Free NYC: Union Square Sweat Fest! Feb 9-15
The Union Square Partnership (@UnionSquareNY) is thrilled to announce their third annual UNION SQUARE SWEAT FEST, a week-long event series highlighting the district’s vibrant health + fitness scene.
With more than 1,000 participants last year, Sweat Fest’s lineup has been expanded to showcase over 65 event partners at 40+ fitness activities.
The event schedule includes complimentary workouts at the district’s best athleisure retailers + top gyms, “drenching” paid studio classes with swag, a dynamic line-up of kids fitness, as well as plenty of giveaways + a social media contest.
#USQSweatFest classes have a limited capacity + are made available on a first-come, first-served basis
Some classes are complimentary + some require advance purchase + sign-up through the #USQSweatFest website or via a link to the studio’s website
Purchased classes are typically “drenched” with swag as indicated in the class description
Check the event schedule for changes + updates
SPECIAL OPENING + CLOSING EVENTS
Sweat Fest kicks off on Thursday, February 9th with a launch party featuring Sound Off™ + Insider Insights at the W New York – Union Square. Using wireless headsets, enjoy an immersive soul yoga experience led by Julie Serow of Laughing Lotus while renowned DJ Lety Love spins beats. Stay after for exclusive giveaways, healthy refreshments, and a wellness + beauty collective.
Close out the week with us on Wednesday, February 15th with a special yoga class + wellness celebration at GrowNYC’s beautiful new event space, Project Farmhouse. Led by internationally renowned yoga teacher Kat Fowler of Kat Fowler Yoga and Yoga Vida, you’ll experience 60 minutes of calming practice followed by healthy bites + drinks, and exciting swag + giveaways.
Looking to change up your workout routine or sample a new class or studio? Sweat Fest showcases a variety of local workout venues, instructors + classes. The schedule includes activities for all levels at the neighborhood’s favorite gyms, retail stores + boutique studios.
Check out Yoga Vida’s Yoga Flow and High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) at JackRabbit, or sample new workouts like Friday Night Power Hour at SWITCH Playground and Train like a BOSS at HUB seventeen. Bring Young Tigers to Bo Law Kung Fu, have a date night learning Tango at the 14th Street Y, or recover with Mindfulness Meditation at The Rubin Museum of Art.
No matter what you’re looking for, #USQSweatFest can help you find it.
This year, we’ve expanded the line-up to include children’s yoga, dance, ballet, martial arts + family swim. Check the schedule for class descriptions, recommended age levels, sign-up instructions + cost.
SOCIAL MEDIA PROMOTION + GIVEAWAYS
We’re giving away awesome swag throughout the week thanks to our event partners. To participate in our social media contest, follow us @UnionSquareNY on Twitter + Instagram and tag your #USQSweatFest photos from February 9th – 16th.
Stay in touch with us for the latest @UnionSquareNY news, including our summer schedule of free outdoor fitness offerings in Union Square Park, by signing-up for our e-newsletter.
Headed Out Of Town? 3 Easy Exercises To Do Anywhere (VIDEO)
The vacation season is here, and just because you’ve escaped the city, doesn’t mean you have to leave your workout behind. Fitness Expert, Lacey Stone shows us three easy exercises that can be done just about anywhere!
THREE EXERCISES MENTIONED
What does it work? Works your BOOTY! The squat jump works the Glutes, the Hamstrings, the Quads, The whole Sha-BANG!
How should you do it? Do 3sets for 30-45 seconds that’s about 15-20 squat jumps per set.
Reverse Lunge JUMP (alternating):
What does it work? It works your Quads, Hams, Glutes again. The deeper you lunge the more bang you’ll get for you buck but be careful to stay in proper alignment not allowing your knee to come over the tip of your toes.
How should you do it? 3sets for 30-60seconds that’s about 15-30reps per Reverse Lunge Jump.
Butt Blaster: Karate Kid Kick! :
What does it work? The main focus of this exercise is the gluteus maximus.The focus will be on the right or left side of your glutes depending on which leg is supporting your balance. This is the exercise gets that part of the butt we’re all looking to tone.
How should you do it? 3sets for 1min each on each side try to bust out as many kicks as you can with good form.
10 Tips from Pure Yoga to Jump-start Your Yoga Resolution
So, now that we’re a couple weeks into the new year, how are you doing on keeping to your fitness resolutions? Karen Nourizadeh offers tips and advice for initiating and maintaining a yoga practice in 2017.
“A common misconception about yoga is that it involves complex stretches intended only for highly flexible people. Others believe that all yogis chant, meditate and are vegetarians. However, many people are surprised to learn that Yoga is a holistic approach to mind, body and breath which can be easily applied to all people… no matter your age, size, diet, profession or body type” says Nourizadeh. “In order to develop and maintain a healthy, safe, regular and challenging practice, it is essential to know your own body and its boundaries.”
10 TIPS FROM KAREN TO JUMPSTART YOUR YOGA RESOLUTION
1. Make a time commitment to yourself and be specific. Setting forth specific days and times weekly will encourage you to honor your practice. Treat your commitments as appointments with yourself. If you need to cancel a session, already having it on your calendar the following week will help you to maintain a regular commitment.
2. Set realistic goals. If flexibility is a goal, be prepared to commit at least 2-3 hours weekly and incorporate the appropriate exercises to increase your flexibility. Challenging but safe poses provide real opportunities for growth and evolution.
3. Find classes that are appropriate for your level and be patient with yourself. For beginners, classes emphasizing technique, alignment and safety are crucial to building a proper foundation and protecting your body.
4. Find a teacher whose voice, personality and energy resonates with you and your goals. When you experience harmony with your teacher and their approach to yoga, your desire to practice will increase as well as your desires to fulfill your own personal goals.
5. Do not feel intimidated by the instructor or other practitioners. If you have questions about poses or need modifications, speak with the instructor before and/or after the class. Yoga should be tailored and safe for your body. While healthy competition is good, knowing and respecting your boundaries is better.
6. Develop body awareness. Knowing where your body parts are and how each part feels from moment to moment allows us listen to what our bodies need, not what our minds tell us we need. Body awareness helps us to prevent injury and illness, while encouraging a healthy synergistic effect on the whole body.
7. Bring consciousness to the unconscious act of breathing. Focusing on breath has a calming effect, allows us to be in the now, where life is happening, and maximizes the benefits of your practice.
8. Watch your thoughts as they arise and then practice letting them go. Your mind will want to take you out of the present and into the past, future or even a fantasy. When you are attuned to the present moment, you are able to focus your energy fully on what you are doing and maximize the benefits of your practice.
9. Connect to your inner child. Allow yourself to approach your practice playfully, without judgment and with little fear.
10. Work in one-on-one sessions with a private yoga instructor. A private instructor will help you to attain your goals, work with your unique body type and schedule times appropriate to your schedule.
As you move from 2013 to 2014, Nourizadeh reminds us of the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” Yoga teaches us to connect to, trust and honor your inner voice and wisdom. Make that connection to yourself through yoga. It is a gift that never stops giving to your mental and physical well-being.
4 Ways To Burn More Fat
There is nothing quite as frustrating as seeing your results fizzle out.
This is a common place to end up, usually after a few months on the same exercise routine. In the beginning your body responds to your routine with lost pounds and gained muscle tone, then one day all results screech to a stop.
Why does this happen? And, more importantly, how can you prevent it?
Your muscles adapt quickly to any repetitive routine. Remember that the definition of ‘insanity’ is to do the same thing over and over while expecting different results. This holds true for your workouts.
When your results stop, it’s time to do something new.
- The problem: Your muscles have adapted to your routine.
- The Solution: It’s time to apply the concept of muscle confusion.
Muscle confusion is a way to keep your body guessing by changing your routine.
I have good news – the following 4 strategies are guaranteed to crank your workouts up to the next level and to deliver better results.
Strategy #1: Use a Drop Set
Drop sets are often used to fight off exercise plateaus. This technique is great for increasing muscle strength, endurance and for adding to the cardiovascular benefit of your workout – which results in more fat burn.
This is how to do a drop set: When you perform an exercise to exhaustion, don’t stop there. Drop the weight by 80% and do another set.
You could take it a step further by dropping the weight twice, making it a double drop. Or drop the weight three times for a descending drop set. Use this technique only once or twice per workout, on the final set of the exercise.
Strategy #2: Focus on Negatives
Each time that you do a weight lifting repetition you are using three types of strength.
- Positive strength: lifting the weight.
- Static strength: holding weight in a contracted position.
- Negative strength: lowering the weight.
Most people completely miss the benefit of the negative in each repetition by allowing the weight to drop quickly with little control. It is understood that the negative portion of each repetition is just as important as the positive portion, possibly more important.
Focus on the negative portion of each repetition by lowering the weight very slowly. Concentrate on the negative contraction, and make each repetition count.
If you are advanced, then use a training partner to assist you in moving heavier-than-normal weight into a contracted position, then lower it very slowly.
Another way to utilize negative repetitions on a machine is to lift the weight using two limbs but then lower it with just one. For example, use both legs to lift the weight on a leg extension machine, but then lower it back down slowly using only one leg.
Strategy #3: Use Active Rest
Every minute of your workout is an opportunity to increase intensity and to burn more fat. Don’t waste precious minutes with long rest periods.
While it is important to catch your breath if you feel winded, most of the time you would benefit more from an active rest. Do one of the following activities for 30 seconds between exercises and turn your regular workout into High Intensity Interval Training.
- High Knees with Alternating Punches: Alternately bring each knee high to your chest in a quick jumping movement while alternating forward punches at shoulder level.
- Burpees: Start in a sanding position and bend at the waist. Once your hands hit the floor, push your entire body back, extending your legs until they’re straight and you’re in the push-up position. Go down for a push-up, and when you push yourself up, jump slightly to bring your feet back near your hands. Finally, jump in the air with your arms fully extended over your head.
- Side-to-Side Jumps on Bench: Stand on one side of an exercise bench. Place the foot closest up onto the bench, jump up and switch feet, then land on the opposite side of the bench.
- Mountain Climbers: Place your hands wider than shoulder-width apart on the ground in a push-up position. Bring one knee to your chest and then back to the starting position, alternate each leg quickly.
- Side-to-Side Ab Twists: With feet close together, jump and twist your legs left to right – holding your abs tight. Keep a bend in your knees and swing your upper arms with each twist.
- Jump Lunges with Pop Squat: Start in a lunge position, lunge down then quickly jump up, switching your leg position in midair, land in an opposite leg lunge. Once you’ve done both legs, jump straight into a squat.
- Medicine Ball Squat Jumps: With feet wider than shoulder-width apart hold a medicine ball at chest level. Squat down until your knees are at a 90 degree angle. Explosively jump up, raising the medicine ball straight over your head.
Strategy #4: Modify the Exercise There are certain exercises that are considered ‘staples’ in the gym.
The squat. The lunge. The chest press. The shoulder press. The bicep curl. You get the idea…
While you shouldn’t throw these exercises out the window, find creative ways to modify the familiar motion in order to challenge your muscles. Try these exercise modifications:
- Squat on a Bosu ball or balance board.
- Place a weighted bar across your shoulders and do walking lunges.
- Use an exercise ball for chest presses instead of the bench.
- Do a full squat between each repetition of shoulder presses.
- Do a shoulder press between each repetition of bicep curls.
If you’d like a sure-fire way to break through your fitness plateau and to melt away unwanted fat, then contact me for a fitness consultation.
Call or email today – I look forward to hearing from you.
Top Photo: Flickr
Fitness As A Relationship Booster: Be Better In Bed & Closer As A Couple.
Need some motivation to get to the gym, start a new fitness plan and inspiration to STICK with it? I have it right here for you! Exercise, eating healthy and being fit can help BOOST your relationship with your partner / spouse and help you look, feel and perform better in bed! Here’s how!
First, hit the gym together. A couple that plays together, stays together! Even if you don’t workout together, the act of going to the gym as a couple builds a strong foundation of support to stick to your health and wellness goals. My husband and I often go to the gym together – I will take a class, he will hit the weight room. The buddy system of going to the gym together ensures that we stick to our fitness goals, and then gives us added support to eat healthy when we are away from the gym. What’s more is, the increased blood flow, weight loss and stamina……help increase your sex drive!
Next, try something NEW together! Eat Smart! Eating good clean fresh foods will help you feel better, look better and benefit your overall health! Take a healthy cooking class together, stroll a farmers market, go home and cook a romantic meal together. Engaging in healthy habits together leads to a long term support system for your life changes and a bond between couples that runs strong!
Learning to support each other in being healthy and happy makes for a closer couple, better sex and overall higher relationship satisfaction.
Here are some exercises you can do to help make you better in bed:
1. Yoga: Yoga increases flexibility, helps you focus on breathing and concentrate on movement.
2. Cardiovascular Training: Any form of cardiovascular training will help you lose weight, feel more confident and build stamina!
3. Bench Presses: This is for the men out there! Want to be able to support your body weight and stamina for an extended love session? The missionary position requires this- so get pushing!
4. Kegel Exercises: This is for the ladies! These exercises are easy and can be done anytime! They help women reach orgasm easier and help men last longer! So start contracting those pubococcygeal muscles and have fun!
As always, stay focused until the miracle happens!
Running in the Heat – 3 Tips to Keep you Cool & Safe
So, it’s August and BAM, we are finally hit with those hot and humid days. If you are used to running outdoors, you may say to yourself, now what? As a veteran marathoner and race director of the Arrow Exterminating Women’s 5K, I know what it’s like to train in these conditions.
Summer’s heat can take its toll on your body and can be very harmful if you don’t take precautions. Trust me, as an avid kidney stone sufferer, every run has to be done with pre-thought and planning. That is why I feel it is necessary to point out key training tips if you plan on running in the heat.Reports show that it can take up to 2 weeks for your body to acclimate to the heat and humidity. Realize that those factors will play a major role in your performance in training or racing.
Drink It In
Dehydration can happen very quickly, so before you run, make sure you take in fluids. Carry water or a sports drink and plan on drinking 8 ounces of fluids for every 20 minutes of exercise. If you are doing a distance run, weigh yourself before and after the run and drink 16 ounces of water for every pound of fluid lost on that run.
Wear light colored clothing. Make sure that clothing is of some sort of a breathable fabric. Cotton gets wet, stays wet and does not wisk away sweat from your body. Cotton will actually cause your body to retain more heat and actually be more harmful to you.
Plan It Out
Plan to run at the cooler parts of the day if possible, such as early morning or early evening. Most importantly, if you feel any signs of heat related illnesses, stop the workout and get into some shade. Some of those symptoms to look for include cramps, dizziness, rapid breathing, chills, nausea or diarrhea. If you experience any of these symptoms, stop the workout, drink fluids and call a doctor if conditions don’t improve or get any worse.
Have fun, stay well hydrated, and good luck in all of your goals! See you out there on the roads.
About Our Guest Contributor:
Debbie Blair is a veteran marathoner and certified trainer through the National Association of Sports Medicine. She started running after the birth of ber son to get back into shape, and was quickly hooked. That was 20 years ago, and to date she has run 10 marathons. She is looking forward to running her 11th this November, right here in NY City. Debbie also is on the board of the Greater Long Island Running Club and is the race director of The Arrow Exterminating Women’s 5K.
If you have would like to contribute to HSNY please email us at Contact@HealthyStyleNY.com
Get Grippy: Best Slip-Free Yoga Mats Out There
Been slipping of your mat lately? Yes, too many mats out there leave us feeling less than secure (not to mention start falling apart in no time). A good quality, slip free yoga mat can help take your practice to the next level and is definitely a worthwhile investment. Here are our picks for the best non-slip yoga mats out there.
Gaiam Sol Dry Grip: This black beauty will have you staying put in any pose. Developed for those who love to sweat (Bikram anyone?) the top coat wicks away moisture and actually provides better grip as temperatures soar. Not to mention that it’s oh so pretty to look at. Constructed from a “closed-cell” material, this mat seals out germs, odors, and bacteria. It’s thicker and more comfy than the average mat, and not as heavy as you’d expect. $69
Manduka eKO: The eKO Mat is new and improved, and now lets you get grippy even in the sweatiest of conditions. This eco-friendly yoga mat made from biodegradable, non-Amazon harvested, natural tree rubber provides cushion and support for your practice while protecting the planet (love that). The eKo comes in a variety of sizes and colors, including a very generous 79″ long option. Starting at $48.
Prana Eco: Grip on the go! This lightweight mat is perfect to tote around the city and stay put in your favorite class. A textured surface with natural anti-slip properties will keep you well rooted and secure. You’ll also be feeling good about it’s eco-friendly qualities including it’s toxic free manufacturing process and the fact that it’s recyclable. Non-slip & sustainable! $48
Jade Harmony: Great grip and a company that gives back. Jade mats are made sustainably with natural rubber tapped from rubber trees, a renewable resource and unlike other mats contains no PVC, EVA or other synthetic rubber . Jade also plants a tree for every mat sold! $69
The Kind Mat Bliss (by Vernice Vita) : Ultimate Comfort with grip! Unlike the others in this list you probably haven’t heard of The Kind Mat, but you NEED to know about it. This uber cushiony mat is large, luxurious and full of comfort & grip. A non skid bottom combined with a memory foam middle (yum) and water resistant neoprene (non-slip) top, has this mat scoring some serious points. I’ve never experienced a more comfortable yoga mat (my knees thank you Vernice Vita), and it’s also lightweight! The only drawback I can find is that The Kind Mat Bliss doesn’t roll up quite so tightly, but who cares, you’ll want to be using this mat all the time. $119
Want to add more grip to your current mat? Try Aurorae Yoga Slip Free Rosin Bags. Filled with a powder (think of the stuff gymnasts use) derived from nature, just a touch of the bag will increase your gripping power. $10
Pilates: 3 Powerful Poses to De-Stress & Strengthen
As a New York City gal I know firsthand how this environment can put a lot of stress and strain on our bodies. Between lugging heavy bags around, hunching over computers and PDAs, and walking miles in unsupportive shoes there is a lot of where and tear going on. Rebalancing the body isn’t a maybe in NYC, it’s a must and with Pilates not only do you get a great postural makeover but it can really tone and tighten the whole bod. Below are three exercises that I like to do everyday to maintain strength and balance.
- Pilates Hundred (for awesome abs and great stability)
Start lying on your back with your legs in a tabletop position, arms reaching up to the sky, inhale. Exhale, letting the arms lead roll your upper body forward so you’re gazing towards your thighs, legs straighten to the appropriate height for you (or stay in tabletop if that feels right). Make sure to leave a very small space under your low back to account for the natural curve there and to make sure you’re not gripping your superficial abs. Inhale, draw the belly button in as your abs wrap and exhale for five counts as the arms pulse up and down small and quick. Inhale for 5, exhale for 5, continuing until you’ve completed 10 cycles. Remember the primary objective is to strengthen your abs so beyond all the instructions make sure to focus on drawing the abs in deeply every time you exhale.
- Side Lying Leg Extension (to narrow and stabilize hips)
Start lying on your side in one long line with your bottom arm cradling your head. Bend your knees forward as though you’re sitting in a chair but keep your spine lengthened and your pelvis reaching straight below you, no tucking. Lift the top leg up to hip height, flex the foot and kick the leg straight out in front of you. Lift that leg up to the ceiling maintaining stability through the rest of the body, repeat 10 times. Second set, kick the leg straight out and turn toes to the ceiling, lift up and down, repeat 8 times. Final set, kick leg out and turn toes down to floor, tap the floor and lift up and down, repeat 8 times.
- Forearm Plank (all over strength and length)
Start on your stomach with your upper body supported by your forearms. Pressing firmly into your forearms, draw your abdominals in deeply, tuck your toes and float your pelvis up as you come into plank. Keep focusing on pressing into your arms, wrapping your abdominals, drawing your leg muscles up and not letting the hips sag. Work up to holding for 45 seconds to 1 min.
Gym Etiquette: The Do’s And Don’ts From Lacey Stone
Being a Fitness Professional is my career, it’s my passion, it’s my love. I’ve noticed some things happening over the years that I find particularly irritating. Gyms are a lot of people’s place of work and I want to set some ground rules.
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3 Reasons to Incorporate Yoga Into Your Fitness Routine…And Your Life!
As a yoga teacher and director, I commonly encounter busy women who are looking for wellness and balance in their life, but don’t want to add yet another line on their to-do lists. They’ve heard from friends that yoga is amazing, but aren’t sure if yoga’s benefits are worth switching out a spin class or missing that Grey’s Anatomy episode for. Well, aside from the fact that a good class feels like you’ve had an excellent workout and massage combined, here are three of my top reasons why you should incorporate yoga into your life:
The physical practice of yoga helps to bring a body into balance through the diverse practices of strength, flexibility, and endurance. Some women are naturally flexible yet they may lack the strength to do a push up or the stability to reign in their range of motion. Others might possess a great amount of strength, yet can’t touch their toes. A healthy body is a balanced body. Wherever you are at, whether you are a pro athlete or a pro “lounger” the practice of yoga will help bring your body into equanimity. You will develop long, lean muscles, with a strong core and calm mind.
Yoga can help improve your physical performance in other activities. For example, let’s say you’re a runner – yoga will help lengthen out your overtaxed hamstrings and will also provide core and upper body strengthening, not to mention improved mental concentration. This allows you to run longer and more comfortably (your core takes over when your legs get tired, and then your mind/breath work takes over when everything gets tired!), while also potentially decreasing your risk of injury.
Yoga provides mental benefits off the mat. During many a yoga practice you will be confronted with a pose or sequence that may challenge you, frustrate you, and you may even find yourself getting really annoyed at the teacher! When this happens, you learn how to start to tune out distractions and the chatter of your mind, coming back instead to your breath and focus, and finding your own best expression of the pose and your own way to be successful in the space. Take this technique off the mat when confronted with a challenging professional or personal issue and you will learn to respond to difficult situations with grace and ease. This is especially important for New Yorkers, as we all tend to go at full throttle day in and day out!