Saturday, September 29, 2012

Fitness Challenge: Day 93

If you are an athlete, or just want to build strength, endurance and agility, check out As One, a high intensity program on the Upper West Side. The friendly trainers motivate small group work outs, with an hour long class called As One. Each class is different, though all start with a warm up, stretching and a series of movements. Our class had 3 components: a floor part, where we did 30 second intervals of burpees, planks, squat jumps, lunges, and other instruments of torture. Two other groups used the stair climber, or a stationary bike that also incorporated arms (think elliptical on wheels).
We did this in 4 minute rotations, then 8 minute rotations. Just for fun, we did pull ups and weighted rope slaps before our final stretches. The gym has plenty of foam rollers, which we used to stretch our muscles at the end' this is particularly helped for the IT band. As One also offers strength and mobility classes, and a once a week 2 hour class that could easily get you ready for a marathon or triathlon. The boutique gym does something few other small gyms do: it lets you take your first class free. Once you see how intensely you can work out - and still have fun - you will want to come back. The gym has men's and women's bathrooms, each with a shower, and provides towels and a water cooler. The women's room had tampons and hair products, nice touches in an otherwise bare bones place

Friday, September 28, 2012

Fitness Challenge: What to Wear

You are what you wear and what you wear to the gym can help you tone or lose even more weight. Delfin Spa has a new line of workout gear that uses bio ceramic fechnology to help you improve your look. The neoprene clothes, which are like wet suit material, include shorts, capris and tummy tighteners. The technology in the clothes uses body heat to increase metabolism – but you don’t feel hot when you are exercising. You can also wear the clothes under regular clothes to increase metabolism as you go about your day, though this probably doesn’t mean sitting on your couch eating M & M’s. The shorts and capris help break up cellulite, and if you use a cellulite cream, the cream will penetrate more deeply.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Fitness Challenge: Day 92

If you are looking for a cheap, amenity-free gym with a variety of classes, JKM Fitness, Just Keep Moving fits the bill, This basement room, which retains the odor of those intensely working out, has kickbocking, boot camp, yoga and Zumba.

The floor has a thick rubber covering, so you don't even need sneakers. But bring your own water and a towel - they both cost $1 (the towel is just a rental).

My kickboxing boot camp with Javar Lee was an intense hour of interval training, plus punching and kicking. Boxing gloves and MMA are provided. Most of the class consisted of strength and cardio - burpees, pushups, mountain climbers, sit ups and jumping jacks.

JKM also offers personal training.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Fitness Challenge: Day 91

Shopping is a sport, though in New York, it can be more of a blood sport. If you want to work out, and shop, the Westin Galleria Dallas is close to the huge mall, and has a the signature Westin WORKOUT gym.

The hotel is actually considered part of the Galleria complex, though it is nearly impossible to walk from one to the other. We tried, but not only was it over 100 degrees, there was also nowhere towalk.

So we confined our aerobic exercise to the air conditioned gym. The smallish gym, overlooking the outdoor pool, had state of the art cardio machines, a bosu ball and stability ball and free weights.

I forgot my headphones, but a Westin employee offered to go the front desk and returned with headphones for me.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Fitness Challenge: Day 90

Lance Armstrong may not be the best role model for children, but he has created a cool community in Austin at his bike store, Mellow Johnny's. You can buy bicycles and accessories here, fuel up at the Juan Pelota Café, and rent bikes if you are vacationing in Austin.

Although the temperature topped 100 on our recent family vacation to Austin, we spent a few hours biking the mostly shaded Barton Creek Greenbelt, a flat trail which had hard packed soil and rocky parts. We biked around Zilker park, with a public pool, Barton Springs. We didn't have bathing suits, so we stayed in the free creek area, where locals and their dogs frolicked in the water.

Mellow Johnny's provides free water bottle with rentals, and a water fountain in the store has a drinking fountain (there are also showers for commuters, a nice touch). But the trail also had frequent drinking fountains, and coolers filled with ice water.

Still, it was so hot that we returned our bikes and headed to the rooftop pool at the Omni.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Fitness Challenge: Day 89

Every night, bats gather and swoop from the Congress Avenue Bridge in Austin, TX. Hundreds of onlookers crowd the bridges and the shores of Lady Bird Lake to witness their flight.

But a few hardy souls kayak on Lady Bird Lake to watch the bats. We took a kayaking tour with Live Love Paddle, which provides single or tandem kayaks, cold water and a light for the return trip.

This was no cakewalk in the summer heat. Though the temperature had dropped for the days high of 99, it was still steamy when we set off for our mile and a half trip. I took a tandem kayak with my 14 year old and she did not pull her weight, alternately resting or actively paddling against me.

But the view was spectacular and the work out was a welcome antidote to days of indoor exercise. We 'raced' against crew teams from UT Austin and no one was anointed with bat poop.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Fitness Challenge: Day 88

Omni Hotels really go the extra mile. If you sign up for their loyalty program, you reap immediate rewards. On just your first stay, you get a free morning drink, delivered to your room. You also get free WiFi and a shoeshine, neither of which I used.

But the free coffee was a great perk (literally). I had my banana and caffeine and headed to the Omni Austin’s large fitness center.

The fitness center, through the lobby, has state of the art cardio equipment, a bosu ball and a stability ball, plus mats, free weights and space to stretch.

The cardio machines don’t have individual screens, but there are flat screen televisions that you can use.

The only problem we had was we didn’t have a TV guide. When you are traveling, you don’t know where Comedy Central or E! are, and in the fitness center, the channels didn’t even match the ones in the room.

But during our work out, a hotel employee came in to refresh the towels. I asked her about the stations, and she went and got someone who knew.

Truly above and beyond.