FBS On The Road: Dropping In & Learning New Skills At The Academy In St. Augustine

One of my favorite things about doing Crossfit, is that once you are part of the CrossFit community, you are part of a family no matter where you go. I mean, what is not to love about that?  So when I recently went to St. Augustine in Florida, I finally got to be one of those Crossfitters asking for recommendations. Heidi, one of my Brick coaches, is down in the area often and had nothing but good things to say about Crossfit Atlantic, now The Academy, which totally sealed the deal for me. Didn’t hurt that they have a kick-ass logo and I totally wanted to rock one of their shirts…

CFAtlantic x FBS 1

So, on the one rainy, grey day of the trip, it seemed like the perfect time to check out one of their classes.  I got really excited when I pulled up outside of their warehouse space (by NYC standards, it was HUGE) and walked in to a big, warm welcome from one of their coaches who was manning the front desk.  She made me feel immediately at home, gave me a quick low-down on the big open space and introduced me to the coach of that WOD, Alan. After stashing my stuff, I was told to grab a rower and get 750m to warm up. I pulled mine to the back of the group so that I could be by the big, open bay doors and just took in the awesome surroundings.

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CFAtlantic x FBS 2

Then, it was off to some hip-opening exercises and some conditioning drills across the floor.  I chatted with the super-fit woman next to me and when we got to the final inchworm move across the floor, she groaned. Alan heard her and said “Come on! We have a visitor from New York! Let’s show her we do all of the inchworms!” I just grinned and as a pair, we made our way across the floor. CF Atlantic Rope climb demo

Alan went over the workout quickly and told us that we would be working on rope climbing as our strength section that day.  I immediately felt doomed. The last time I even attempted a rope climb was in elementary school and it didn’t go so well. Alan demoed the move that would make climbing “more about your legs” and while I was game to try, I still thought this probably wasn’t going to go well for me.  There were about 16 of us that day, so each rope had 4 people to it. I teamed up with another woman who wanted to try from the modified box start that had been given as an option, and her husband and friend rounded out our foursome.

CFAtlantic x FBS 3Alan made his way over to us and asked me if I’d ever done a rope climb… and I, of course, immediately fessed up to having absolutely no idea what I was doing.  He grinned and gave us a thorough demo from the box…and even managed to make me feel like “Oh, yeah! I CAN do this.” The key is to wrap the rope around your leg and pin it with your foot, and just stretch out but the TRICK is that to move up the rope, you have to spin your leg to move the rope down your leg and you up the rope.  I wasn’t so good at that spin part but did manage to inch my way up the rope! VICTORY! Then, you let go of the wrap while keeping a firm hold on the rope so you don’t slide down, before you can come down with control.

CF Atlantic Rope FBS Rope Climb

I totally could have called it a day after that since it was such a win but there was a Workout of the Day to do. That day, it was a 5 rounds for time of 2 squat clean and jerks (heavy for you), 10 handstand push-ups, and 10 toes to bar.

 

CFAtlantic x FBS 14

This was an amazingly ripped group of athletes and while a little part of me wanted to go big like them, I knew a lighter load was the way I needed to go.  Alan came over to see if I needed to modify the handstand pushups – which I always do. He had me grab a box and really focus on tapping the crown of my head to the ground.  Then, we were off.  The funniest part for me is that since they are in a warehouse space, dropping your bar at the lift is totally ok, but since at Brick that is an absolute no-no, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.  Don’t mind me, the weird one in the back! After a little under ten minutes we were done.

CF Atlantic WOD

 

I snagged the owner at the end to settle up for my drop-in and inquire about one of those cool tanks they were all sporting but sadly, they were all sold out.  Seems the only solution is to go back next time I’m in town… because if you didn’t get a t-shirt at your drop-in, did you really go?

 

Photos by Eric Stafford, Stafford Sports Media for FBS

Trinity Boxing NYC: An Amateur’s Guide To Training Like A Professional

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Boxing is one of those things that I think, if you want to study, you have to go to a real deal boxing gym – the standard gym version of boxing just isn’t going to cut it.  Last week, I went to Trinity Boxing Club and got schooled.

There are a lot of boxing gyms in NYC but Trinity Boxing stood out to me because their whole motto is that they are “for people who want to train like professional fighters but don’t want to lose their front teeth doing it.” Hello. Exactly what I wanted.  Teach me how to throw a punch but don’t punch me in the face. Is that so wrong?

Trinity Boxing Sign

I set up a “trial lesson”, which is Trinity’s version of a 1st time session to see if it’s for you – and at $30, it’s hands down one of the best deals in the city.  The trial lesson is roughly an hour… unless it takes longer.  So, good rule of thumb is that you shouldn’t plan anything right after a trial lesson.  After checking in with John Snow, manager of Trinity Boxing, signing my life away (as you do in any new spot), I made it downstairs to stash my stuff in their women’s locker room. It’s basic but totally better than any other boxing gym I’ve seen!

John Snow Trinity BoxingAs I made my way upstairs, I was a little nervous about what was ahead but also REALLY excited to see what was in store. At the top of the stairs, John appeared and asked if I was ready.  I answered with a huge grin, to which John just smiled and raised an eyebrow: “As ready as I’m going to be!”.  Looking back, I realized that he knew that he was going to kick my ass. He wrapped my hands and explained that they were to protect my tendons, not my knuckles and then took me to the back of the gym to warm up. “Ok, you have 3 minutes of jumping rope, the buzzer will sound when you have 30 seconds left – keep going. When everyone else stops, so can you.” So for 2 rounds of three minutes, I jumped rope. It was brutal.  For me, jumping rope gets old fast but I managed to keep it up. I didn’t want to show any weakness… game face, people.

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Next up was “shadow boxing” – which is basically just trying to get the general moves down. After slipping a pair of gloves on me, John called Ramon, a boxer and trainer at Trinity, who moved in to show me the ropes for the next two rounds of 3 minutes.  I tried to get the general moves down but really, I was just waiting to hit something.

FBS Trinity Boxing 1

The next stop was a heavy bag anchored to the wall that we used to work on combining the punching from Shadow boxing and lateral movement. It was comically hard for me to get the hit, move, hit, slide back routine. I kept getting overly excited and either going too fast or forgetting to move over at all but damn, it was fun to start actually using those punches.  John patiently gave me pointers in each round and never made me feel bad at all.

2Next up was hands-down my favorite of the bag work – the heavy bag. Circling around the bag and combining punches just felt awesome. It doesn’t move that much, so it was easier to move around and really get a feel for hitting that heavy bag. I’d get pointers, nod and try to put them into effect.

Water at Trinity BoxingI was wiped out at the end of those two 3-minute rounds and gratefully accepted when offered water… which of course you need help with because your hands are sealed up in those big gloves. Pro tip: Wide mouth bottles are not awesome in this scenario, there is a solid reason every boxer is seen with a squeeze bottle. Lesson learned.

Medium Bag at Trinity BoxingThen we were off to a free-swinging medium sized heavy bag. I was epically bad at this one since I was just terrible at gauging when I should be swinging and would scoot back when it would swing back at me.  This bag really shows what your weakness would be in a fight, because as I was told “no opponent stands there and waits for you to hit them. They are going to move – AND swing back at you.”  I worked for the next round to not back up, keep moving and get that timing right.

Trinity Boxing Flag and FBS

The final 2 boxing rounds were with Ramon wearing boxing mitts that would serve as my targets. Seriously, there is hardly a better sound in the fitness world than when your glove really connects with the catch. Thwap! He would call out combos and I would throw them. Sometimes well. THWAP! Sometimes not… at which point he would stop and demo again what I was going for. This was so much fun it felt like the room fell away and I was able to just focus on swinging, connecting and that awesome sound.

Mitt Work at TRinity BOxing At the end of that final round, John checked in on me and took off my gloves. Ramon moved in to help me remove the wraps and I thought the lesson was over until I was told to follow Ramon for conditioning. A member who’d just gotten there joined me and we did rounds of various ab work, mountain climbers, and planks for time. It was fun and a good way to end – I was tired but could get through all the moves without collapsing, which is always a good thing!

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Then it really was done. I toweled off, drank some water and looked around the room and just reveled in being there.  Trinity boxing is serious about their sport but really, they just want to help you find that love of their sport and at Trinity, that is easy to do.  I walked out of there physically exhausted but giddy with excitement AND trying to figure out how I  could do it again…

Photos and video by Eric Stafford, Stafford Sports Media for FatBottomSlim

FBS’s Sweaty Intel: January Edition

A few months ago, I heard a solid report that Soul Cycle had signed a lease in Brooklyn, near the Borough Hall stop in Brooklyn Heights/Downtown area.  I was pretty sure at the time that this was true, but when I saw the recent posting on Soul’s Career section looking for Front Desk peeps for “Brooklyn Heights, CT” I knew it had to be getting close. CT has no Brooklyn Heights… but BROOKLYN’S Downtown/Brooklyn Heights area is ripe for an awesome Indoor Cycling option and given the lease report, I’m now counting down the days ’till it’s officially announced. The Downtown Brooklyn area is massively lacking in fitness options and the studio that gets to this area first is going to have such a stronghold by the time ALL of the huge new buildings go up, it’ll be hard for anyone to compete. I’m not even a little surprised that Soul would see an opportunity and swoop in.

Soul Cycle Saying

 

One of my VERY favorite yoga studios – I.AM.YOU in Nolita is beginning to offer community classes (donation based) on Wednesday nights at 7:30pm. This loft-based studio is just freaking cool – athletic flow and awesome music. These classes will be taught by one of I.AM.YOU’s finishing school trainees, but knowing Lauren, she wouldn’t have anyone teach in her space that wasn’t amazing.  I’m so hitting this up.

IAmYouMats

In classes that seem both fascinating and slightly terrifying –  STREB has started to offer German Wheel (aka the giant hamster wheel) as a weekly class. This used to only be offered as special workshop but now you have the option of dropping in – for $35. Flip, roll, swing and invert yourself inside this giant metal wheel – it encompasses all of the fun and excitement of gymnastic tumbling without the high impact. These classes are taught by Chris Delgado, a certified German wheel instructor who has over 4 years of teaching experience and STREB says it’s open to all levels from beginner to competitive level training. I’m both curious and terrified of this one…

German Wheel Chris Delgado

 

Images from Soul Cycle & I.AM.YOU and Chris Delgado‘s Facebook pages.

Shaking Up Goals: Getting Out Of My Comfort Zone at Brick NYC

Since it’s January, it’s a good time to reevaluate my fitness goals and shake things up. I’ve been half-assed doing Crossfit for a year now. I know so many people who go all of the time and have made huge progress, but I’ve just never fully committed to going. My goal this month is to change that …and my long-term avoidance of morning classes.  I don’t believe in resolutions, but I damn sure believe in goals.

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Recently, I got a chance to go to a morning workout with one my favorite Brick NYC coaches – Joshua Martinez.  Josh is predominately part of the morning crew, with only rare appearances to teach Barbell Club at night.  It’s funny, when I first met Josh, I was sure he was going to be dismissive of anyone who wasn’t a crossfit beast – and be annoyed at having to really break down moves to someone like me who almost never can do the RX weight for the bigger Olympic moves.  That turned out to be ridiculously untrue – Josh really just loves helping people get better, no matter where you are starting from. Having taken a handful of his Barbell class on the weekend, his insightful and helpful hints about form always make a difference.

Josh

In a normal class, he is still all about form and as he demoed all the moves that day, he gave us tips about how to do it right… and stressed that if you couldn’t do the RX weight, that doing the move correctly with a lower weight was far more important.  I love that. The workout that day was a ridiculous ladder titled “JP’s Nuts” – 20 dumbbell squat cleans, 30 calorie row, 40 dumbbell push presses, 50 pushups, 60 abmat situps, 70 lateral box step-overs and then, you work back down the ladder 60 situps, 50 pushups…. for time.

1Although the women’s weight on the NYC board was a prescribed 35lbs, I knew that my form was going to go to hell at that weight, so I did 20lbs dumbbells instead. 20 was seriously hard for me but doable with good form…. I felt a little better about that drop in weight choice when I saw Brick LA’s board had it listed at 25lbs! By the end, I was fried and took a little time to roll out on a lacross ball and high five people who were wrapping up that brutal ladder. Then still early in the day, my workout was done and I felt awesome.

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In January, my plan is to do Crossfit 3 times a week in the morning, B|X once a week, Pilates at least once a week and then some cardio options (like Flywheel) a few times a week thrown in for good measure. It’s going to be an interesting January, that’s for sure… fingers crossed I don’t just keel over!

 

Photos by Eric Stafford, Stafford Sports Media.

Mile High Run Club: Training Every Runner To Aim Higher

It should be mentioned upfront, that I am NOT a runner.  The fact that I recently fell during a run and actually injured myself had upped my “not really a fan of running” to an almost shocking level of active avoidance. I really needed to get over it, so when I was invited to check out Mile High Run Club, the new runner’s boutique studio, I knew I had and needed to go.

MHRC logo

Mile High Run club is a boutique fitness studio geared at both advanced runners and those just looking to improve. The studio opened in the newly happening NoHo fitness hub – just around the corner from Soul Cycle and Barry’s Bootcamp. It is a beautiful, clean, modern studio, with a bank of small lockers in front. Thankfully, in the gorgeous changing room, there were a handful of larger lockers and I managed to snag one, since my huge backpack was just comically too big for the small ones in the communal space. I stashed my stuff, left my ego at the door and made my way into the studio.

MHRC TreadmillsDecked out with awesome Woodway Treadmills, which more closely mimic the road and just feel better under your feet, MHRC classes are split in two different versions “Dash 28” and “The Distance.”  The class that I took was “Dash 28” with Debora Warner, the founder and program director of Mile High Run Club. For the last several years, Debora has coached hundreds of runners independently through her private training business.  Debora’s goal with MHRC classes? “You’re not alone on the treadmill anymore. My class will educate you and inspire you to aim higher.” I love the idea of getting true run coaching while in a group class setting because really, I need all the coaching I can get!

Dash 28 is a 45-minute class for runners of all levels.  The name comes from the fact that it consists of about 28 minutes of structured intervals followed by 10 minutes of strength training on the floor. Our class did a short warm-up jog on the treadmill while Debora checked in on injuries and levels of experience. Then it was on to the floor for some squats, lunges and some plyometric moves to get our bodies ready for the next 28 minutes. On all of the treadmills, there was a small laminated guide for what ranges you should be within if you are a beginner or if you are advanced – I obviously knew I would fall in the beginner category. I followed along and struggled with every bit. I was distinctly the slowest in the room but was never, ever made to feel bad about it. I did what my hill run was. I did what my sprint was. The goal of MHRC isn’t to just teach to the highest level in the room, or call out crazy numbers to hit on the treadmill, but to give everyone in the room the tools to be their best – whatever that is. At the end of the 28 minutes, we hopped off the treadmills for some kettle bell and core work.

MHRC kettlebellsAt the end of Dash 28, I was spent, but with a new desire to get my running, at the very least, back to a respectable level. Mile High Run Club is a safe, supportive studio where you can just work on getting better – in a group setting. Watching the good runners of the room that night, I wanted to be them. I can’t wait to go back and work on getting better. The best part though about my first session at MHRC, was that it was the first time in months that I actually wanted to run again and that is just an amazing thing….

dreams dont work unless you do

 

Photos & logo courtesy of Mile High Run Club. End quote just a little bit of internet goodness.

No Rest For The Motivated: Kira Stokes Joins BFX Studios

Kira Stokes has taught a killer “Stoked” series of classes for years at Reebok Sports Club/LA, the super swanky and expensive UWS gym, developing loyal and rabid fans of workouts that kick your ass from head to toe. The problem was that really only the people at Reebok had access to that awesomeness on a weekly basis – this week that all changed.  Kira joined the new Boutique fitness venture BFX, which offers both monthly membership options and single classes.  This is a VERY good thing.

Kira Stokes BFXInvited to preview week, I didn’t even think twice & signed up immediately for both of her Monday night classes. It’s been ages since I’ve taken even one of Kira’s classes and even longer since I’d tried a double – I don’t know what I was thinking! On Monday nights she’ll be teaching her C3 Barre Max class and her signature Stoked 360.  I’d taken 360 (and loved it) but her Barre class was the wild card, so I knew I had to try it.  In my head I figured it would be just a lot of barre with Kira’s spin on it but that I would be fine.  I was wrong – those 3 C’s stand for Core, Cardio and Conditioning.  In the first few minutes of class, she told us that this class used to be 75 minutes, so really, she just had to make sure that we thoroughly felt it in 60.  10 minutes in, when we were still on planks and pushups, I knew that this double would be much harder then I’d anticipated.  My recent Pilates work made the roll-up/c-curve portions of the class my strongest part. We planked, did multiple variations on push-ups, did mountain climbers on sliders, c-curve pulses with weight, and did a few plyometrics for good measure. It was about at the halfway mark before we even touched the barre, and I knew I was in trouble with this double.  The barre work really consisted of maybe 6-10 minutes, because really, Kira didn’t need that prop to get to every tiny little muscle in your body. I was sweating buckets by the end of that Barre class.

1623678_1494765160740176_5429448453707692703_n I steeled myself for the next class, Stoked 360, and tried hard to regroup. There were a group of us doing the double, mostly Kira’s diehards who would follow her anywhere and trained with for years, and then me, who hadn’t been to a class in ages.  I’d taken it before and knew that on it’s own it is tough, but with all of my training recently, assumed I’d be fine. The idea of 360, is to hit all of your muscle groups with compound movements done in sets, then repeat it three times before moving on. One: first to learn the move, two: to understand it and three:  perfect it.  As Kira would explain each new set, we would jump rope. It was that cardio spike that made it so there were absolutely no breaks built into the workout.  As Kira said in the middle of class “I don’t cue rest breaks”- if you needed one, you had to take it yourself, she wasn’t going to give you the permission.  Stoked 360 is awesome because it hits everything – and is constantly changing so that you are always challenged. Half an hour in, Kira announced, “We have 45 minutes left and we have a lot to get done. Don’t stop now.” I must have looked visibly stunned, since she looked directly at me and said “YES, this class is 1 hour and 15 minutes and I expect you to give it your all.” Everyone hooted and hollered but I literally wondered if I would just fall over before that full 75 minutes ticked down. It was amazing how many people had followed her to her new spot… but really, considering how good Kira is at challenging you in a way few can, it isn’t THAT surprising.

She's Mad but she's magic

Kira’s BFX classes are going to be capped out at about half of the size of some of largest Reebox classes.  They are going to be hard to get into because Kira’s crew will follow her there. That said, now there is at least FINALLY a chance of training with this master in her field – and really is there better fitness news than that?

 

Top photo from Kira’s Facebook page and bottom just a little internet goodness.

Really Listening: I.AM.YOU’s Live DJ Class With Lauren Imparato

IAmYouDJclass

Things go wrong when you think you know an address…so on my way to Lauren Imparato’s I.AM.YOU, I took one of those random street elevators to a super sketchy second floor of an entirely different building, that instead of offering me a yoga sanctuary, offered massage services by the minute.  I thought, for a brief second, this is how a horror film would start and backed out quickly. Once I was back on the street, a quick Google search gave me the right address (I was two doors down) and moments later, I was finally in the right elevator and headed to I.AM.YOU.  I was running late, like class is about to start late, and I almost bagged out completely since I HATE being that person rushing in at the last minute.  But when I got to the floor, the door was still open and people were still being checked in, so I threw my stuff in my bag, ditched my shoes in the hallway and checked in. I walked into the darkened, stunning loft with its black mats carefully laid out and was grateful that I had actually made it.

The room was packed – of course. I had a momentary panic that my normal hide-in-the-corner-of-the-room spot wasn’t an option, and I thought about fleeing. Lauren saw me freeze, gave me a fierce hug and said without flinching, “You are going THERE” and pointed at an open mat in the middle of the room.  I paused. “GO”, Lauren said firmly and then was off to someone else.  I poked my way over to the mat and tried to settle in but with only a sliver of space between each mat, I also start praying that I didn’t take someone out during this class with my non-yogi ways.

IAmYouMats

Once all thirty mats were filled and everyone was settled in, Lauren told us the focus of the practice.  In most I.AM.YOU classes, Lauren has everything completely planned out, but during the live DJ class, there is an improv to music that is played.  So that night’s focus was all about really listening. That if, for one moment of your night, you were truly able to tune everything out and just really listen to yourself and the moment– that was success. That night, Jennifer, another of the I.AM.YOU teachers, was assisting and as we went through the athletic flow of the evening, it seemed like there was always someone there guiding and correcting my movement. Lauren and Jennifer seamlessly moved around the room, adjusting people, working as a team to get everyone in the room.  Sigh. Have I ever mentioned HOW much I love adjustments? I.AM.YOU instructors, for how amazing, challenging and athletic the practice is, are really just masterful at making sure everyone is in the right position.

Lauren Imparato

Lauren’s flow that night made us work with each other to get a little bit of space to fling ourselves around on the mat but because of the vibe of the night, everyone would just smile and shift. As the songs would change, the flow would morph and you had to really listen to the cues Lauren was giving. I strained to follow but occasionally would just peek at the girl on my left who was a regular and seemed grasp what the next thing was immediately. I never felt totally lost but occasionally my mind would drift off to the great music and cool vibe of the room and I’d suddenly realize I’d missed a cue or two. The hour and 15 minute practice flew by and at the end, as we lay in Savasana, I was totally blissed out. When Lauren made it to me to rub my temple to seal the practice, I melted. At the end of class, as I threw on my clothes and made my way out into the night, I wondered why I wasn’t at I.AM.YOU every single week… it really is just a magical spot in the world.

Photos from I.AM.YOU’s Facebook page. Top photo is from the actual class, if you look very closely you can spot me!

Training With The “World’s Fittest Woman”: Camille LeBlanc-Bazinet Showing Us How It’s Done At EVF Performance

When I heard that Camille LeBlanc-Bazinet, 2014’s CrossFit champ, would be doing a few days of training at EVF Performance, I knew I had to go. The fact that I hadn’t actually done a CrossFit class since I sprained my ring finger 6 weeks ago? A slight wrinkle but not a complete deterrent because I just can’t say no to the chance to workout with the greats.

Camille LeBlanc-BaznekCamille is tiny height-wise but ridiculously ripped – I mean she is the newly crowned “2014 World’s Fittest Woman.”  The class I was supposed to take was the final of the evening and they were running late – “Cami”, as they call her, likes to talk! The best part about that was that we got to watch the WOD that was ahead of us – and for me to snap a picture of Cami in action because I promptly forgot as soon as we were up. The first part of the night was hearing how she went from newbie to Champ in 5 years… which is just insane to me. Cami’s point: have a goal, then break it up into short and long term sections. Of course it doesn’t hurt that she had innate talent but I do think that breaking bigger goals down into pieces is a really good plan. The thing that I really needed to hear (and work on) is the idea that you have to work on your weakness, because your strength will still be there. Whatever that strength happens to be, it will still be there if you spend time on your weakness. All that happens is that you get balanced and more importantly, get better all around.

FBS - Camille Leblanc-Bazinet Demo

Although Cami was obviously the draw to the event, her husband, Dave Lispson, was there to coach too. Dave is one of the CrossFit Headquarters Level 1 coaches and was such an amazing resource for us to get to experience during the skill drills. He might not be the champ but he was awesome, concerned, helpful and thorough. The fact that he’s helping to train the next generation of CrossFit coaches I think is a very good thing. The section was exactly what I needed – a long, detailed breakdown of the clean and all of its various forms. We spent a long time with the PVC pipe and as we did it, Cami and Dave made their way through the room correcting us all. It was awesome to get tips from some of the best, who were both shockingly engrossed in helping us all get better.

FBS Camille Leblanc-Bazinet coachingThe tip that resonated hard with me was exactly how far back I was supposed to push my hips in any clean that started from the ground. Dave said it to me a LOT until I finally got that what I needed to feel – your hamstrings should be on fire before you go. “Push your knees back” really needs to be my mantra. It didn’t matter where people were (I was one of the worst, out of practice and sloppy) both of them were just in it when they were in front of us. We progressed to the bar, then weights, and in each round they were right there. As Cami said at the end, it doesn’t matter if you are throwing up huge weight, it matters if you are doing your best – whatever that is.

The WOD was pretty straightforward a seven minute partner cycle of 5 Squat Cleans while your partner did burpees – evil but straightforward. The score? Your total burpees. My partner was focused on a good score, so I sucked it up and listened to her plan. To get a good score, 75+, we had to do at least 5 burpees for every 5 cleans. It sucked ass but at the end, we’d done a 106 – totally solid.

Here is the thing…I expected a good workout and it was. I knew I’d learn something and I did. The thing that floored me though, was how much I LIKED her. She was sweet, kind and effacing- while still knowing that she is a complete badass. That is an absolutely amazing, special thing. After we’d all peeled ourselves off the floor and told our score we did pictures – because seriously, if you are going to work out with the Champ, you really DO need a picture.

Camille Leblanc-Bazinet and FBS

Gotham Archery: Finding Your Inner Bad Ass

mags aiming

When I first heard that an archery range would be opening in the Gowanus area of Brooklyn, I didn’t really know what to expect but I was just so curious to find out. The space is in one of the industrial spaces that still exist in Gowanus – and even though I had checked the address a million times before heading there, I was sure I must have gotten the street wrong. Until actually standing in front of Gotham Archery, there are no big signs – only a small beautiful wooden placard on a non-descript door.

Gotham Archery -sign

I haven’t shot a bow since I was a little kid and didn’t know what to expect, so decided I needed a partner in crime for this adventure. I decided Eric needed to TAKE the class too, not just take pictures and so I booked us into Gotham Archery’s introductory class – required of everyone who wants to shoot on their range.  Since we got there a little early, I got to hang out and check out the space. Gotham is a large open space with the ability to adjust how far away the targets are. For newbies like my group, that is pretty close but for the more advanced people, they could be MUCH further away. There were two guys who were shooting the length of the building but my favorite pair was the mother and son practicing together. His mom was good and he was talking about wanting to be like Katniss Everdeen and shoot a traditional bow…which I just loved. The little boy wanting to be the female hero is a win in my book.

Gotham Archery -Frank

On this rainy Saturday at 2pm, there were 14 of us in the intro class, most in pairs and then one large group of 6. We were broken up into 2 groups, our group of pairs went with Frank.  He went over the basics of stance, of lane etiquette and how to stay safe on the archery range. Then it was off to get fitted for quivers, arm guards and finally, our bows.

 

all bows

 

There are two different types– the Olympic style “Recurve” and the “Compound” bow. The tall guys in the group had to use the “Recurve” but everyone else got to choose.  Everyone chose the fancy compound bow, but just like the little boy earlier, I wanted the traditional bow. I mean, if it is good enough for Katniss and Olympians, that is the one I want.

Gotham Archery -say what

The class is filled with a huge variety of skill level… from those who’ve never picked up a bow to those who had a LOT of experience.  There were 2 guys in our group who were really experienced with shooting and were annoyed at having to listen to all of Frank’s awesome tips and guidance before actually firing an arrow but for the rest of us, it was exactly what we needed.  After a half hour of instruction and set up, we were off.

mags prep

 

For the next hour, we practiced trying to hit the bullseye. Frank said our goal was less the bullseye than to be able to group the arrows we did shoot. Eric, though, was a natural and could from the very beginning group his shots. I was bad at that part but towards the end got much more consistent! Improvement, is the goal always… but in the finally knockout round game, I was out immediately.

mags side

Best random Saturday adventure that I’ve had in a long time – I can’t wait to go back and shoot again…

But really, my favorite part of shooting at Gotham Archery? It made me feel like a total bad ass.

mags full aiming

Photos by Eric Stafford, Stafford Sports Media for FBS

Brooklyn Bodyburn’s Second Location: The Sweaty New Fitness Destination

It’s not exactly like I’ve been avoiding going to check out Brooklyn Bodyburn but until it opened in Cobble Hill last week, I’d never made it to a class. The original studio opened in Williamsburg last year to rave reviews but it was a pain to get to from my part of Brooklyn. However, the new studio is super convenient and finally, all of my excuses for not getting my butt over to check out Tracy Carlinksy’s studio flew out of the window.

1

The studio is a Lagree Fitness™studio and Tracy was quick to point out that this was NOT a Pilates class…which, I appreciated. The new Cobble Hill studio is equipped with the very latest version of the machine, the M3S, which is the newest, extra large souped-up version of the Megaformer.

2

For the opening weekend, the new studio hosted a special Lululemon and friends Bodyburn class. The basics of the workout is that the movements are slow but the transitions are fast and as Tracy went over the M3S at the beginning of class, I could already tell this class was going to be a lot more challenging than I had anticipated –there were a lot of moving parts to contend with!

4

I have a bunch of friends who’ve been raving about it and I finally get why. 10 minutes into this class, my muscles were shaking and I was dripping in sweat. Our crew was filled with fitness fiends – CrossFitters, Dancers, Barre addicts and Triathletes and not one of us had an easy time with this one… which was slightly comforting, considering I was dying. Tracy’s cues were spot-on and she gave a lot of hands-on corrections that were really helpful – especially for a class filled with people who had almost no experience on the Megaformers.

3

The machine is made up of a large main platform that is spring loaded with two stationary platforms on either end to change how you balance on your weight while making the carriage move. The biggest surprise for me given my experience on the traditional Pilates Reformer, is that on the Megaformer there weren’t any moves where you are on your back – at several points during the class this was a fact that made me very sad. There were planks, pikes and pushups – sometimes with your hand on the stationary platforms, sometimes with your hands out on the moving carriage.

6

The twisting pikes were my favorite – awesome and super challenging but I could see getting good at them. The series that made me want to cry, though, was the leg section in the middle. Occasionally, the lunges would be done with the front foot planted on the solid platform and the back foot pushing out the moving carriage to pulse. Then, we ran to the back of the machine so that our front foot was the one pushing out to pulse.

9

In both positions, Tracy ran around grabbing our knees to make sure that they were held in the right position and didn’t launch over our toes, which would be a recipe for knee disaster. She was a stickler for form, which I love… but occasionally, as she held my knee, I really wanted to burst out crying because it was so damn hard. At one point, I had to hop off my machine and grab a towel since I thought I was going to slide off the platform because I was so very, very sweaty.  Note to self: next time, grab the towel before heading to the machine!

7

The following day, sitting was comically painful. I don’t think I’ve gotten my ass handed to me that badly in a long time… I can’t wait to go back.

 

photos by Eric Stafford, Stafford Sports Media for FBS