Saturday, August 18, 2012

Try Anything Once

I have this really cool big cousin. Growing up, Carrie knew about the hip new trends, she had the best toys and her hair and clothes always looked great. She was the first one to pluck my eyebrows one Christmas in Cleveland. 

When Carrie came to visit last year she asked about the types of things Dominic and I enjoy doing in this city. She mentioned that if she lived here she would try out all of the unique workout studios and fitness classes that aren't available in other parts of the country. At the time, I didn't think much about it since I'd always been content to jog around on the street. Everything changed one day when Groupon offered five hip hop Zumba classes for $25. The craze had begun.

I know you can take a Zumba class anywhere, but there was something fun about the experience with dancers*. I started to get carried away when a Groupon came out for five mixed martial arts classes a few weeks later.

MMA is intense. It's real fighting! I take this class just two blocks away from our house - which is good because it usually doesn't end until 9:30 p.m. In class last week a man looked at me swinging away and said: "Girl! Don't you know how to make a fist?" I told him of course not (I haven't had my personal training session yet) and asked him what was wrong. He informed me that if I make a fist the way I had been my thumbs would get broken off. His follow up (once my form was fixed) was, "Have you ever thrown a punch?" To which I replied no again, obviously. He was stupefied. This Groupon was $19 for five classes and one personal training session. I think that came to about a 96 percent discount. I spent most of my classes just doing conditioning with the fighters. I learned a new definition for 'the dirty dozen' and how to throw chains above my head. My takeaway from MMA is the hook. Watch out for my left hook.

One of my staff recommended SoulCycle, but I always doubted spinning. My kind of bike ride is a path by the river, not crowded room of cyclists going nowhere. I was curious, though, after hearing SoulCycle described like this: "If SoulCycle were a club, it would be the Top of the Standard." I decided to join the ranks of Katie Holmes, Kelly Ripa, Chelsea Clinton and Lady Gaga and try it out on a Monday morning at 6:15. The class delivered just what the website states: "An intense FULL-BODY workout with a fun and energizing atmosphere." Intense is an understatement. At one point we were going so fast, standing up, that I fell off! SoulCycle kicked my butt - that's it's takeaway.

These may look like goofy roller blades, but they're actually Kangoo boots. This Groupon proved that Dominic will try anything once too. Kangoo is described as rebound exercise. Mario Godiva's (the man in charge of this bouncy workout) website quotes NASA: "Rebound exercise is the most efficient, effective form of exercise yet devised by man." Arguing, "...for similar levels of heart rate and oxygen consumption, the magnitude of the biomechanical stimuli is greater with jumping on a trampoline than with running." It sure was fun, and I've never had a more enthusiastic or smiley exercise instructor, but the greatest workout I got was from lifting and kicking those four-pound boots around for an hour. Dominic's takeaway is to start Kangoo Kolumbus. You ready?

We couldn't be indoors all summer. I threw in this photo to prove that we take the fitness with us wherever we go. Here the boys are at Orchard Beach practicing their yoga moves. This was just before Patrick (in yellow) demonstrated a headstand on the sand. 

If I had more time here, these are a few of the workouts I'd try at least once:
  • Physique 57 or Bar Method: Isometric exercises + orthopedic stretches so I'd look like a ballerina
  • TRX: Suspension training that leverages your body weight + gravity. 
  • Crossfit: Gymnastics + Olympic lifting + urban boot camp. There are more than 2,000 studios across the country though, so I'm sure I can try this elsewhere. 

I'm going to miss NYC.

* I assume people are dancers when they come to Zumba class in dance shoes. This could be incorrect, but why else wouldn't you just wear sneakers?

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