Posts tagged ‘group fitness classes’

Unsavory

Bikram yoga posesHot yoga and running are alike in so many ways. They can make you feel like you’re dying. They make you leak sweat like a faulty garden hose. They cause you to seriously reconsider the Mexican food you had for dinner the night before. And when you’re smack in the middle of doing them, it can take all of your will not to puke on yourself.

The way you feel at the end is always worth it. But this isn’t one of those inspirational posts. This is really just about how, a few minutes into my Bikram yoga class this morning, I had to mind-over-matter it hard core when I realized that someone around me smelled like fried onions and garlic.

The offenders

You guys know what I’m talking about. You get a whiff of it when you’re sitting next to a stranger on the bus or when someone’s standing too close to you in the grocery store check-out line. It’s not the fresh, savory bouquet that wafts out from the kitchen when you’re visiting your favorite Italian restaurant. It’s the stale odor that you first smelled lingering in your elderly Aunt Trudy’s curtains and upholstery. It’s a smell that has notes of body odor and airless rooms. It’s a smell of good stuff gone wrong. I’m so sensitive to it that I make a point of keeping the windows in our very small apartment wide open and the fans going while I’m cooking.

Anyway, that’s what was making its way into my nostrils at approximately 6:25 this morning, as I was trying to get into standing-head-to-knee pose. Keep in mind that Bikram yoga is practiced in a room that’s heated to a humid 105 degrees Farenheit and filled with people—if something stinks, it has to compete with about 300 other foul smells for dominance. This one had eaten its Wheaties.

I know that one of yoga’s biggest tenets is to just accept what is—especially if it’s annoying—and persevere without letting it affect you. Let’s just say that this morning, I wasn’t the best yogi I could be. As we moved through the sequence of poses, I furtively tried to sniff my hair, my hands, my clothing. Nothing. Sure that I was in the clear, I darted quick glances around the room at my classmates, trying to narrow down who the culprit might be.

I was fairly certain the stinker was the chick a row ahead of me with all of her hair gathered in a tight topknot. I mentally focused my disgust on her. By the time we finished the standing poses, I was having a hard time. I was tired. I was a little dehydrated. And this smell was killing me. No one else seemed bothered, but I was unable to concentrate on anything other than not wretching. Some enlightenment, eh?

Then we moved to the floor, where I realized the terrible truth: THE STINKER WAS ME. My towel, which I’d brought from home to cover my mat, smelled like someone’s grandma’s housecoat. And in a sickening flash I realized that the towel had been hanging up to dry in our bathroom—our windowless bathroom!—when I was making vegetarian mole over the weekend. I was mortified. It was like that old horror story when the heroine realizes that the threatening calls are coming from inside the house!

The second half of a Bikram class is spent on the floor, much of it with your belly to the mat. That means I repeatedly had to face-plant myself into the very odor I’d angrily pinned on my fellow yoga-goers moments before. For about 45 minutes.

Did I mention it was really humid?

And that, friends, is karma.

Kulae yoga towel

My chariot to funkytown

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March 7, 2012 at 11:16 pm Leave a comment

So, that was my Saturday . . .

I accidentally signed up for two fitness events on the same day planned a huge day of fitness fun this past Saturday, starting with New York Road Runners’ Fitness Body, Mind, Spirit Games in Central Park. As Steph and I were walking along Central Park West to the race, a couple in an old-school sedan pulled up alongside us and asked for directions to 67th and Madison. I crouched down next to the car and told them how they were going to cross Central Park at the 72nd Street transverse. They asked if there were any bridges to go under. Only then did I realize what they were towing behind them.

As it turns out, I was giving directions to Harry and Barbara, two members of the Waterloo German Band, who had driven their car and freaking awesome float all the way from Illinois to Manhattan for this year’s German-American Steuben Parade. (Check them out in action; pretty impressive.) Once I routed the couple around the park — and away from any low-hanging overpasses — they thanked me. As then as we were walking away, they honked, beckoned me back, and very sweetly asked me to mail some postcards for them. Why the heck not? They had literally hauled a larger-than-life cuckoo clock replica behind them across six states; it was the least I could do.

Much later in the day, Steph and I were lamenting the fact that we hadn’t taken a picture of the float before the clock rolled away. As we were telling Mr. Haul Buns (or, The Artist Formerly Known as The Fiancé Formerly Known as The Boyfriend—whichever you prefer, because I’m fairly certain he doesn’t prefer either) about our day, I pulled out the postcards to show him and bam! They were Waterloo German Band postcards! Harry and Barbara, you guys rock — mostly because your cards proved to the skeptical Mr. HB that the float actually WAS festooned with a stuffed deer head.

Anyway, after our Good Samaritan stint, Steph and I ran the Fitness 4-miler. The Biggest Loser‘s Bob Harper was there on behalf of Quaker, and TBL‘s season 11 winner Olivia Ward and her sister and teammate, Hannah Curlee, were on hand to cheer for all of the runners. Steph got thisclose to meeting Bob, but his press person scuttled him away from fans just before the start of the race. This photo is all we have to remember our almost-encounter with The Blonde One.

Maybe he ran away from us because I was yelling, "Believe in yourself, trust the process, change forever!"

Happy with our times, and with me gingerly nursing the knee I’d scraped when I took a header getting into the start corral — sigh — Steph and I took the 2 train down to South Street Seaport for Women’s Health magazine’s Are You Game?

This pretty awesome day of (relatively) free group fitness classes and swag giveaways was so much fun. TBL‘s season 11 trainer Cara Castronuova was there to teach a boxing class; during a Q&A, she told us all that women should be able to throw a nice, clean punch. Seems like good advice.

(Photo: Stephanie Pinsdorf)

 

Though we got shut out of a few classes because we hadn’t reserved spots (a definite must for next year), we took part in two really great sessions: Rock Yoga, a vinyasa class set to songs like Guns N’ Roses’ “Patience” and Aerosmith’s “Dream On” — it shouldn’t have worked, but it totally did — and La Blast, a cardio ballroom class developed by Dancing with the Stars’ pro Louis Van Amstel. Amstel was even there to teach the class; from the moment he told us to shake our boobs and think with our pelvic regions, I knew I’d have a pretty great time. Afterward, Steph and I weren’t about to let this blonde, male reality TV personality get away without taking a photo with us.

Harper, this coulda been you.

September 19, 2011 at 9:46 pm Leave a comment

Spinning Tunes

To be a good instructor, you have to take classes. It keeps you fit, it gives you great ideas that you can steal use for inspiration, and it opens you up to ways that other instructors communicate with clients. I took a great Spinning class last week in New York, and I have to thank the teacher for kicking my butt hard-core (and for giving me a few notions about this playlist and how to teach to it). Enjoy!

1. Hurt (Deeper-Mindset Tight Mix) — Christina Aguilera (7:04)

2. Commander (feat. David Guetta) — Kelly Rowland (3:38)

3. Born This Way — Lady GaGa (4:20)

4. Lose Yourself — Eminem (5:21)

5. Keep Hope Alive — The Crystal Method (6:12)

6. Mr. Brightside — The Killers (3:54)

7. Forget You — Cee Lo Green (3:43)

8. My Life Would Suck Without You — Kelly Clarkson (3:32)

9. Teenage Love Affair — Alicia Keys (3:10)

10. Thank U — Alanis Morissette (4:18)

11. Marry Me — Train (3:25)

February 24, 2011 at 8:55 pm Leave a comment

Fairy Tales and Fat Jokes

Ringer and Angle

I promise, this blog isn’t going to turn into HatredForAnyoneWhoEverCalledAnyoneFatInPrint.com. But I couldn’t let Alastair Macaulay’s sour take on the New York City Ballet’s current Sugar Plum Fairy pass without opening it up for discussion.

A little background: Macaulay, a ballet critic for The New York Times, reviewed City Ballet’s current production of The Nutcracker at the end of last month. He liked it, but pointed out that Sugar Plum Fairy Jennifer Ringer “looked as if she’d eaten one sugar plum too many.” The body critique extended to Jared Angle, who dances the part of the Cavalier; Macaulay wrote, Angle “seems to have been sampling half the Sweet realm.”

When readers wrote in to complain, Macaulay penned another piece defending his position. Ballet is all about bodies, he argued. If you can’t handle the scrutiny, toss your toeshoes in the trash for good.

Then, Ringer appeared on Today on Monday, talking about the controversy. The ballerina, who has previously discussed her history of anorexia and compulsive eating, handled questions gracefully.

“As a dancer, I do put myself out there to be criticized, and my body is part of my art form. At the same time, I’m not overweight. I do have, I guess, a more womanly body type than the stereotypical ballerina. But that’s one of the wonderful things about, actually, the New York City Ballet is we have every body type you can imagine. We have tall, we have petite, we have athletic, we have womanly, we have waiflike. I mean, we have every body type out there, and they can all dance like crazy, they’re all gorgeous. And I think dance should be more of a celebration of that, of seeing these beautiful women with these different bodies all dancing to this gorgeous music, and that’s what should be celebrated.”

She added that she doesn’t want an apology from Macaulay. I’d add that she shouldn’t get one; what he said, though silly, is well within his realm. Critics often write things artists don’t like, and then everyone moves on.

But I’m interested in hearing what you out there in Haul nation have to say on the matter. I’m probably a little biased. As a “bigger” group fitness instructor, I have often run into people who can’t believe that I have the physical ability to lead a class in a challenging workout. Then we spend a sweaty hour together, and minds are changed. Given my experience, it took very little time for me to wholeheartedly jete onto Team Ringer. And I’m also wondering why no one’s up in arms about the comments made about Angle, a question Macaulay also raises in his rebuttal. Is it because Angle’s a dude? Do weight cracks not matter, or are they more easily dismissed, when they’re made about men? I’m all over the place, faithful Haulers. Leave comments and give me some guidance. What say you?

What do you think?

December 15, 2010 at 1:42 am 2 comments

Poles, brooms, po-tay-to, po-tah-to

So while I was chillin’ in AC this weekend, one of the biggest events of the wizarding world was taking place in New York City: the Quidditch World Cup!

(If you’re not a Harry Potter fan, scroll down to the strippers. This won’t be long, I promise.)

The MetroMix photos make it look like a collegial good time. But a friend who was there as a spectator, and who is perhaps the most rabid Harry Potter fan I know,  left after 20 minutes. “I was uncomfortable,” she said. “You know how some kids are accidental dorks, and others lord their dorkiness over others? These kids were the latter.” For the rest of the day, I found it really hard not to picture The Simpsons’ Comic Book Guy gallumping around with a broom wedged between his legs. I’m sorry. It’s haunted me all day, and now it will haunt you, too.

Worst. Snitch. Ever.

And then, because I am at heart an accidental dork who has moments of lording it over others, I got all excited for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I, which comes out this week.

In other sports-that-rely-on-a-great-deal-of-thigh-strength news, apparently the American Pole Fitness Championships were also held in the Big Apple just weeks ago. (Totally not making this up.) There’s no nudity here, but please don’t watch this highlight video at work. Haul Buns should never be the cause of an HR inquiry. But when you’ve got a free moment, take a gander at the athleticism and strength necessary to perform some of these moves. Absolutely insane.

And that got me thinking about a pretty funny Conan O’Brien bit with a strip pole. Dare I hope I could find it on the Internets? Done.

His stripper name? Coco, of course.

 

 

 

November 15, 2010 at 10:31 pm Leave a comment

Everybody’s haulin’ for the weekend

After kind of an insane week at work, this weekend cannot arrive quickly enough. Good thing I’ve got great stuff on the agenda. First, a Dave Matthews Band concert tonight. I don’t care if you hate DMB. I loooooooooooove them, and their “Two Step” has gotten me through many a long run.

Then tomorrow, a morning workout to remind my tush that it’s not SUPPOSED to be cemented to a chair all day long.

Artist's rendering

Followed by my first-ever visit to Atlantic City to celebrate the 40th birthday of Deanna, one of the cool chicks who reads this blog. I’m going to bring my sneakers, and by God, I will use them. Maybe.

 

C'mon slots. Mama needs a new pair of...

Some interesting bits to tide you over until I’m back:

You’ll remember that I spotted Chilean miner Edison Pena during his ING New York City Marathon run last weekend. But I had no idea who the guys running alongside him were. Thanks, The New York Times, for filling me in.(And thanks to Melissa for sending me the story!)

Whatever you’re up to this weekend, make sure that your fitness exploits can’t easily be mistaken for a suicide attempt. Please?

Happy weekend, everyone!


November 12, 2010 at 10:34 pm 1 comment

Does this mean every instructor is going to start screaming at me?

The American College of Sports Medicine recently released its annual forecast of workout trends: Boot camps are big, Pilates is passé. Read more here.

In the piece, a Pilates studio owner says that money is a huge factor.

“Pilates is perceived as more expensive than bootcamp,”  Lara Hudson, owner of the Mercury Fitness Pilates studio in San Francisco, California, told Reuters. “In this tough economy people look for less expensive workouts.”

Do you think she’s right? How much does cost affect your workout routine?

November 10, 2010 at 7:59 pm Leave a comment

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