Let me just start by saying that fitness is not my middle name, but I went on a run yesterday, so as per the rules of Instagram, I’m now a fitness influencer. I’m also in quarantine (like the rest of the world) and my couch is starting to form a dent the size of my ass, so it looks like it’s time to work out. When researching “how to work out” I instantly thought of Kourtney Kardashian, who, in case you didn’t know, is by far the most exciting Kardashian to look at. Kourtney’s trainer, Amanda Lee, shared the HIIT routine that she does with the reality star on Poosh, and for some reason, I thought that it would be a great idea to try it. I don’t know why I do this to myself. Honestly, Hell must have frozen over, because I am about to wear a sports bra and leggings for their actual intended purposes. I know, I can’t believe it either. I’m really happy that I did that sit-up last year, I feel like it has totally prepared me for this moment. So, for my health and your entertainment, I present to you, my experience doing Kourtney Kardashian’s HIIT workout.
What’s A HIIT Workout?
I’m pretty sure they call it a HIIT workout because when you’re done, you’re ready to hit the floor, and never get up again. While I prefer my definition, apparently HIIT actually stands for high-intensity interval training. It’s a full-body cardio workout that alternates between intense bursts of activity and intervals of less-intense activity or total rest. HIIT workouts have become widely popular during this time of social distancing and sheltering in place, because they are efficient, effective, and don’t require any equipment. So, there is literally no excuse not to do it—sorry.
My typical exercise regimen normally includes long walks on the beach—wait no, sorry that’s my dating profile. My workouts generally entail a lot of walks with my dog, yoga, spontaneous dance parties, high incline on the treadmill, and the occasional sit-up when I can’t reach the remote. I’ve never really been a gym rat; I’d say I’m more like Pizza Rat. I’ve always preferred to get my exercise through sports like soccer, dance, snowboarding, etc. However, now that we are all staying indoors, those activities are limited, so I’m branching out. Wish me luck.
Kourtney Kardashian’s HIIT Workout
Kourt’s routine takes roughly 15 minutes to complete (depending on your resting time) and is made up of four different sequences. According to her trainer, Amanda Lee, this HIIT workout is great for someone who is super into cardio. I don’t know who that person is, but I can already tell that I don’t want to be friends with them. Now, without further ado, here is the workout. I’m already sweating just reading this.
⭐︎ Jump Squat into Jumping Lunges
⭐︎ Mountain Climber with Push-up
⭐︎ Burpee + 180 Squat Jump
⭐︎ Jumping Jack into Jumping Jack Plank
*Repeat entire circuit three times*
Move 1: Jump Squat Into Jumping Lunges
Amanda Lee’s directions (via Poosh):
“Start with jump squats. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Do a regular squat, then jump explosively. When you land, lower your body back into a squat position. After three reps, immediately begin to perform three jumping lunges. Start with your feet staggered, your left foot slightly in front of your right. Push off the bottom of both feet into a jump, switching the position of your feet midair, landing in a basic lunge with your right leg in front. Repeat this movement without rest, alternating which leg is front. Then go back to the three jump squats. Repeat for 30 seconds.” See the video here.
Okay, move one. I’m stretched, enthusiastic, and ready to build a butt with a round of squats. After the first rep I can say with confidence that I am not a huge fan of the jump squats. There’s nothing wrong with them per se, I just don’t like them. They feel super awkward with my baby giraffe-like legs, but hey, that’s just me. I am happy to report, however, that I’m enjoying the jumping lunges! I feel as if I have more control and am able to maintain a tighter core while switching my legs back and forth. I wouldn’t say that the 30 seconds flew by, but it wasn’t too horrible, which is a pretty damn good start in my opinion!
Move 2: Mountain Climber With Push-up
Amanda Lee’s directions (via Poosh):
“Start in a push-up position with your arms straight and your body in a straight line. Raise your right knee toward your chest, then switch legs, raising your left knee toward your chest. Continue for four reps and then bend your arms while lowering yourself down to perform a push-up. Repeat for 30 seconds.” See the video here.
I am actually in favor of mountain climbers, so this part wasn’t overly painful. The push-ups, however, I’ll just say “ugh”. To everyone who kept tagging me in push-up challenges on Instagram, I hope you’re happy now. Luckily there was only one push-up per rep, so I guess I could quit my complaining. I mean I won’t, but I suppose I could. Again, the 30 seconds, wasn’t so bad. In fact, it was almost downright bearable!
Move 3: Burpee + 180 Squat Jump
Amanda Lee’s directions (via Poosh):
“Squat down and put your hands on the floor in front of you. Jump both feet back so that you’re now in a plank position. Then jump your feet back in towards your hands. When you are back to standing, explosively jump into the air, reaching your arms straight overhead. From there, land into a squat position and perform a 180-degree turn jump squat. Perform another burpee facing the opposite direction. Repeat for 30 seconds.” See the video here.
I prefer to call these barfees, because that’s what I want to do right about now. This was by far the absolute worst part of Kourtney Kardashian’s HIIT workout. This is also about the time where I turned into The Little Engine That Could and kept chanting, “I think I can, I think I can” until I literally couldn’t anymore. This move was definitely successful in being a high-intensity workout as advertised, so kudos there. I was for sure feeling the “benefits” of this maneuver the next day, and I am sincerely happy that this part is over now.
Move 4: Jumping Jack Into Jumping Jack Plank
Amanda Lee’s directions (via Poosh):
“Start with 10 jumping jacks, then drop down into a plank position. Like the motion of a jumping jack, jump your legs wide and then back together. Repeat for 10 reps. Stand up and continue with 10 jumping jacks. Repeat for 30 seconds.” See the video here.
Disclaimer: I did play The Rolling Stones’ “Jumpin Jack Flash” in order to properly prepare for this last exercise, so yeah, I’d say that I’m nailing this whole “working out” thing. Move four was, dare I say, kind of fun? Crazy, I know. The great thing about this final move is that you really don’t have to be a fitness aficionado to master it. Jumping jacks are fairly standard and pretty freaking hard to screw up, so it was right up my alley. While going from an upright position down to a plank gave me unsettling flashbacks of burpees, I enjoyed feeling like a fitness influencer for 30 seconds.
Holy sh*t am I sore! It all sounded so easy: about a 15-minute workout, four moves, no problem. Wrong. Problem, I am having a problem, and it’s the fact that I just now realized how woefully out of shape I am. I did weigh myself the next day, and oddly enough I didn’t lose 20 pounds after doing Kourtney Kardashian’s HIIT workout one time. Yeah, I know, I don’t get it either. But I do feel accomplished, and as far as workouts go, this one wasn’t that bad, which is truly high praise from me. It was familiar moves, zero equipment, and it definitely got my heart rate going.
My biggest piece of advice for anyone wanting to give this routine a try is to stretch beforehand! That probably goes without saying to all the fitness enthusiasts out there, but I’m saying it anyway. Seriously, stretch before attempting, and hopefully you’ll be able to bend down to tie your shoes the next day, unlike me. All in all, I would do this again. Maybe not this week, but once I regain the feeling in my legs I would absolutely do it again sometime in the near, or probably distant future.
I did it, I survived, and all I have left to say is ABCDEFG.
Images: Mora Gluskin (2)
Also known as high-intensity interval training, HIIT classes involve lots of sweating, heavy breathing, and typically burpees. As the name implies, they are structured in intervals of high-intensity workouts. Typically, you push yourself to the maximum for 20 to 90 seconds before taking a short break and doing it all again. Due to the intensity of the workout (say “intensity” again), you can burn up to 900 calories in an hour. The harder you work, the more you’ll burn. Either way, you’ll for sure need a shower and nap after this workout.
If you want a major confidence boost, take up kickboxing. This high-intensity workout will test your balance, endurance, strength, coordination, and flexibility. Not to mention, you’ll feel like a total badass when you master a mean uppercut. A 155-pound woman could burn around 740 calories in an hour of kickboxing class. Speaking from experience, you’ll work legit every muscle in your body, and I can guarantee you’ll be so sore the next day. Have fun walking upstairs!
Personally, cycling is my favorite workout. The high energy and fun music makes me forget about how much the instructor is kicking my ass. According to this calculator, you could burn 637 calories for a one-hour spin class working at mid-intensity (which means that you could still have a conversation). Personally, I can barely breathe midway through a spin class, let alone have a conversation, but sure.
Say what you want about the people who swear by it, but this workout is no joke, and you’re able to burn almost 800 calories in an hour (so I guess those bros are doing something right). It’s a high-intensity, constantly changing workout that involves exercises like push-ups, pull-ups, and squats. Honestly, I don’t feel like I need to explain it further—if you want to know more just go up to the nearest person you know who does CrossFit and breathe in their direction and they’ll tell you all about it.
This workout may be hard, but it is never boring. It combines a variety of different exercises to work different muscle groups that you move through with a short or no break in between. Your heart will be racing basically as soon as you start. In a one-hour class (or workout you do yourself, which I’m v impressed you are motivated to do), you could burn up to 547 calories.
Well for starters, it’s hot, which some people hate but I personally love. You sweat balls, which always makes me feel like I’m working 10 times harder that I probably am. The heat also helps you release toxins and loosens your muscles so you can have a deeper stretch. For an hour hot yoga session, you could burn up to 500 calories. You can also improve flexibility and reduce stress.
I don’t think I’ve ever left a barre class when my legs don’t feel like Jell-O. Even though I danced ridiculous hours as a child, these classes are very hard. In case you missed the trend, barre is a combination of ballet, yoga, and pilates poses and exercises to work muscles you never even knew you had (or at least, that’s the case for myself). You can burn more than 400 calories in an hour class and tone your muscles. These ballet-inspired classes will make you feel like a classy ballerina.
Sometimes there’s not enough time, or motivation, in the day to get to the gym. And sometimes, we simply don’t have the funds for a membership (or you’d rather spend what little money you have on food or alcohol…no judgment). But, thanks to the invention of the smartphone, you don’t have to actually step foot in a gym to get your workout in. There are a lot of good fitness apps that require a paid subscription, but I’m going to go ahead and jump to the conclusion that if you don’t want to spend $10 a month to go to Planet Fitness or wherever, you probably also don’t want to spend money for an app, either. That’s why I picked out my top five favorite free fitness apps to download and get sweating to. (I don’t feel bad anymore about seeing 5 + hours at the end of the day on my screen time…I’m working out!) Grab your weights and your cutest pair of leggings, and let’s get started.
1. Workout For Women
This app offers categories of workouts for every muscle in your body, including abs, butt, back, shoulders, arms, and more. The exercises are mostly for your at-home gym sesh, but they do offer a few workout routines for during the day, like “deskercise”, “chair exercises”, and “office stretch”… but please, be low-key if you’re doing them at work. What I love about this app is that they offer plenty of workouts that you can do in only seven minutes. These include 7M Butt, 7M Sweat, and 7M Beginner. I love these guides because I know I can get through seven minutes of work without the thought of “when is this overrrrr??” repeating in my head the entire workout. You can see your progress on a calendar based on your workout history and calories burned. Def recommend.
2. Fitness Challenge
When setting up the app, it will ask you a few questions to help personalize your workouts. It asks for what you think your level is (beginner, intermediate, or pro) and how many sessions a week you want to work out (2, 3, or 4). It then asks you for your goal, whether that be to lose weight, stay fit, or gain muscle. This way, the experience will be tailored to you and your body. Fitness Challenge gives you an outline of your workout before starting, so you know what you’re getting into before you begin. It tells you how much time the workout will last, what exactly you’ll be doing, and how many times you’re doing it. It comes with five categories to choose from: full body, sexy legs and butt, abs and flat tummy, bikini body, and skinny toned arms. Count me in.
3. Daily Yoga
If you’re a yogi, this is the app for you, but in addition to yoga, Daily Yoga also incorporates other mainstream workouts. Once signed in, you choose your goal. This app’s options are: start as beginner, stay healthy, lose weight, skill improvement, muscle tone, and stress relief. I LOVE how they named these goals. But Daily Yoga doesn’t only provide workouts—it goes one step further, offering audio and music to guide you through your practices. They have guided meditations, mantras, mindfulness training, and more—all of which you can download straight to your phone. I recommend listening to the music before bed at night for a spa-like relaxation that’ll put you into a deep sleep.
You can sign up for FitOn through FACEBOOK, which is great, because then you don’t have to waste time plugging in personal info and can get moving instead. It does ask a few questions to personalize your experience, though, which I do appreciate. It first asks you about your goal. Are you using the app to lose weight? Reduce stress? For post-natal fitness? I like this app because it doesn’t just give you three basic goal choices; it has a bunch more to offer. After that, it asks for your favorite types of workouts ranging from yoga, to HIIT, and dance. Then, you’re in! If you aren’t ready to work out right away, you can set reminders to do so later on, which I use way too frequently. It gives you a ton of choices, like which trainer you want to take, the target area you want to work on, and trending activities to start. FitOn even gives you a custom-made schedule. You can see all your upcoming workouts and the intensity of each. You can even invite your friends to share your progress, if you’re competitive like that. There is also a section on advice from trainers, ranging from articles to videos that are informational and worth a watch.
5. BetterMe: Walking
If you aren’t into high-intensity workouts or sweating too much, this app is perfect for you. It’s all about walking, and only walking. Walking is the perfect way to burn off calories and reduce stress. I think walking is one of the most important workouts—especially walking outside. Obvs if it’s crazy weather, just hop on the treadmill, NBD. The app goes by days, so they have a list of workouts designed for you each day to complete. You can walk for meditation, renewal, midlife women, stress, or for burning off the cheese pizza you had for dinner last night, which I like to do. (Okay, so that last option I made up.) All totally great. It also tracks your steps and calories burned, if you’re over your iPhone health app after the latest update, which most of us are.
There are so many other free fitness apps you can check out, but these ones offer a good range of services that everyone can enjoy and are easy to use. These are the perfect start to get motivated and move throughout your week. You can use them in your living room, at your office, outside walking your pup, or even in class (def be cautious though…). Hope these apps help you and guide you to achieve your goals.
Images: Dane Wetton / Unsplash; Workout For Women; Fitness Challenge; Daily Yoga; FitOn; BetterMe: Walking
You know how you don’t really like cupcakes that much, until they’re in your office and free? (Okay, maybe that was a bad example because everybody loves cupcakes, but you know what I mean.) That’s because it’s basically a scientific fact that things are significantly better when they don’t cost money. Another prime example of this phenomenon in action is workout classes, which, if you live in New York, usually cost the equivalent of a human soul, so finding any kind of deal that offers free workout classes is better than your f*ck buddy telling you he’s finally ready to date you. Still waiting that one out, but you get what I mean.
Anyway, even though New York robs us every damn day, sometimes this godforsaken city gives back and offers us free workout classes when we’re new to a studio. So if you want to get swole while you save (I hate myself) then check out these seven workout studios offering very generous new member specials. Yes, I’ve done every single one of these places because I live in the seventh most expensive city in the world on a writer’s salary, so I take what I can get, especially when it comes to free workout classes.
1. GRIT BXNG
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💥 WORKOUTS LIKE YOU’VE NEVER SEEN BEFORE 💥 Push your SPEED.💨 Flaunt your SKILL. 🥊 Empty your TANK. 💦 Bring the ((HUSTLE)) and train with the HOTTEST and the most EXPERIENCED trainers in the world. 🙌💯 Opening August 8th! Your GRIT FAM is waiting… @evanfitness_nyc @angela_gargano || #August2019 #ComingSoon #OwnYourGRIT #UnionSquare
Okay, after I read GRIT’s deal online, I called to make sure it wasn’t a typo because it was that good. Rest assured, it’s not a typo. If you buy the new customer intro offer, for the price of one class, you get a free class, a “bring a friend pass,” a GRIT gym bag, and two free drinks at the GRIT bar. To put that in perspective, one class is $36, so you get all of this swag, a free class and a buddy pass for basically nothing. If you don’t buy this special right the f*ck now, I am judging you.
If you’ve never heard of GRIT, you’re welcome. It’s interval training with three stations: heavy bags, treadmills, and floor exercises. So basically, it’s Barry’s but with boxing. It also has serious night club vibes, so if that sounds like your cup of tea, drink up!
2. Swerve Fitness
Swerve is your basic spin studio, but believe it or not, I don’t mean that in a bad way! One class is $34, but if you buy the new member special, you can get two classes for $40. That’s basically buy one get one free, which sounds like a pretty good deal to me. If I had to compare it to another spin studio, I would say that it’s most similar to FlyWheel, except for the fact that you’re assigned to a team and the teams are racing each other. If that isn’t really your jam, you don’t have to buy into the whole team/race thing and can just ride your bike instead, but if you are Tonya Harding-level competitive (hi neighbor), then you will love this place.
Tbh, I’ve only done the barre classes here, but Exhale is not your average barre class. It’s really f*cking hard and well worth the price. However, if you’re not down to shell out the money you were going to spend on a new fall jacket, you’ll love the new client two-for-one special for $37! As a writer, I was taught to write what I know, so I’m only going to talk about the barre classes, but this place also offers cardio and yoga classes.
The actual workout at Exhale is really great. Thankfully, there are no little inflatable balls that you’re somehow supposed to balance on your joints while tucking, micro-moving, or whatever else you do in other barre classes. The only equipment you use at Exhale includes a resistance band, weights, and sometimes a TRX band-like strap that’s fastened to the barre. You will most definitely be shaking by the end of the class, but it’s very much worth it. I bought a 10-pack of barre classes and noticed a serious difference in my arms and abs, which is something I never thought I’d say.
I will never not LOL at this studio’s name, but they have a fab new member deal that makes up for it. One class is $34, but they’re offering two classes for $28! Either they’re really bad at math or really generous. This place offers three types of classes, all of which take place in a 50-degree studio. I know what you’re thinking, “Wait, that sounds les mis!” And it is for the first few minutes, but you actually get a way more effective workout in the cold than you do in the heat because science. (And because you’re not sweating like a grease monkey—my less science-backed opinion.) Whether you choose a HIIT, Slide, or HIIT + Slide class, you’ll definitely feel the brrrn (sorry, I had to). By the way, HIT uses battle ropes and weights for total body strength and conditioning, Slide is a low to mid-impact class focused on light resistance training and lateral training on the Brrrn Slide Board to improve balance and core strength.
5. CorePower Yoga
For the mother of all deals, CorePower offers a full week of yoga classes for free. In other words, seven free yoga classes. Back when I lived in Atlanta, my apartment was above a CorePower, so I did the free week, and after the free week, I ended up purchasing an unlimited membership and went nearly every day. CorePower’s free week is definitely a gateway to spending a ton of money, but it’s so worth it. This is a hot yoga studio, which offers a great workout that also feels very relaxing. Like most yoga studios, they offer a variety of types of yoga classes that range in difficulty, but my personal favorite is the Yoga Sculpt, which is just a regular flow, but with weights. Look, no one is neutral about hot yoga since you either love it or you’d rather die than be stuck in a hot room for an hour, but if you do enjoy Bikram, you will definitely like CorePower.
Tbh I felt like I was training for the f*cking Marines when I took Orangetheory, but I did it for the free class they offer new clients. There’s an OT on like, every block in every city, so if you haven’t noticed this place exists, I don’t really know what to say to you other than be just a little bit more observant? If you’ve walked by them a million times but don’t understand what they are, allow me to explain. To me, OT is a less intense version of Barry’s Bootcamp. It’s high-intensity interval training, but you won’t feel like you need to chop all of your limbs off because they ache so badly after a class. There’s a treadmill section, a floor section, and a weights section, so if you’re into that, definitely sign up because your first class is free, so why not? Plus, apparently you’re still burning calories even after you leave because the exercises are designed that way. Something about the orange fat-burning zone…or something. Look, I was focused on not dying in class, not learning.
If you like boxing, you will like Overthrow, especially because you get a class free when you buy your first one! More importantly, the workout is really good. Most of it takes place on a heavy bag, but there’s also some light sparring and, of course, a miserable ab workout toward the end. Why must all boxing classes force us to do ab exercises after we’ve spent all of our energy beating the sh*t out of a 100-pound bag? Anyway, Overthrow’s bag section is really intense and you will def need a nap afterwards. First, the instructor will go over the basic punches and then assign each one a number so that he can quickly make up combinations for you to use on the bag. Ever heard the phrase “1-2-punch?” That comes from boxing! 1 is a jab and a 2 is a right arm cross. These are things you’ll learn at Overthrow. So the combinations are obviously a little more challenging than two punches at a time and they are absolutely a workout. During the last few minutes, it becomes very clear that everyone is dead, but not before sparring and abs!
Images: GRIT BXNG; gritbxng, swerve fitness, exhalespa, brrrn, corepoweryoga, orangetheory, overthrownewyork / Instagram
Working out in NYC tends to get way more expensive and complicated than it should. Basically, it has all the bougie, celeb-studded options of LA, but none of the free, nature-y options of LA (hiking, beach running, chasing down Kardashians—you get it). Sure, you could dodge tourists in Central Park, but your patience will be getting more of a workout than you are. And IMO, all the hidden fees and rush hours involved in traditional gym memberships are a pain. So, in the interest of getting the best workouts for the best price, you sign up for ClassPass—only to discover that half the options there are just as expensive as booking regular classes. That’s where I come in. I’ve tracked down the best boutique fitness studios that actually offer deals through ClassPass—here’s where you should go. Note on how I’m pricing credits: I pay $94/month for 45 ClassPass credits + Blink membership. That’s less than $2/credit; if I buy additional, it’s priced at $2.50/credit.
Regular price: $38 Best ClassPass price: 12 credits ($24-30)
Fhitting Room offers high-intensity interval training: you’ll lift some weights, use some machines, and do burpees while a trainer screams at you until your chest hits the floor. I’m not even being that dramatic—if you like trainers who go easy on you, either hire someone with a meek demeanor or, IDK, don’t go to any of the studios on this list. Classes here can go up to 21 credits on ClassPass (at which point you’d be better off just buying them at the regular price), but if you choose your time carefully, you can book for 12 or 13. Right now, I’m looking at the app and there are 13-credit classes available at 9:30am all week, plus every Saturday afternoon class. It’s a killer deal for a lot of hands-on attention from legit trainers.
Regular price: $35 Best ClassPass price: 10 credits ($20-25) ShadowBox is—you guessed it—a boxing class! You’ll warm up with some cardio drills and shadowboxing, then go into seven rounds of bag work with more cardio (jumping jacks, burpees) or static holds (air squat, planks) in between. Most classes are 18 credits on ClassPass, but midday during the week is often 10 credits (don’t worry, they have showers), as are early morning weekend classes. Hey, I never said the most convenient classes would be the cheapest. I’ve only been to the Flatiron location, but the studio is very chic, and I honestly thought I was going to die the first time I took a class there. If that’s not a sign of a good workout, what is?
Overthrow Underground Boxing
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Regular price: $34 Best ClassPass price: 8 credits ($16-20) I legitimately almost didn’t include this on the list because it’s my favorite place to work out, and I don’t want it to get any busier. That being said, I’m too generous not to clue you all in on the amazing deal and workout experience of Overthrow. At 8 credits a class (and there are a lot of options) plus free glove rentals, this place would probably be my go-to for boxing even if it weren’t my favorite workout (which it is). Classes are in a dark basement, which is cooler than it sounds, and includes shadowboxing, circuit training, bag work, and partner work. It’s improved my boxing more than any other studio, and just makes me feel GOOD. Definitely a different experience from Shadowbox, so try both and see what you like.
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At Switch, we focus on providing great Total Body Conditioning workouts that rise to the next level by incorporating functional training exercises, allowing you to train and practice for real life scenarios.? That’s the difference. ? #switchplaygroundnyc #switch #fitness #nycfitness
Regular price: $36 Best ClassPass price: 8 credits ($16-20) Switch Playground is a very specific type of workout class: you spend two minutes at 20 different stations, with two exercises per station that you alternate between in rounds of 30 seconds. If it sounds complicated, it’s not—they have a bunch of trainers in the room who demonstrate each exercise and tell you exactly when to switch to the next movement. If you get bored easily, this is the perfect class for you. And if you take a while to get into each exercise, it’s definitely not. Either way, it’s a high-powered, high-energy class with a DJ and fun lighting that will certainly make you break a sweat. And all for $16.
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Regular price: $25 Best ClassPass price: 6 credits ($12-15) I absolutely love hot yoga, but after a few months of cutting out all other forms of exercise, I reluctantly admitted it didn’t have the calorie-burning power I needed. I’m not saying Y7 is an exception to this, but I am saying that it offers enough non-calorie benefits that keep me coming back. Y7’s yoga classes are conducted in candle-lit, mirrorless rooms, and have you go through three yoga sequences first with a class, then on your own. Remembering the sequence can be a little challenging, but I swear it’s improved my memory and overall yoga abilities—plus, the lack of mirrors lets me lean into the meditation aspect of yoga way more than classes where I’m constantly checking myself out. (What? I look hot doing yoga.) Whatever your relationship to yoga, I’d recommend trying Y7 at least once. There you have it! I’m mildly concerned that all these studios will raise their ClassPass prices once they find out they’re offering better deals, but that’s a risk I’ll take in the name of journalism. Please don’t overcrowd my fave classes, but if I’ve made working out in NYC an easier experience for you, then I’ll be happy. Images: Chase Kinney / Unsplash; fhittingroom, sbx_boxing. overthrownewyork, switchplaygroundnyc, y7studio / Instagram
Fitness is so subjective. It’s a personal journey that looks different for everybody. As a professional, all I can do is put out the best information I can that is scientifically backed. If it’s anecdotal then I will tell you straight-up that I haven’t been able to find scientific evidence supporting or negating a theory or claim. Not all information I put out will always support everybody’s fitness regimen. So many of my articles (including the most recent one on running) have a poppin-ass comments section because everyone has their own way of working out. I will always write the truth about what works for me from MY own experiences and also as a professional, from being a part of other people’s journeys. What works for me and my clients will not always work for everyone. I think the discussions being had are fantastic, and this is the biggest sign that people are finding what works for them and staying true to their own path. If my writing gets you considering ways to be healthier or sparking health-related conversations then I have achieved my purpose. However, if this article, and any of my other articles do not resonate with you, it doesn’t mean I am saying what you’re doing is wrong. Follow what your body tells you, first and foremost and forever.
With that said, let’s talk about cardio. There are two sides to every story, just like the story of your Tinder date’s last relationship’s demise (if he said “she was crazy” she probably wasn’t, FYI, she probably just caught him cheating and left). When it comes to cardio, some people love it, some people hate it. I’ll let you figure it out for yourself.
Cardio is any activity that elevates your heart rate. So anything from pacing anxiously after sending a bold text to running after your Uber after the club closes technically counts as cardio. But let’s break it down further into different TYPES of cardio.
Low Intensity Steady State Cardio
If you guys go on a cardio machine such as the treadmill or the elliptical or whatever else, you might see this chart that correlates your age with your current heart rate and that determines what kind of zone you’re in (there’s “fat burn” and “cardiovascular” zone). For a long, long time, people thought that to burn fat and lose weight you have to your ass in the fat burn zone for hours. The fat burn zone is not tiring for the average population (if you’re healthy and don’t have any disorders). That’s like a chill walk around the neighborhood. Boredom and stalker-ish tendencies aside, you can do that for hours, right? You’re not going to be out of breath or anything. Low intensity steady state cardio is basically the kind of cardio that you can do without too much effort, for a long time. And yeah you’re in the “fat burn” zone because most of the calories is coming from fat metabolism, but you’re only burning like, 200 calories in an hour. When new information came out the inaccuracies about the “fat burn” zone and about the benefits of HIIT or high intensity interval training, everyone jumped the LISS ship and now it seems like the only people every chill walking on a treadmill in the gym are somebody’s grandparents.
So is LISS a complete waste of time?
Not exactly, not even for fitness experts that train constantly. LISS is so damn chill that you don’t need any time to recover from it after. You can actually use it TO recover after a day of lifting heavy or strenuous work. It will still increase your circulation and get you feeling active, but not completely drain your energy reserves. LISS is perfect for beginners. The main goal for anyone starting their fitness journey is to GET MOVING in any way, shape or form. It is also great for anyone easing their way back from an injury or illness. Personally, I use LISS as a way to wake my body up on certain days. I usually work out pretty much right after I wake up, and sometimes your girl is not trying to jump into anything crazy right away. I’m still trying to get my life together. So I’ll jump on a treadmill first, and start walking. I’ll check my emails, check IG and Twitter, ignore any “wyd?” texts I got while I was asleep and then put on Schitt’s Creek on Netflix on my phone. I’ll progressively pull up the incline (remember, I’m not a beginner, so if adding incline makes this no longer something you can do for a full hour, it’s no longer LISS) throughout the cardio session. Afterwards, I’m awake, my blood is flowing, I’ll be ready to move on with my workout or with my day, depending on the schedule. Now, not every day will be LISS, and it doesn’t have to be. If you’re someone that does HIIT a lot and love it, you don’t have to ditch it completely. LISS is just another tool you can use on days where you need or want a more gentle approach. It’s effective in a different way and you’re certainly not going to be huffing and puffing, so you might not FEEL dead but it’s effective all the same. You don’t always have to feel dead after a workout to for it to be effective.
High Intensity Interval Training
This baby came in hot. Barry’s Bootcamp, SoulCycle, Rise Nation, etc. are all designed around HIIT training, it’s a very lucrative cardio approach.
While LISS you can do the whole time with no breaks, with HIIT breaks are a crucial part of the whole training because
otherwise you might die the body requires oxygen. When you’re sprinting on a treadmill or a bike, your body is quickly running out of oxygen, turning the state of your cells acidic (all that carbon dioxide, honey!) which is why you’re out of breath. The work phase of HIIT shouldn’t last more than 90 seconds, mainly because you shouldn’t be physically able to. While LISS uses fat as its primary means of energy, HIIT is considered to be so high intensity that we’re working with depleting your carbohydrate stores because carbohydrates provide quicker energy. Now, this doesn’t mean you won’t lose fat with HIIT. In fact, you’re working so hard you’re probably burning equal the number amounts of an hour long LISS session in half the time with HIIT. There is also something called EPOC or excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. When trainers tell you to do HIIT because you’re burning calories for hours after you’re done training, this is what they’re talking about. It’s the body’s way of restoring the oxygen levels back to normal, and it requires calories to do so. EPOC is only activated during intense exercise—the duration of exercise doesn’t matter so this isn’t something that can ever be achieved with LISS.
Do You Ever NEED To Do Cardio?
It’s the 21st century, you don’t ever NEED to do anything. But you probably should. If you’re lifting weights and doing circuit/HIIT training, LISS could be a good recovery tool for you. It’s also a good jumping off point for beginners, so if you’re trying to get a friend or family member started on working out you can have them join you on your LISS day. It’s also such a great multi-tasking tool. You can do so much sh*t in the time you’re walking on the treadmill, guys—reply to emails, call your girls or your mom and catch up, read the news. You can’t multi-task while doing HIIT unless you’re open to seriously injuring yourself. HIIT is so killer, it’s great for amping and switching up your workout routine so you can continue to progress. It can be incorporated into your resistance training routine so you can do a little two-in-one situation. In fact, many people do cardio and don’t even realize they’re doing cardio with HIIT (but more on that a little later).
I’ve found the best way for me to do cardio is to combine LISS and HIIT. I’ll do LISS (which is pretty much the traditional cardio… walking on the treadmill, using the elliptical, etc.) then add some HIIT fundamentals into the weights portion. According to science (and my experiences), the best results in exercise come from a combination of cardio and resistance training. I mentioned before in an article that without cardio I looked “puffy” so I make it a point now to do cardio. Some people will say this is super misleading and weights don’t make you puffy.
Hear me out.
At that time, I was lifting heavy and slow for muscle growth. When your muscles grow, it is holding onto more glycogen stores (because it knows it needs it for the work, our bodies are incredibly smart) which holds onto water (should I write about this little phenomenon? Lmk in the comments!). That’s why I got that “puffy” look. I also wasn’t losing fat at the same rate I was building muscle, so it was double the puff. If all you do is lift heavy weights and never do “cardio” in your whole life, and you’re not “puffy”, I’m willing to bet that you’re doing some sort of HIIT in your workouts. You’re doing 3 sets of 30 seconds of jump squats? Are you doing battle rope intervals? You’re doing cardio, baby. Welcome to the club, so happy to have you.
Images: Clem Onojeghuo / Unsplash; Giphy (3)
High-intensity Interval Training, or HIIT, was a huge workout trend in 2018. It seems like boutique studios offering HIIT classes have popped up all over the city—or maybe I only recently started paying attention. Either way, Barry’s Bootcamp is pretty famous for these types of workouts. Per their website, they offer “weight training with cardio and alternate bursts of intense anaerobic exercise with recovery periods to keep the heart-rate elevated throughout the workout,” boasting you can burn 1,000 calories or more per workout. Barry’s even calls itself “the best workout in the world”, which is a pretty big flex. So what’s it really like? Is it truly the best workout in the entire world? Will you die after a class? I tried Barry’s Bootcamp, and I’m here to answer all your questions. Read on for my honest Barry’s Bootcamp experience.
It is 11am and I’m hungover as hell in a dimly lit red room. It’s what I imagine Christian Grey’s sex dungeon looks like. I’m yawning and looking around at the people who are going to be sweating near me for the next 60 minutes. I see this lady who is built like Madonna during the VMAs kiss era, and a guy with gelled spikey hair and really short shorts who missed the memo that the early 2000s are over. Then again, we are in West Hollywood, the land of short shorts and peek-a-boo bulges. These two look well-rested, lucky f*cks.
The instructor walks in and immediately tells half the class to get on their assigned treadmills and the other half to take their assigned places on the floor next to an aerobic step bench (very Jane Fonda, how tbt). I go to my treadmill and press “on”. Other people on the treadmills are stretching, some are walking. Fake Madonna is already voluntarily jogging. I come to learn, very quickly, that the instructor will shout three sets of numbers at us. These are mph speeds that range from beginner (hi), intermediate, and advanced. Sometimes they’ll throw a curve ball and yell out percentages, which is the incline.
0:7:52 – I’m supposed to be running at a 7 speed on a 2%. I’m at a 6 on no incline, sweating out all my sins.
0:7:03 – F*ck this, I’m walking.
0:7:45 – I enjoy a leisurely stroll. People on the treadmills next to me are sprinting like they’re running towards alcohol and drugs. I imagine this is what I look like walking to happy hour.
0:7:58 – I get yelled at for not sprinting.
0:7:59 – I’m sprinting at 9mph and briefly wonder if I’ll be flying the f*ck off this machine.
0:8:15 – The sprint ends. I suspect I have gone into cardiac arrest.
0:10:00 – The treadmill and floor sections switch. 50 more minutes to go.
The floor sections aren’t any easier, they’re just a whole different kind of pain. Turns out it’s nothing like Jane Fonda’s workout videos. I went on Tuesday (a legs and butt day in Barry’s Bootcamp world), and on my 390,294th squat I wonder if I will ever be able to walk again. The combinations of squats, lunges, step-ups, dead lifts and a bunch of other sh*t will have your arms hurting too, because you will no longer feel your legs. At this point, you’re just doing what the instructor tells you to do. It’s Nike’s slogan manifested.
However, despite all the pain, I found myself enjoying it at some point. Maybe I do belong in Christian Grey’s sex dungeon after all? IDK. I don’t remember at what point the workout became addictive and empowering, but it did.
By the time the hour ends and I survive another two rounds EACH on the tread and the floor, I am exhausted and need a shower and a nap. I grab a “Skinny B*tch” smoothie (no, literally) from their smoothie bar and almost fall down the stairs walking to my car. The next day my legs and butt feel so satisfyingly sore. At one point I catch a reflection of myself in a store window. I’m limping down Hollywood Blvd with a really pert ass. Love it. Even though I legit died, my ghost went back to Barry’s two days later, and even live to write about it. I am everything I hate in this world.
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Are you excited for your life’s journey or are you afraid of it? As you know, I truly believe in trusting the timing of my life. But that doesn’t mean I’m leaning back & waiting for everything to fall into place haha. ‘Cause being a little girlboss just feels too damn good! Being confident enough to take control of decisions that look like risks – you’ll say that’s easy but it’s usually way more comfortable to not take risks ??♀️ staying in a comfort zone is nice for some time but having the strength to get OUT of the comfort zone feels way better! And that’s why I work – every single day & with passion. And I fully believe you can’t go wrong, as long as you let your heart speak & follow what it desires ♡ – – ? to celebrate the La Garconne launch one of my followers can win the watch by following @cluse & liking this picture and commenting here when you’re done ??? I will pick the winner in 24h! Good luck ♥️♥️♥️ #iamlagarconne #cluse ♡
Gina M. Florio
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Short on time? Need a full-body workout? Step away from the elliptical and give this double kettlebell complex a try! Those cardio machines are a waste of time, especially when you compare them to a workout like this that offers everything from strength to conditioning to coordination. Use 2 medium to heavy kettlebells • 2 push-ups — 2 gorilla rows — 2 dead cleans — 2 thrusters (squat and press). 4 reps, 4-5 rounds in total • Every day I fall more in love with the kettlebell. The possibilities are endless. Not only can you use KBs for classic strength work, but you can also string together a wide variety of movements to create a comprehensive workout that hits multiple muscle groups at once. If you're brand new to KBs, grab 2 8kg bells and try this workout. It burns so good ??? • Decked out in @gymsharkwomen #gymsharkwomen • Who wants to try? Tag me #getstrongwithgina #strongvegan #poweredbyplants #kettlebells #fullbodyworkout
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Shawnigan Lake, BC yoga teacher #FijiMcAlpine shares her passion for the practice with the globe, encouraging #selflove and wellness for all. Fiji teaches at #KaliYoga and on @doyogawithme, a free yoga website. As a mother of two, Fiji hopes her love of yoga and appreciation for mindfulness teaches her kids the importance of inner strength and health. She tells #AQuarterYoung, "I have been very open about how yoga literally saved my life by learning to reconnect to my physical self in a healthy and loving way. I struggled to overcome anorexia for years and it was yoga that finally provided the therapy that I needed and that my mind would actually respond to. It is not surprising as eating disorders happen when we try to sever the connection of our mind and body or use one to overcome the other. I think yoga should be an essential component to all treatments and therapies for eating disorders." Read the full story now – link in bio! ???? . . . . #workout #freeyoga #yoga #inspire #love #loveandlight #bodypositivity #selfcare #family #mentalhealth #health #meditation #exercise #movement #motivate #treatment #therapy #advice #doyoga #bemindful #moms #bestrong #yvr #yogapose #guidance