The City That Never Sleeps

What a whirlwind week! While we have fun weekend plans on each end of this trip, I’ve spent Monday through Wednesday working from my old office. Reconnecting with old co-workers has been wonderful as well as hitting a few of my favorite lunch spots, such as Toasties as well as trying some newer places, like Treehaus. When I’m not working, I’m spending my time doing two of my favorite things – working out and connecting with friends!

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It never amazes me how much you can get done in New York City BEFORE and AFTER work! Regardless the hour, I feel you can find a studio offering classes or a restaurant waiting to host friends for drinks and a meal!

While we love Geneva, very few places open before work or stay open after work.  Meg, Bo and I have already tried a different workout class each day before work. So far, we’ve squeezed in classes at Soul Cycle, Orange Theory Fitness, The Fhitting Room and Prana Power Yoga. This trip came at the perfect time as it’s given me the chance to switch things up after the half marathon.

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In the evenings, we’ve caught up with friends over a few of our favorite things: Mexican food and beers. I mean hey, life is all about moderation, right? 

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Lunch break is over, and it’s time to hop into another meeting, but I’ll be back tomorrow for a more in-depth review of these workout classes.

To those of you who have asked about the site updates, they are a work in progress.  I’ll have a fun giveaway next week once it launches!

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Not Every Trainer Speaks The Truth

Tonight’s post wasn’t planned.

In fact, until 6:10pm I thought tonight’s blog would be my recap of the Publix Savannah Women’s Half Marathon.

But, unfortunately, a personal trainer at our office gym inspired a very different post.

Like many runners, I find it hard to balance running with strength work. I start each training period with good intentions but rarely make strength training a priority for more than a week or two before falling off the band wagon.

I have read many posts about the benefits of strength training for runners.  I’ve followed and supported friends and fellow bloggers as they became stronger through CrossFit and strength training. This strength has helped many of them run faster and with fewer injuries than before.

Jess is doing her best to ensure that strength training becomes a habit and therefore typically has it on my schedule at least once or twice a week. After a long day of sitting at my desk, lifting weights while enjoying a great new playlist sounded like the perfect way to relax before heading home. Heck, I even found a new workout for the occasion – PopSugar’s Arm Plan.

Bent-Over Reverse Fly

Within minutes of starting, one of the trainers tapped me on the shoulder, letting me know that I was not using proper form for the bent-over reverse fly. I was looking at myself in the mirror, trying to ensure I was keeping my back straight, but he taught me that this tweaks my neck which can lead to injuries.

Instead of walking away, he decided it was time to chat. He asked me my name and what my purpose was in the gym. I laughed and told him that I’m a half marathon runner who knows I need to be more diligent about lifting. My goal this month is to lift twice a week.

The words that came out of his mouth next left me pissed, upset and plain baffled.

You shouldn’t be lifting heavy weights. It’s going to bulk you up and add even more weight to your body.

He proceeded this question with a quick glance over of my body and quickly assessed that my weight must be around 155 pounds. I laughed, in amazement that he could guess so easily.

You shouldn’t be running distance at your weight. It’s too hard on your body.

So let met get this straight. First you tell me that lifting 15 pound dumb bells is going to bulk me up and then you tell me that I’m carrying too much weight to run half marathons?

After venting to both the world of Twitter and Bo, I took thirty minutes to finish my workout with more energy and vigor than I thought possible.

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Next, I collected myself and calmly let him know that he was inaccurate as my body has crossed many finish lines at the weight of 155 and higher. In addition, his comments were out of line and just plain wrong. Then, I vented in the best way possible – I screamed in the bathroom and let out the emotion I was really feeling.

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Excuse me?

So, the moral of this story is two fold.

1) According to the EXPERTS at Runner’s World and a multitude of other personal trainers, athletic trainers and professionals lifting weights is beneficial cross-training for runners.

How Strength Training Benefits Runners

Why Runners Need to Strength Train

3 Reasons Strength Training Will Benefit Your Run

The Benefits of Strength Training for Distance Runners

Why All Runners Should Strength Train 

2) Never let an ignorant person, regardless of what their title may be, intimidate you or feed you lies. If you question their advice, do your own research and ALWAYS get a second opinion.

While I am not skinny, nor do I have the build of many distance runners, I am a runner who enjoys running half marathons. I am strong. I am healthy. I will not let someone like this guy make me feel otherwise.

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Your turn: How would you have handled the situation? Has your running benefited from strength training?

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Barry’s Bootcamp

Happy Friday and greetings from London! The past two mornings, while in London for work, I was able to spend some time at one of my favorite workout spots – Barry’s Bootcamp.

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For those of you who are long time readers, you may remember that Barry’s Bootcamp actually helped us stay in shape and run half marathon PRs after we broke up with my personal trainer. I’ve written a few posts previously about my experiences back in NYC including my first Barry’s Bootcamp experience almost two years ago.

For the rest of you, I thought I’d share a review of Barry’s Bootcamp in case you’re interested in trying it yourself. Many people often say they are intimidated by it so I figured this post could help you realize that while it may seem intimidating, it will instead help you realize your abilities and provide you with some great treadmill and weight moves you can incorporate into your own future workouts.

What is it? Barry’s Bootcamp is a Los Angeles based company which has now expanded to 13 different cities including locations in England and Norway! Started back in 1998, the workout advertises that it offers the “best workout in the world.” While that is quite subjective, I will promise you that during the hour long class you will definitely get an efficient workout that burns calories and tones muscles! The 60 minute class includes a total of 25-30 minutes on the treadmill, 25-30 minutes of weights/plyometric moves and a cool-down stretch. You can choose whether you want to start the class on the treadmill or on the floor. I love starting with the treadmill portion but Bo loves starting with the floor, it’s totally personal! Most classes break up the portions by doing a total of 2 10-15 minute treadmill pieces with 2 10-15 minute floor sessions. This provides a great break and allows you to work a different set of muscles before getting back on the treadmill. The schedule alternates so that each day there is a different body group or focus for the floor portion (Arms and Abs; Legs Butt and Shoulders; Chest Back and Abs; Hardcore Abs; or Full Body).  You will be able to see the day’s focus when you sign up online.

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What should I wear? You will see everything and anything in the classes as it still attracts some people who are clad in the latest and greatest workout styles while others wear head to toe Barry’s paraphernalia. In a way, the outfits and crowd are similar to Soul Cycle and other cult workouts as they love the workout as much as they love the brand itself. I tend to wear either shorts and a tank or breathable, lightweight crops and a tank. I always wear my lightest pair of running shoes as the treadmill portion is a speed workout and sport a headband to ensure my hair isn’t falling in my face. Whatever you wear, make sure you’re ready to sweat and possibly be in a warm room as certain locations get quite warm.

Will I be able to finish the workout? What will it be like? The treadmill portion is challenging but the great news is that you control the intensity. The instructor will give suggested speed and incline levels, typically providing a range. However, if you’ve told them it’s your first time, you’re a beginner or recovering from injury they will never pressure you to go beyond your ability. They save that motivation for more experienced people who aren’t new or who want to challenge. Expect the treadmill portion to be no longer than 10-12 minutes and include some sprints and some inclines.  The floor portion usually features hand weights which you can also choose to make as light or heavy as you want. Most moves are dynamic or compound, meaning that they include two moves in one such as a squat and overhead press or weighted tricep dips. Make sure to watch the instructors form to ensure you know who to properly complete the move and go at your own pace.

Is there music? Oh heck yes there is music! Each instructor has their personal style but I promise you that you will be running or pushing your body to the beat.

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Tips to ensure you have a great first Barry’s Bootcamp experience

  • Class reservations can be made a week in advance via phone or their website
  • Classes tend to fill quickly
  • There are lockers with locks, showers, and a fuel bar serving smoothies at almost all locations. Most locations also include blow dryers and shower products but call ahead or check site to confirm.
  • Arrive early as most locations can be a bit chaotic.
  • Class prices vary by city but are around $30. There are packages and corporate discounts which can help reduce the price.
  • Each location has a different cancellation policy but average is 12 hours in advance.
  • Always tell the teacher if you have injuries or it is your first time so they can support you and make adjustments.

Have you tried Barry’s Bootcamp or a similar class? Have any other questions about the workout?

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Sweaty Highlights: BodyAttack

Hey guys!

I can’t believe it’s already Tuesday night. I just walked through the door and while the only thing I’m craving is a glass of wine and this week’s episode of Nashville, I couldn’t lie down on the couch without saying hello.

As you know, Theodora is here this week, and I couldn’t be happier. Hosting someone who is more like family than a friend is so simple. Thus far, our nights have been relaxed, filled with lots of laughter and conversations while eating and drinking in the comfort of our home. Since she wants to get a feel for what our life is like here, she even joined us for an early morning swim workout today!

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I am thankful she and Bo get along so well as he is showing her around the region today and tomorrow while I’m stuck at work. Based on her Instagram feed, I think they’re having plenty of fun without me!

As I’m not training for anything in particular right now, I was a bit lost in regards to recapping my weekly workouts. Based on Twitter and comments, about half of you love following along while others prefer to hear more about one specific workout. In order to please both crowds, I’m going to kick off a weekly post called Sweaty Highlights.

I’ll recap the past week’s workouts, but focus on one workout that was either new, especially challenging, or a Pinterest worthy workout that you can do on your own.

The Week in Sweat

Monday: After Sunday’s half marathon trail race my body needed some stretching. Luckily our offices hour long lunchtime yoga class focused on hip openers and lots of downward dogs to stretch out my calves!

Tuesday: Rest day

Wednesday: A quick 30 minute workout at the hotel gym and in my hotel room was better than nothing! I did 25 minutes of incline walking followed by 10 minutes of high knees, jumping jakes, push-ups and planks!

Thursday: Our Thursday swim practice included lots of endurance sets that resulted in a 1.2 mile swim! I’m still getting back into swim shape but after just three practices the early morning practices are getting easier.

Friday: Body Attack

Saturday: A 13 mile hiking adventure in Chamonix that left my glutes and calves sore for days!

Sunday: A 90-minute walk along the lake was the perfect way to show Theodora more of Geneva while also shaking out our sore legs.

Sweaty Highlight

The highlight of last week’s workouts was BodyAttack! Sure I’ve heard about Body Attack and the numerous other Les Mills workouts but until Friday, Body Pump was the only one I’d tried. Since I’m training for life right now, I get to enjoy taking as many classes as I want since I don’t have to fear being sore the next morning and messing up a training run. This new found freedom has inspired me to take advantage of my office gym’s classes which include an array of Les Mills classes – Body Pump, Body Combat, BodyAttack, and CXWorx.

When my co-worker and friend invited me to join her for Friday’s lunchtime BodyAttack class,  I couldn’t find an excuse fast enough. I was intimidated to try a new to me class which, based on the website included at least some choreography and lots of jumping. What if I hurt myself? What if I couldn’t follow along? She convinced me to give it a try, reminding me that I could always walk out.

There were seven other women in attendance; the perfect class size to ensure I didn’t run into anyone and could safely place myself in the back corner. They were a range of shapes, sizes and fitness abilities but what I noticed immediately was how excited each one was to spend their lunch hour in this class.

After the typical introductions and injury questions the instructor turned up the music promising a fun and sweaty hour long class. Leah was so right! I LOVED every single second! BodyAttack is a high energy class which brings together lots of cardio (jumping jacks, high knees, high kicks, speed skater, etc.) with strength work in the form of lunges, squats and pushups. How can I not love a class whose motto is “training for the sport of life?” The BodyAttack 86 music was a mix of new and old hits including two of my favorites, Timber and Dark Horse.

 

Overall, the class brought together the fun and music of a Zumba or spin class with the sweat and workout of a Barry’s Bootcamp or other high-intensity class. I couldn’t stop smiling during the class, even when I messed up the brief choreographed section. I highly recommend giving this class a try if your gym offers it or checking it out online! I will be going back for sure!

Your turn: Have you tried BodyAttack before or any of the other LesMills classes? Which one is your favorite?

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