Nike’s #UnleashSpeed With The Brick NYC Crew

Last week, Will Lanier sent out an announcement that he would be leading one of the special #UnleashSpeed events that Nike NYC was throwing for the lead-up to the SuperBowl. I didn’t even finish reading the email before sending in my RSVP to what I knew was going to be a ridiculously fun event. NikeTown on 57th has turned their roof space into a tented astroturf playground of fitness fanatics dreams and then turned it over to some of the best trainers in the city to have fun with…

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Since weekend trains from Brooklyn can be a dicey prospect, I left myself plenty of time to get there and ended up arriving so early that I was the very first person up to the roof. Even though it was a 14 degree day, inside the tent it was not nearly as cold as I thought it would be. The Brick team – Will, Erica and Sherry, were all going over the plan for the day so while they were busy with that, I got a few minutes to take in what fun was being set up for us. There were rowers, kettlebells, battle ropes and agility ladders but the thing I was most excited to see was the tire & sledgehammers. I’d heard they were going to be a part of the event but until I actually saw them, I hadn’t really believed it.  As people –mostly the Brick New York crew – started pouring in, the energy began to rise. Everyone knew this was going to be fun and from the second they entered, the energy in the tent was palpable.

UnleashSpeed OverviewUp on stage, Will put on a microphone and put us through a warm up before breaking down the workout ahead of us. It sounded like Brick’s class with some extra bits of awesomeness thrown in and I knew from the get-go this was going to be amazing. HARD but amazing. The 5 stations that had been set up for us mostly had 4 different moves that we would be doing over the course of two rounds. Erica and Sherry, two of Brick’s awesome coaches, showed us what each move should look like at the 5 different stations as he described them. Then, we were divided into groups.

UnleashSpeed Tire Flipping I lucked out…my first station was the Tire Station and I was giddy. First up was flipping a tire, then hopping through it to the other side where my partner then flipped it the other way. I loved flipping the tire but hopping through it was hard! Every minute Will would call out that we had to move, so after one minute, we were on to whacking another tire with a sledgehammer – with each person taking turns hitting it. There is nothing about that station that wasn’t fun.  I mean really, how often do you get to flip a tire or wield a sledgehammer on a rooftop in NYC?

UnleashSpeed Rowing and Plates The next station flew by, then it was off to a rowing/evil station combo. Will had actually told us it was evil before the rounds even started and he didn’t lie. 3 from my group grabbed the rowers, so 2 of us ended up doing the evil part – 6 lunges with a 25lb plate held over our heads and 6 Squat jumps clutching the plate to our chests followed by 6 weighted sit-ups. I had a deep fear that I was going to drop the plate at any second.  At that station, we stayed put and did all 3 minutes where we started. It really was evil.  But Will and crew shouted encouragement at us and kept us going.

Then, it was off to the Battle Ropes, Squats, Box Jumps and Burpee Station. Ugh. The Box Jump Burpee combo always seems so mean but I was glad to be forced to do it the first round so that by the next round, I would have the Battle Rope fun to look forward to.  The final station was the Agility Station, which is really never my strong suit, but I’m working on getting better! Will, Erica and Sherry constantly made the rounds, correcting form, giving encouragement and being the supportive and amazing coaches that they always are.

Round 2 just flew by and as we went through the stations, we bonded over the awesomeness of the experience and the camaraderie from challenging ourselves. We cheered and high-fived when all the rounds were over – knowing we were part of something special in the playground Nike had created in the heart of the city!

UnleashSpeed Brick Crew

 

Photos by Nike NYC

Training For Warriors at Body Space Fitness With Kelvin Gary & The Fierce Fitness Crew

Body Space Fitness1 Recently, I got the chance to check out Body Space Fitness when they offered a few free trial classes for their upcoming “Training for Warriors” program.  This training gym, which offers a few weekly small group classes but is mostly used for personal training, is one of the coolest gyms I’ve seen. It includes a couple of my favorite fun gym tools – the Prowler and battling ropes, but the coolest thing is the fact that half the space is covered in Astroturf, which is just awesome and practical.

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“Training for Warriors” is a training system developed by expert sports coach Martin Rooney “from his numerous years of experience working with combat and team sports athletes.” It is a system designed to take you through metabolic challenges and strength work to teach athletes cutting edge techniques to keep them at their best. Body Space Fitness is getting ready to start an intensive, 8-week small group program for TFW that will meet 3 times per week.

The first class trial I went to, taught by founder of Body Space Fitness Kelvin Gary, I dragged Julia from FitJourney with me. We had such a ridiculously good time that we arranged to bring a fierce fitness crew to check out BSF the following weekend. It was just too good not to share. So on Saturday, we went there with Holly Rilinger, SinWorkouts and Jolene, which made for a ridiculously kickass group. Kelvin had us all start out with foam rollers since we had all come from other workouts, while he told us about the TFW workout.

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We started out with some dynamic stretching and a brief warm-up before moving into the workout. This class was slightly different from the first one and included 6 stations that we rotated through three times. It included the Prowler- which I always love to push around, battling ropes, TRX back rows, an agility speed work ladder, and this awesome but ridiculously hard plank move with sandbag pull-through. We did 40 seconds of work, with 30 seconds to rest/rotate to the next session. It was one of those awesome crews were everyone is really focused but also super supportive so there was a lot of hooting, hollering and high-fives. Does it get better than that when you are getting your ass kicked? For the final section we finished with a round of sprints on the treadmill, medicine ball twists and bicep curl/shoulder presses. The class FLEW by and by the end I was wiped out but seriously happy to have gotten to workout with such a fierce crew.

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Kelvin was awesome, just like in my first class with him, motivating everyone and keeping an eagle eye on form at each station.  His passion about training and about making sure that people are getting the most out of their session with him is always evident. Body Space Fitness is his vision and he is dedicated to keeping the classes small so that people get that kind of personal attention in any class that happens there. In a training group where you are being challenged like in TFW, that is huge. I can’t even imagine the amazing results people are going to get from 8 weeks of the Training for Warriors challenge…but I can’t wait to see!

Photos and video by Eric Stafford, Stafford Sports Media

Lacey Stone’s Extreme Bootcamp! App Launch Celebration

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Whenever there is a chance to workout with Lacey Stone, I will pretty much drop everything and be there. So when I got the invite from Well & Good about attending the launch party for Lacey’s “Extreme Bootcamp!” app recently, there was never any question that I would go.

The event to celebrate her app was held at the Appcession Studios. Twenty of us showed up at the beautiful open studio to get our workout on with Lacey before the party portion of the night! One of the cool portions of the evening was that while we were there, we could download the workouts for free. I managed to download all of them but one! Sweet! I’ve been dying to try out her workouts when in a pinch and looking for a workout that I can do when I am not in NYC!

LS 10 FBS Awesomely, one of my favorite workout partners in crime, SinWorkouts, was there too, so we made our way to the front and got ready to sweat it out with Lacey. The workout was based on the new app, which is a combination of her extremely popular “Booty Camp” and the “Big Game” class she developed while at Equinox. For that evening’s workout, Lacey was dividing it into 4 quarters, just like in a game. Her inner basketball player was out in full force. On the app, every move is broken down into stages from beginner to extreme – and for the launch we did each level.

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Of course Sin and I were having a wildly good time up in the front having our asses handed to us by Lacey, sweat pouring off of us and huge grins plastered on our faces. There wasn’t anywhere else I would have wanted to be.  After what seemed like endless rounds, when we finally got to the move I’d seen in previews and just shook my head at the extreme version of the “star jump” – I did actually for a brief moment think oh HELL no…. but it turned out to be an actually fun move. It is basically a squat jump where at the top of the move, you slap your thighs when you are off the ground – I truly thought it was a move that was just not going to happen but I actually managed it ok and even liked the damn thing!

LS 4 FBSIn the third quarter, we had a push-up contest, where Lacey warned us she would tap us out if our form sagged and that knees weren’t allowed. I lasted till almost the end, and didn’t get tapped out (which I was proud of) but really, at a certain point, I knew Sin and Neda from Fitist were going to win so I bowed out before my arms gave out and I face planted! That last quarter was a blur because I was so tired. It was one of those workouts were you are so whipped that you are practically giddy.  To me, that is the sign of a great instructor. Someone who can kick your ass and still leave you smiling.  After the team circle at the end that ended on a cheer of “TOGETHER!”, Lacey popped a bottle of champagne and we started the party….

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Photos by Eric Stafford, Stafford Sports Media

Training at Niketown: Holly Rilinger and the Nike Training Club

NTC Holly RilingerOn Sunday morning, I woke up ridiculously early to make it to the final Nike Training Club Session with Nike Master Trainer, Holly Rilinger,  a series of 3 special NTC classes held inside Niketown on 57th Street.  I was bound and determined to make it to at least one.  The NTC sessions are held inside the sports mecca before it opens and getting to go into this fitness addict’s version of FAO Schwartz while it was empty really was amazing.

Making my way up to the 3rd floor where the shoe department had been cleared out to make way for the class, I started to get really excited about what Holly had planned for us. Out of the 20 or so people there, I only knew a handful but they quickly gave me the lowdown on what to expect.  Holly’s NTC sessions where obviously based on the Nike Women’s fitness app but also on her own popular bootcamps where she gives a joyful, high-spirited team take on the minute intervals.

Agility Drill with Holly Rilinger

Holly kicked off the workout with everyone in a circle pounding on the ground with a “GO team” yell to get everyone out of their sleepy Sunday morning state and kicked up the energy of the room. It certainly woke me up! Then the large group was split into two, with Holly planted in the middle and everyone facing into her.  We quickly launched into a dynamic movement warmup – lots of fast feet (our go to between any exercise), high knees, butt kicks and a move she called the “backup dancer”, which I hadn’t had nearly enough coffee to actually perform. It’s funny, I normally feel like store classes are easy versions of any workout, but this one wasn’t even a tiny bit easy from the moment it started. We did minute intervals of burpees, squats, jumping lunges, v-ups, Frogs (these moves that were just an evil variation of a burpee), jumping jacks, pushups, speed skaters and situps. Holly, of course, included some agility drills too– which I was terrible at but loved. Those drills and all the classic bootcamp moves, combined with Holly’s infectious joy and determination, made for a really hard but wildly fun workout.

Someone once told me “If you stop when there is less then a minute left, it is your mind that gave up, not your body” – so minute interval based workouts destroy me, since I kill myself to keep going. Of course, Holly is also so ridiculously motivating that I can’t ever imagine quitting on anything she asks me to do in a workout. By the time we gathered for our final team circle, I was wiped out and blissfully happy. I couldn’t ask for anything more.

I am so glad I made it to the final one of 2012!  I will definitely be keeping an eye out for Holly’s Nike Training Club sessions in 2013….

Photos and Video by Eric Stafford, Stafford Sports Media

Live Young, Get Fit Event with Jackie Warner & evian water

On Saturday, evian water sponsored an event as part of their “Live Young, Get Fit” campaign that brought Jackie Warner to NYC as part of a multi-city tour. From the moment I heard she was going to be in town leading a workout, I knew I had to go. What can I say? I loved her show on Bravo “Workout” and had seen her kick a lot of people’s asses in the gym and wanted to experience it first hand.

I was so excited about getting the chance to ask Jackie a few questions before the main event so I left really early to get there in time to meet with her before everyone else started to show up.  I arrived at South Street Seaport with plenty of time, settled onto one of the decks and just took in the amazing view of Brooklyn across the river. I never get down there so getting the chance to chill, to just marvel in the view before the hustle of being at the event, was a treat.

It was really interesting to get a chance to talk to Jackie Warner one on one about her 15 years of experience and the process of putting together the home based workouts that she teaches in her books and in her online platform Jackiewarner.com. Apparently, over the years, she has compiled a notebook of over a 1000 different exercise to pull from, which makes it easy for her to put together her effective home programs. I have to say, I would LOVE to see that masterlog of exercises that she has collect over her time working with different trainers and owning two separate gyms! Since classes are really my focus though, I asked Jackie about what kind of classes she recommends for people.

Jackie: “ No doubt about it, Barry’s Bootcamp – because Barry’s Bootcamp involves high intensity interval training with resistance training. If someone likes classes and they really want to lose weight, want to do it quickly, I ALWAYS put them on Barry’s Bootcamp. I believe it is a very sound program.”

Before I let her go though, I had to find out why she is so anti the modified pushup because after watching the first of the evian water events stream, that was the one thing I was really curious about. Her answer was pretty straightforward.  The pushup is about core strength and she would rather you do 5 regular ones than 20 modified ones to gain strength in your core. Interestingly, you are supposed to round your back slightly so that your core engages. Pretty sure I never do that normally but I certainly tried to when I finally got out the workout!

After my quick chat with Jackie, I join everyone else who had begun to show up for the day’s awesome event. It was such a kickass crew of people who where there and it was so fun to catch up with so many fitness friends. I swear, NYC has such an inspiring group of workout fanatics! The outdoor event was held in the sand at the beer garden and I had assumed that there would be mats on top of that. So I  was sort of surprised that there weren’t any mats out when I arrived but really, it hardly even mattered.  We were there to workout with Jackie. A little sand never killed anyone. Jackie, on the other hand, once she took the stage, was a little more blunt about it “Wait, there are no mats for them? Oh, you are going to get so dirty and you are going to HATE me. The first set called “The 300″, is 10 push ups, 20 situps and 10 squats, NOW GO!!” It was after that first set that we all knew just exactly how dirty were where going to get and we just had to go with it and have fun – at least that is what SINworkouts and I tried to do. We were distinctly the rowdy girls of the group, hooting and hollering and just having fun.

The workout was basically sets comprised of two different but complimenting movements, done twice. Jackie would explain & demonstrate the movement, then watch us as we did it – which made for a stop and go feeling in the class. SIN and I had way too much fun trying to sync our movements, though, and more than a few times, Jackie shot us a comical look. I don’t think she knew what to do with two people who were having so much fun while still doing the exercises. I think she is used to people looking like she is trying to kill them! Jackie’s style of instructing is very serious and really, there is a portion of the workout that felt more like a group personal training session than a group class – which isn’t a bad thing at all,  just different.

The workout was, at its core, a bootcamp style workout, which I always like. Working out in the sand was HARD though and it made a lot of the exercises and combos feel much harder than they should have. I seriously felt that workout the next day!  By the end, we were all really sweaty and the sand was plastered to our backs, arms and legs – we were also starting to dig little trenches around ourselves, turning up weird things in the sand – drinking straws, bottle caps, even a lemon at one point – but by the time that happened, it all just seemed funny. It was a great, challenging workout and I loved getting to finally workout with Jackie Warner, even if it was more than a little dirty!

After the workout, there was a Q&A with Jackie where she answered the audience questions about working out, food choices and supplements. A  couple of interesting facts came up – if you drink 3 liters of water a day, you burn 33% more calories a day (good to know!) and Jackie works out 6 times a week with one day of active rest. I wasn’t taking notes, though, because at that point, I was just sitting in the sand basking in the sun that had finally come out and had just completed a great workout!  Although, I do know no one asked my final question in the one on one: “what is your drink of choice?” Jackie’s answer, by the way, is a “Grey Goose Dirty Martini”.  So, if you see her out, you now know what to order! You can’t be healthy ALL of the time…

Photos taken by Eric C Stafford for the FBS blog.

AS 1: Tabata is not my friend.

Part of my kick-off-the-year-right plan was that I scheduled as many classes that I was excited about as possible around New Year’s Day. This might have been a slightly over-ambitious plan since it included 3 spin classes with my favorites at Flywheel (Jesse, Alison, and of course, Holly), a new barre class and THEN rounding it out at As 1 on Tuesday night with a session taught by George Vafiades.  I LOVE As 1 – I think it is one of the best workouts in the city but, admittedly, after all of those classes, I was a little nervous walking in on Tuesday night. I know how tough a class can be and I was just getting over the sore from the Flybarre and Flywheeling adventures that I rang in the New Year with.

This class was packed for the small As 1 space, although, everyone got sorted into their own corner of the mat quickly.  While George got all of the stragglers situated into their spots (myself included – damn MTA), Lisa, another trainer there, led the warm up. She also teaches a yoga class at As 1 on Saturdays, and it was interesting that some of the standard warm up moves actually did feel more yoga-like when she was teaching them. Then, George took over, telling us with a mischievous glint in his eye, that I now know means trouble, that we were going to be doing a “Tabata” workout.  Turns out that Tabata is basically a workout where you go full-out for 20 seconds and then rest for 10, for a total of 4 minutes per round. It is high intensity training at its most extreme – which I love.

There were 4 minute rounds of weighted squats, burpees, back rows and dead lifts. The ‘easiest’ round was one that alternated between push-ups and sit-ups – since it was the only round that by the end didn’t make me feel like just falling over. It is truly amazing how LONG four minutes can seem! The worst was easily the 8 minute alternating split squat section (4 minutes per side, apparently) – which left me really shaky by the end! The 4-minute rounds didn’t end at that point but we moved onto the props section – box jumps, jump ropes, wind bikes, stair running and my favorite thing of all time, the ropes! I LOVE whacking those ropes on the ground…I know I’ve said this before…but it really is just the best sound and was the only round I wished was longer! We ended the Tabata with another 4 minutes of burpees and by the end, mine were vaguely pathetic but I did them and didn’t fall over – a win in my book! Class always ends with some foam rollering, which I think makes all the difference. My legs are sore but not ‘whimpering-sitting-down’ sore, like they should have been with that many split squats!

The class flew by. I am always amazed at As 1, how a class so challenging can seem to go by in the blink of an eye. I love being pushed like that and challenged to do more.  George is so good at assessing everyone and keeping an impressive eye on everyone’s form. You know you are in really good hands while you are being challenged to do more and work harder then you ever thought you could.

(Top image: Internet goodness, Bottom image: George at the rope station from As 1’s Facebook page)