Someday you might have to punch a bear (or why boxing is a good skill to have)

This morning in my mailbox was the story of a Former U.S. ski team member attacked by bear who survived because she punched the bear in the face. It was accompanied by a note from my best friend that said ” I just thought you’d appreciate that her fitness, common sense and her total studness of a boxing move got her out of this situation!”

Due to one of those random lifebooker/groupon/buywithme deals, earlier this year I got to go to a straight up boxing gym. I worked on my jab, right hook, combinations, and hand speed with a former Golden Gloves finalist, Carlos. I loved every minute of those 90 minute classes at the Tribeca Sports Center. When people were horrified by this new activity, I always replied “It is an amazing workout AND it prepares you if anything crazy ever happens!” See people? If a black bear attacks I am prepared!

I really do have to get back to Carlos soon to work on that jab…


I love Lululemon’s free classes that they offer at all of their locations. In the best cases you find teachers you LOVE and can seek out again, and in the worst cases you spend an hour with a teacher you never, ever want to take again.  The worst cases are still pretty good though, since Lulu uses teachers that someone there has taken and loves. So even if they aren’t your cup of tea, they are almost always pretty solid. OH and yeah, they are FREE. At least during a free bad class I am not spending my whole time being pissed about the money I spent to try someone out. Which leads to this: I hated today’s class at Lululemon Brooklyn.

The Shala Yoga House opened a new yoga studio in Brooklyn, but it is really pricey. It is an offshoot of a beloved Manhattan studio that I had been hearing raves about for years.  So when I heard about the free Ashtanga class lead by Shala BK today at Lulu, I knew I had to go. I love a hard, challenging yoga class and Ashtanga classes always fit that bill, but I knew I was in trouble from the moment this class started. I am not very chant-y. A couple of ohms is totally fine, but much more then that I am just not into. At the very start of this class we were told we were going to start with ohms and a “Call and Response”, all I could think was damn. That Call and Response thing? A Long Sanskrit chant that went on forever. Then when we finally moved into the poses, she did them all with their “proper” names. Ugh. I really don’t do enough yoga to know what a chair pose is, unless you actually say chair pose. Sorry. I am just not yoga cool like that. I hate the wholier-then-thou vibe of thinking that anyone who doesn’t know the proper name just isn’t yogi enough. Luckily, we did every sequence 5 times so I was only clueless for the first pass. The good part though was she did some great really physical corrections – I love having my hips pushed down during downward dog and then in shoulder stand she pulled up my feet allowing me to get into a deeper expression of it then I have ever managed before. So great but then there was more chanting. So MUCH Chanting. Seriously, how do you chant that much in only an hour?? It was a good hard class just not remotely for me. I can see why people love this style of teaching, it makes you feel like a part of something special, however it makes me feel like banging my head against the floor.

After, I meet up with the fella and we went out for a seriously amazing, fresh and cheap burrito! I would have chanted for THAT.  Thankfully, I didn’t have to.

The Holly Experience

For the last year or so it seemed liked everyone I knew was mentioning Holly Rilinger. It always seemed to be in that “I am letting you in on a little secret” sort of way. Geeze, even my fella was like “oh you know about Holly?” since apparently in the NY Jujitsu circles she is whispered about. Not too long ago there was even talk about her going to Biggest Loser (given the news about Jillian Michael’s recent investment in Flywheel, it seems like that might be the basis of this bit of gossip) that was sort of the straw that broke the camels back so to speak – I knew that I had to check out what the hell was going on in that class.  I never seem to have the money to go to Flywheel but when I DO get to go I always go to Kate’s class (she is also awesome, btw) so when the amazing site FITiST offered me a free class of my choosing I just had to see what all the fuss was about Holly. It seemed like a sign.

I love Flywheel. It really is my absolute favorite workout place, if I suddenly won the lottery, it would be where I would go everyday. But sadly the lottery hasn’t happened yet, so I don’t get to go very often.  So Monday’s 9:30am class with Holly was a treat, a free, joyful treat.

When I go to Flywheel classes, I like to be in the second row but right in front of the instructor. Weird but I like being accountable – I like being in eye site of the person kicking my ass. The slight bummer of this experience is that there was a hiccup with the booking of the class and I ended up on a bike in the corner under the monitors. Ugh. It was so irksome but it happens and I settled into my sideline bike and prepared to have Holly’s class not live up to the hype. As I set up my bike I realized Jimmy Fallon was on the bike behind me, so I guess the sideline corner bike has some perks for noisiness!

The class itself was really all it was cracked up to be. It was hands down the most inspiring, hard indoor cycling class I have ever been too. Holly is passionate, joyful, challenging, and ridiculously ripped. I wanted to keep up. I wanted to do her proud. I wanted to have arms like her. Damn people. When they talk about “celebrity trainers” they need to be talking about Holly. She should be snapped up by someone for the big leagues, but until she is, even my super broke self walked out of the class and tried to figure out how to budget in a class with Holly at least once a month.

Holly has a great site which I have been pouring over of course. Now if I can only figure out how to try her boot camp class…..

photo: Copyright © 2011 Holly Rilinger