking up to find that Momma Buns had decorated the kitchen with red foil hearts and made pancakes (a rare treat on a school morning). Other years, I remember her sitting with me while I scrawled my classmates’ names on Snoopy Valentine’s cards, or my whole family passing gifts wrapped in pink tissue paper around the dinner table. (As I grew older, mine was usually a romantic comedy or super-weeper newly out on video. Untamed Heart, anyone?)

So even though I know that many people think Valentine’s Day is manufactured, romantic silliness, for me, it brings to mind really great celebrations of the deep affection my family and I have for each other. So I love it. And I love you guys. In the spirit of that love-fest— even though the actual holiday was yesterday — I’m going to unabashedly share some fitness-related stuff (plus a few randoms) that makes my heart sing. Cool?

“Golden Years” by David Bowie

I first heard it in the movie A Knight’s Tale, which makes me uncool. But my adoration of choreographed dance scenes already makes me uncool, so whatever. Now, the song is on my running playlist—and it’s very useful as a workday afternoon mood-booster, too.

Love Your Muscles with Crunch

Love Your Muscles logoI joined Crunch gym just after I started my job in New York two years ago. Aside from the convenient locations (one near my job, another near my apartment) and really great classes (Marc Santa Maria’s Monday night hip-hop and Dave Norfleet’s iRide Spinning are FANTASTIC), the vibe there is a little bit funkier and more accepting than many other New York gyms I’ve visited. The gym’s motto, after all, is No Judgments. This month, they’re holding workshops and offering training specials to raise money for Augie’s Quest, a Muscular Dystrophy Association initiative to find a cure for the degenerative muscle disease ALS. This month, the gym will give Augie’s Quest $5 for every new membership and $10 for every new personal training package. “Love Your Muscles” refers to the signs they put your name on when you donate: You can choose a muscle you love — I picked the heart — and your name goes up alongside a cute cartoon drawing of that muscle. If you’re interested in more information or want to donate, go here.


Toward the end of every yoga class, the instructor asks everyone to lay on their backs, heels together, toes flopped apart, arms by their sides, palms open. Sometimes our eyes are open; often, they’re closed. We lay in this position, known as savasana (suh-VAH-snah) or “corpse pose”, and relax everything. Sounds like sleeping, you say. It’s seriously close, but so much better. Often, the  poses right before savasana are challenging, and laying down and focusing only on breathing and relaxing seems like a reward. In Bikram yoga, sometimes the only thing that gets me through a rough class is the thought of how sweet the savasana will be at the end. I lay on my mat and think about how the ground is supporting me, holding me up, and how I don’t have to do anything except find little snarls of tension in my body and then let them go. Even if you’re not into yoga, try giving yourself a few minutes of motionless chill-out time after a tough workout sometime. It’s pretty awesome.

Puma’s Dizzy Barrel Bag

When my old gym bag bit it, I tried to make do with tote bags and backpacks and the like. No good. I resisted buying a new one because I didn’t want something huge and clunky, but I needed something big enough to fit a change of clothes, my sneakers, and toys like my interval timer, my iPod, a magazine, my weight gloves, etc. Behold, Puma’s Dizzy Barrel Bag. It’s pretty great, kind of stylish, and (right now) on sale! Gym bag woes, cured.

Puma Dizzy Barrel Bag

So cute, right?

I’d love to hear what gets your heart pumping, too. Gadgets and gear? Workouts? Instructors? Personal accomplishments? Something completely unrelated to fitness but awesome nonetheless? Tell us about it in the comments section. 

February 15, 2012 at 3:06 pm Leave a comment

Haiku winners!

Hi haulers. Life got crazy last week, and then there was Rosh Hashahnah and baking, and then there was the Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon and this:


Suffice to say, stuff got pushed back. And while there will be updates on all of the goofiness, I didn’t want to wait any longer to announce the winners of Haul Buns’ haiku contest. A quick note about how the winners were picked: Mr. Haul Buns did it. I took the names off and showed them to him, and he chose. If you’ve got beef, take it up with him.
Anywhooo, congrats to Stephanie Pinsdorf and Maggie Ellen!
Stephanie’s haiku:
it’s the crack of dawn
time to get my workout on
so the pounds be gone

Maggie’s haiku:

 Six years cancer free
 My sneakers against pavement
 Salubrious life!


Both Maggie and Stephanie will receive a copy of My Run: The Terry Hitchcock Story. Great job, ladies! And thanks to everyone who sent in poems!

October 4, 2011 at 8:58 pm Leave a comment

Sporty Labor Day deals

Need an excuse to buy those new kicks you’ve been eyeing? These Labor Day sales should make it a little easier to fork over the dough. 15 percent off your purchase with the code found here. Up to 66 percent off (including the 10 percent discount store VIPS usually get) and free shipping 20 percent off clearance items with the code found here. BOGO on all women’s fitness bottoms and sport bras

I, for one, am in the middle of trying to turn my tendency to overeat into a tendency to overshop. (What? It’s kind of progress, right?) The other day, for example, I bribed myself into running an extra mile by promising myself a few iTunes downloads when I got home.

The fact that those few downloads turned into a few albums (Jay-Z and Kanye’s Watch the Throne and Matt Nathanson’s Modern Love) shouldn’t surprise anyone.

September 1, 2011 at 8:29 pm Leave a comment

Making my pointe

New year, new obsession: I went to see Black Swan last week, and I’m now reaching levels of interest in ballet unacceptable for a 32-year-old who can’t stand in fifth position for more than 30 seconds.

You’ve probably heard about how star Natalie Portman trained for a year, lost 20 pounds and broke a rib as she prepped for the psychological thriller about a ballerina who starts to lose her mind when she nabs the lead role in Swan Lake. Or maybe you know the mild scandal about Portman being pregnant and newly engaged to Benjamin Millepied, her partner in the film. Or maybe you’ve just been creeped out by the trailers, which are pretty damn spooky. Good reasons to go see it, all.

Me? I’m in love with the clothes. And because it’s lame to dress like a ballerina without actually being a ballerina, I’m now thinking about taking a class or two just so I can rock the look. (Note: This is probably also lame, but in a different way.) Can you blame me?

The design house Rodarte created some pieces for the film, and while I was blown away by the intricate stage costumes, I am lusting after the knitwear Portman wears during the rehearsal scenes. One arm warmer in particular, crafted in Rodarte’s signature open knit, is my favorite. (I can’t find any photos of it online, but it’s very similar in style to the scarf Portman wears throughout the flick.)

For a girl who loves dance movies, something like this is bound to happen every few years. The last time, it was Save the Last Dance, which led to weeks of baggy-pantsed, adult-ed hip-hop classes. When that went well, I convinced my friend, Heather, to sign up for six weeks of beginner ballet.

We had to wear tights. The instructor was insane. I couldn’t do anything right. I don’t even think I attended the final class. And when I texted Heather the other night, our conversation went something like this:

ME: Remind me how much I hated ballet class.

HEATH: Are you thinking about doing another one???

ME: Thinking about maybe.

HEATH: Just remember: leotards.

ME: And turnout. That sucked.

HEATH: I tell myself that no amount of ballet will make me look like Natalie Portman.

That’s true in my case, too. But in the name of shaking things up in 2011, I’ve vowed to try new things. (And old things that I think I hate, just to make sure that I really, truly hate them.) Plus, mixing up workouts keeps me interested, and possibly less injured than normal, and that’s always a good thing. But if you see me in a few weeks and I look like this…

… you may want to gently suggest that my toeshoes are laced a little too tightly.

January 5, 2011 at 4:52 pm 5 comments


You may remember when my sister, Kelley, gave us her thoughts on the P90X home workout program. (The next installment of that post, by the way, will be put up as soon as I can armwrestle her into submission any day now.) I know a bunch of you have done or are doing the popular and challenging blend of cardio, strength-building and flexibility DVDs, so you might find this Los Angeles Times story interesting — particularly if you got your P90X from eBay.

Seems like some of the copies that have been sold were bootlegs, and the bootleggers got caught. While I’m pretty sure the Feds aren’t going to bust into your house and confiscate your less-than-legal copies, maybe it’s a good time to get back onto the program. You know, all the better to make a quick getaway…

November 18, 2010 at 10:47 pm Leave a comment

Try This At Home

During my attempts to straighten up my apartment at the beginning of the year, I realized that I have a heck of a lot of fitness DVDs and tapes. I also realized that I can’t remember the last time I actually did one of them. Some of the seals are still intact on the cases, indicating that though I might’ve thrown them into my shopping cart during a post-holiday-eating guiltfest best-intentions impulse at Target, they never actually made it into the player. For the ones that had been used, I couldn’t even recall whether I’d liked them or not.

So in the name of resourcefulness, re-committing to goals and the recession, I’ll be your fitness guinea pig. Every week, I’ll do one of the workouts from my stash and then tell you what I think. If you’ve done that particular DVD/tape before and have some input, I’d love to hear it in the comments section. And then I’ll let you know what workout I’ll do in the following week, so you can join me in a virtual class if you like. We’ll save money. We’ll be productive. Most importantly, we’ll try these things in the privacy of our own homes where no one can gawk.

First up, Prevention Fitness Systems’ Dance Yourself Thin with Marie Forleo

Format: Warm-up, isolations, 30 minutes of cardio dance and a cool-down

Instructor annoyance level: Very low. Forleo isn’t too perky or chirpy, and her breakdowns of the steps are pretty easy to follow if you’ve ever taken any kind of choreographed class. (If you haven’t, there’ll be a bit of a learning curve.) I kept staring at her abs, though. They’re very nice. If I had abs like that, I would probably bare my midriff to anyone who passed by. “Here’s your mail, ma’am.” “Why thanks! Look at my abs!” or “How would you like your coffee?” “Skim and Splenda, and take a look at these abs!” But I digress…

Sweat factor: Low. I was warm and slightly glistening during the two dance segments, but nowhere near as sweaty as I get during my regular workout. The steps were fun, particularly in the Afro-Latin segment. Lots of big arm swoops, hip rolls and tush pops —  my default club moves. I didn’t feel silly until the reggae-funk segment, where my white-girl coordination made it hard to get up the proper Rasta swagger, but I kept at it anyway.

Worth it?: Dance Yourself Thin is a perfectly lovely way to spend  half an hour, but like most dance dvds, it’s difficult to sustain an increased heart rate throughout. If you want to try out a few moves before making your Zumba class debut, though, this may be the disc for you. And if I were going for a real burn, I might use it as an extended warm-up for a toning workout

Next week’s workout: Fat-Blasting Yoga: 21 Days To A Yoga Body with Denise Austin

January 14, 2010 at 10:06 pm 1 comment

In Your Off-Hours…

Hmm… When it’s rainy and blech outside — as it is at this very moment in northern New Jersey — how does a Haul Buns girl pass the time? After all, you can’t be running/walking/swimming/biking/dancing/sculpting/group fitnessing every moment of the day…

Shopping can provide something similar to that exercise high, especially when you take advantage of the fabulous online discount Reebok is offering to its friends and family until Sunday. And since you’re all my friends, go ahead and use code REBOKFF at discount to receive 30 percent off your entire order PLUS free shipping! I may or may not have been checking out their hot pink yoga bag, or this classic blue number…

If you’re looking for a little inspiration,  watch Spirit Of The Marathon, which is now available for free online at This awesome documentary is all about the Chicago Marathon and a few runners — some amateur, some elite — who are preparing for it. Really cool, totally inspirational. And best of all, it’s free!


A good diversion at work way to spend your time is to calculate your health footprint at the Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield site. Answer a bunch of questions about your lifestyle and your fitness routine, and the site will tell you how many people you affect through your healthy choices and activities — similar to a carbon footprint, but this one won’t make you feel guilty for opting out of the work carpool. Even The Biggest Loser’s Trainer Bob is doing it!

That should keep you occupied until the sun shows its rays again…

August 13, 2009 at 8:48 pm Leave a comment

The P90X Files

That's Kel on the right (and Momma in the middle)

That's Kel on the right (and Momma in the middle)

Editor’s note: You’ve seen the P90X workout system on TV. Ever wonder if it can live up to its claims? A few weeks in, guest blogger Kelley (who also happens to be my lovely sister) gives us her take in the first of several reports. Take it away, Kel!

You know that person who loves hitting the gym everyday? Who has their circuit planned out before they even get to the gym (30 minutes on the elliptical, followed by medicine balls, followed by 25 minutes on the treadmill…. You get the idea.) Most days I wish that person could be me. It’s not.

I grew up playing sports. I never had to worry about staying in shape. This plan took me all the way through college, where I was captain of my softball team. All throughout this time, I always had my coaches or teammates driving me to workout and I always hit the gym, mainly for two reasons: 1) I knew it would make me a better player/swimmer and 2) I didn’t want to let my teammates, my coaches or myself down.

After I left college, I had to find new ways to motivate myself to workout. I coached swimming while I lived in New York City, so it was easy to keep myself on a regular workout schedule because I always worked out with the kids. However, once I stopped coaching, my workout routine came to a screeching halt. With no one else to push me but myself, I had to find a workout routine that I would enjoy so that I would stay with it.

Skip to a year down the road. I had been trying out a number of workout routines with nothing really sticking. I left for work one morning, leaving my fiancée laying in bed. He was watching the infomercial for the P90X workout system. This, in all honesty, was probably about the 50th time that Derrik had sat down to watch this commercial. I watched part of it as I was getting ready for work, excited about it, yet very skeptical as I usually am with almost anything that can be bought via infomercial. To my surprise, Derrik called me about an hour after I got to work, so excited because he had just purchased P90X.

When the materials came in, we both saw that one could choose different workout plans based on what your needs were. Derrik chose the “Classic” and I chose the “Lean” plan. (The system comes with a nutritional guide which has what looks like really yummy recipes. I, however, can’t tell you that we have been following the nutritional plan. Derrik and I eat pretty well already at home, so we weren’t as concerned with the diet portion of the system.) What I can tell you is that this program is like having a personal trainer in your home. For me, it is nice to have someone lay out everything that you need to do and then you just have to set your mind to doing it and giving it your all for one hour each day.

The Lean program has a good mix of yoga, cardio-kickboxing, weight lifting, core exercises and combined cardio. Each workout is intense but really fun to complete. Also, the workout plan changes every month, so the system really keeps you on your toes. Derrik and I purchased the program to get healthy and stay in shape. We have a wedding coming up too, so it is also helpful for that! I am a few weeks into the program and absolutely love it. It helps as well that even though each of us are doing the different workout plans, we each push each other on the days when it is hard to make yourself show up to work out. I will definitely check back in as I progress in the workout plan to let you all know if I have made it through and how I feel about my results. As for right now, I can tell you that only being a few weeks in, I feel stronger, I feel like my cardio capabilities have increased, and I feel like my muscles are getting a lot firmer.

That said, I will leave you with two last things until we talk again. This program has two sayings that really put things into perspective. The first is “Do your best and forget the rest”. The second is “Don’t ever say that you can’t do something. Instead, say that you currently struggle with it.” I started this program not being able to do all of the reps that the people on the video do. My form isn’t perfect yet and sometimes I have to do the modified moves. All I can do is my best and make sure that I show up everyday. That is what matters. I figure the other stuff will eventually fall in line. — Kelley Roots

July 6, 2009 at 8:51 pm 1 comment

Do These Pixels Make My Butt Look Big?

wii-fitForget Nintendo Wii’s Mii figures: Pretty soon, the little dude or dudette hopping around your videogame screen will actually be you.

Devotees of the Nintendo Wii are familiar with the system’s Mii avatars, little virtual figures each player creates to represent them in various games. Now, a French videogame company is creating a game that actually shows your own body on screen. The Your Shape game, designed for the Wii, “uses a camera to scan players’ bodies and replicate them on screen, where a virtual trainer coaches them through exercise routines,” writes the AFP. Going even farther along the path Nintendo forged with its Wii Fit program, which has gotten company lately in EA Sports Active for the Wii, Your Shape players will get feedback in real time and can see results on screen — which might be even more incentive to get healthy than looking in the mirror.

Your Shape is set for an end-of-the-year release.

June 2, 2009 at 12:26 pm Leave a comment

Glide Is Good

bodyglideMy thighs, like the best of friends, are very good at keeping in touch. Those among you who are curvy, zaftig, bountiful or otherwise bodacious through the hips know what I’m talking about when I say that chafing in that area can bring a girl to tears. All it takes is a sweaty day and a long walk in a skirt. In college, my friends and I used to call the condition “Jane Blaze,” as in, “Why are you walking so funny?” “Because I have a serious case of Jane Blaze.”

When I started running, Jane was my constant workout companion. I tried wearing traditional running shorts and spent the bulk of my run trying to halt their constant migration north. As the fabric rose, my skin rubbed against itself, and nobody was happy: Not me and definitely not the innocent bystanders who had to watch me tugging on my drawers every few steps.

I switched to bike shorts and things got a bit better, but my running life was revolutionized the day I was introduced to Body Glide. Ladies, in the annals of Things That Make Our Lives Easier, Body Glide ranks right up there with Spanx and paid maternity leave. It’s that good. The anti-chafing balm comes in a package that looks like a stick of deodorant. Before you work out, you take off the cap and rub the stick anywhere that you have usually chafing or blister trouble. Poof! Your hot spots are banished.

Even members of the Thighs Don’t Touch Club can reap the benefits of Body Glide’s goodness. It’s awesome under bra straps, on heels to prevent blisters, beneath the girls to stop them from rubbing against your rib cage. You can find Body Glide at sporting goods stores like The Sports Authority, and you can check it out online here. I get nothing out of promoting this product, but if I can help even one of my sisters in sweat elude that wench Jane Blaze, that’s payment enough for me.

May 6, 2009 at 2:05 am 1 comment

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