RUN10FEED10 in NYC

18 Aug

Women's Health Action Hero 2013

WHAT?

Looking for a good reason to amp up your fitness routine? Join me for RUN10FEED10 10k run in NYC!  The run is September 22nd & the proceeds go to fuel the Feed Foundation’s efforts to fight domestic hunger.

WHERE?

Sunday, September 22, 2013
Pier 84 at Hudson River Park
Run down the West Side Highway
7 AM

HOW?

Sign up for the NYC race here. Tomorrow (8/19) is the last day to get the early registration price. You can save on the registration fee now and until the spots fill up using promo code: WHSCHPOK

I am hosting a Boot Camp to Fight Hunger to fundraise for RUN10FEED10 organized powered by Uplift Studios (& lead by instructor yours truly) this Wednesday, 8/21 in Central park.  The class is 100% donation-based. I am leading it for free with the hope that you will consider donating to fight hunger. Your donation will provide meals for hungry children in our community. Donate here. 

Fit Tour of the City: Part 2

19 May
FitTourofTheCity

Exploring the City in Pursuit of Fitness
Photo by Jess Chin

Fit Tour of the City: Part 2
ongoing pursuit of  workouts in the city

Catering to the request of my friends and the whim of my curiosity, I have been exploring NYC one fitness center (and sometimes several) at a time. This is Part 2 of an ongoing series. Opinions are based purely on my personal impressions. Click here to read Part 1 of the Fit Tour.

$ = Comparative price tag
Each $ represents approx. $10 for per/class studios
For monthly membership clubs, $ = less than $50/month, $$ = $50-100/month, $$$= $100+

David Barton Gym 
$$$ Astor Place, Chelsea (also UWS location I haven’t tried)

What I loved: The first time I passed by David Barton Gym in Astor Place I couldn’t believe that what appeared to me through the large front glass windows to be a swanky nightclub lounge was really a gym. The gothic, candlelit lobby and baroque furniture and decor caught my eye as I was walking my one night on my way to dinner. Intrigue overcame me and I sauntered inside to confirm with the front desk staff that I had, in fact, entered a gym. This gym is unforgettable; I love the creativity that blows it out of the water compared to bland, generic weight rack and treadmill rooms. Nowhere in the entire space did harsh fluorescent lighting assault my senses.
Gym Perks: Live DJ several nights a week, coat check (comes in handy if you forget a lock), awesome atmosphere.
Personal Fave: Yoga classes in the Astor Place location. The Chelsea location has a very beautiful sunny yoga space but I preferred Astor Place’s dimly-lit space set aglow by wall of candles. My personal fave was the Tues/Thurs 8pm Power Vinyassa Yoga with Jimmy–he’s amazing.
My experience: I think this gym would be an amazing pick for the right person. I am not that person. As you can tell I am in awe of the style and premise but from a personal, practical point not all the pieces fell into place for me. The most important element of a gym for me is a schedule of classes I love. While I was thrilled with the yoga, the cardio & strength classes were not among my favorites. I thought they were well-executed and the trainers seemed professional but for the most part the tones and formats were just not my style. Men generally accounted for more than half of the classes I took and overall I felt like the gym carried a sophisticated masculine vibe.
Crowd factor: Peak hours got crowded but plentiful cardio equipment kept gym floor from feeling claustrophobic. At the more crowded times I did wish I saw more cleaning of the mats and machines. Definitely clean them yourself before using if you don’t want to take a chance.

Your Movement Wellness Center
$$ Midtown West

What I loved: Tucked away on 3rd floor of relatively calm Midtown West street, Your Movement Wellness Center takes a sharp pair of eyes to spot on your first visit but is worth the effort to enjoy some peace from the city’s chaos. I only tried the yoga so I will not speak to the rest of the class offerings but early morning and  yoga with instructor Viktoria was wonderful. The space was simple and relaxing. It was nice that they had two very comfortable curtained off changing rooms complete with full-length mirrors separate from the bathroom. I was also pleased with the level of cleanliness–all mats were wiped down immediately after class before storing.
Personal fave: To my extreme delight, Viktoria held some special couple’s yoga classes on the Saturday’s closest to Valentine’s Day. My boyfriend obliged (and will admit he had a great time) along with two of my friends and their boyfriends and we had a blast on our yoga triple date. If you have enough interested friends, it’s worth reaching out with an email–the owners are very responsive to patron’s requests.
Crowd factor: Total crowd escape. Again, this may only be true of the early morning and few Saturday classes that I took but I enjoyed zenning out with no more than a handful of people. If you’re looking for more personal attention this is a good space for you.

YogaWorks
$$ Union Square (and other locations)

What I liked: Good instructor, pleasant space. I enjoyed the class and felt well-stretched when I left. The tanks & tees sold in the studio’s shop were   appealing and could be fun gifts.
My experience: Overall, the location I visited felt like it could have been any yoga studio. I didn’t feel like I walked away with a sense of what makes YogaWorks unique. My biggest draw to return was that I was able to meet a friend there for class.
Crowd factor: The large studio space could accommodate mats so despite the high volume of people in the room we weren’t overly close.

Many more to come! Stay tuned for Part 3!

Fit Tour of the City: Part 1

31 Mar
What does this instructor do in her spare time? Go on fitness adventures around the city!

What does this instructor do in her spare time? Go on fitness adventures around the city! Photo by: Jess Chin.

I always say that finding the right fitness class make you feel like you’re coming “back to life” after a long day. Whether you’re looking to dance, kick, sculpt or stretch there’s something for everyone in NYC. This is Part 1 of a Fit Tour of the City. Opinions are my own. Enjoy!

$ = Comparative price tag
Each $ represents approx. $10 for per/class studios
For monthly membership clubs, $ = less than $50/month, $$ = $50-100/month, $$$= $100+

CRUNCH
$$ Union Square (& other locations)

What I loved: CRUNCH earns major points for me for its spunky, fun ambiance. I loved the snappy labels on doorways and the upbeat colors & design. On a personal note seeing the CRUNCH logo brought be back to the blast I had jamming to CRUNCH workout videos with my friends in Junior High in gym class…
Club perks: Class variety: Hip yoga room, cycling and group X studios. CRUNCH touts a creative class schedule that goes beyond the basics.
Personal fave: 2FLY® with Rachel W. (fab dance workout!)
Crowd factor: Expected packed classes. Get there early to snag a good spot! I felt like I could still move in the cardio/strength class but would have liked not having to get quite so cozy with my neighbors in yoga.
Dying to try: Haven’t had a chance yet but finding my inner surfer in a SURFSET® Fitness class is definitely on my need-to-try short list.

Sacred Sounds Yoga
$$  West Village

What I loved: Sacred Sounds Yoga has all the zen you can ask of a beautiful yoga studio. Think beautiful sunlight soaked rooms by day and candlelit flow by night. Oh and did I mention the Unnata Aerial Yoga? Joined my friend (Shir is my source of yoga inspiration) for  some awesome evening flow classes and managed to squeeze in a few day time classes as well. You can get a tough workout or a relaxing stretch depending on which class you pick.

Getting swept up in aerial yoga! Found it super relaxing.

Getting swept up in aerial yoga! Found it super relaxing.

Club perks: Late evening classes (like 7:45pm Candlelit Flow) make it possible to actually make it on time to weekday classes if your work schedule makes early classes tricky. Studio is kept fresh and pristine and there is a nice changing area with lockers so you can distance yourself from your cell for a stress-free 75 minutes.
Personal fave: Stretch & Relax Yoga with Masako was aptly named and exactly what I needed. After teaching 2 hours of strength and cardio classes earlier that day, stretching and relaxing in Masako’s class was the perfect dose of TLC my body craved.
Crowd factor: Room to breathe. You may find less distance than you’d like between your own mat and your neighbor’s on some peak hours classes but the studio does a good job maintaing quality by limiting class size so you can enjoy a class free from worry that your neighbor’s foot will land on you. Most of the classes I’ve attended here have been deliciously spacious.
What to bring: Your mat (there are rental mats for an extra $2 if you forget/don’t have), a small towel (room is kept warm), water (always!) & a lock for your locker.

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Make 2013 Your Best Year Yet!

16 Dec
Need some motivation?

Feel like snoozin’? Make a commitment to working out by planning out your week.

Make 2013 Your Best Year Yet!

5 tips for making this a phenomenal new year of fitness

#1 Start. Now.

“I’ll start this weekend,” or even “I’ll start tomorrow,” are recipes for perpetual procrastination and zero results. If you don’t have the time to go out for a workout, there are plenty of exercises you can start with in your home. Even just 10 minutes dedicated to pushups, planks, and squats can significantly impact your future success from a psychological standpoint because now you have followed through on your decision to begin.

If you find your self making excuses, remember that you will always be able to think of more. The question is then, “Is this important to me?” If yes, “gross weather,” “feeling tired,” “feeling full,” “too little time” etc. should be left a the door.

#2 Find your workout 

If you’ve already found it, you know what I am talking about. Your workout is your go-to class, routine, or pick-up game with friends that you know you love. Don’t give up on the search until you find it–whether it’s yoga in a candle-lit studio, a rigorous spin class, or a high-energy Zumba class, you feel great after the workout and look forward to your next session.

Try to be consistent with your go-to workout by holding your self to regular attendance at least once/week.

#3 I love you. You’re perfect. Now change.

Now that you’ve found that amazing workout that really does it for you, stick to it! However, continue to challenge yourself by trying new things. If your go-to routine is new to you keep it up and try for at least 2 sessions per week (in addition to any workouts you are doing in between of course). If you’ve had the same weekly routine for over a year, it’s time to change things up. Make a list of what your current workouts are doing that benefit you and what you think they are lacking. For example, if you are a diligent runner but scarcely hit the weight room try adding a strength training class to the mix. If you’re a well-stretched yogi but seldom break a sweat outside of your Bikram class, add some power walks, laps in the pool, or cardio class to your weekly mix. Be patient when trying a new workout. It often takes at least 3 sessions before you can master a new workout technique well enough to reap the full benefits.

#4 Plan & pack ahead

A well-stocked go-ready gym bag can do wonders for your health. Suddenly half of your excuses are gone when you have everything you need at your convenience. The perfect gym bag will vary from person to person but a few basics include: a lock, flip-flops for the shower, a full change of clothes (workout if you are arriving in street clothes or street clothes if you’re arriving in your workout gear), sneakers, socks, & hair tie, water bottle. Pack your bag the night before so that “running late” doesn’t stop you in the morning. If your class is after work, bring your bag with you so you can go to the gym right after work without stopping home first! If you stop at home, the couch, the friends, the family, etc. may lure you away from your plan.

#5 Go Social

Whether it means publicly declaring your next workout challenge on twitter, using Nike + to turn your friends into virtual cheerleaders, having a designated workout buddy, or meeting monthly with a personal trainer, find a way to let others know about your commitment. When you let others know about your specific plans for workout, you are more likely to hold yourself to it. Better yet, working out with a friend can make the experience one that you both can bond over and look forward to sharing. If you’re friends don’t share your enthusiasm, introduce yourself to others in a class you enjoy taking.

To really kick things up a notch, consider splurging on some personal training sessions. Do your research to find the right trainer for you. If you’re on a tight budget, even just one session can be a worthy investment so long as the trainer provides you with a workout plan to follow after your session.

I am  currently offering personal training sessions for those friends and friends-of-friends in NYC … If we haven’t met, I am only taking referrals through mutual friends but I’ll be happy to share some tips on what to look for as you search. Feel free to contact me for more info.

28 Nov

Here's the Dish

Green Bliss Smoothie
with pineapple, banana, and spinach

Ingredients

-3/4 cup frozen pineapple chunks (unsweetened)
-1/2 cup frozen chopped spinach
– 1/2 ripe banana (fresh or frozen)
-3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond breeze (or coconut, or soy milk)

Method

Combine ingredients in your blender. The frozen pineapple and spinach are key for the texture. For a thicker smoothie use a frozen banana half (use fresh instead for a “less-spoon-required” version). Blend until smooth. Make sure the spinach is well blended so you do not end up with noticeable pieces in your drink.

Flavor Profile

The sweet flavors of the pineapple and banana make this a perfect green smoothie for green smoothie beginners. Pineapple dominates the flavors in this blend. If the thought of frozen spinach in your drink sounds daunting you will be pleasantly surprised by the mild flavor of the leaves which can rarely be detected past the sweet…

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Grete’s Great Gallop: My 1st Half-Marathon!

13 Oct

Hoping to conquer my next challenge tomorrow: running a half marathon!

Running Grete’s Great Gallop tomorrow, my first ever half-marathon (13.1 miles) in Central Park.

I took the unconventional stance that I would rather fill my training hours with a balanced mix of cross training than log too much time purely running. The regime: lots of zumba, sprinkling of strength training, and weekly yoga. The result: (We will find out tomorrow!)
True runners are not likely to agree with me here but my personal goal is to train for high-endurance and injury prevention rather than a single event. My theory is that the body isn’t meant to move in only one direction.

Which is why I love Zumba… forward, backward, lateral and rotational movements are all part of the mix.

My training sched (approx):
Running: 3x/week 2-3 miles + Zumba 3 hours/week + Strength 1-2 hours/week + Yoga 2-3 hours/week +foam roll at least 3o mins/week. I also walk briskly 40-60minutes a day and try to take the stairs at every opportunity (it adds up when your bf lives in a 6-floor walk up).

I have also logged a few longer runs with hills, including a 6.5 mile run last weekend. I run the 8-mile Turkey Trot each Thanksgiving so hopefully the extra distance will not seem like too much further!

Wish me luck tomorrow! And please tweet me any running tips @andreaschpok.

Shape Up Saturdays at McCarren Park

14 Aug

Strike work-life balance by making some much needed time for yourself. Saturdays are a great time to include a little workout TLC!

Wake up your weekend with some FREE Zumba this Saturday (and every Saturday through mid-October) at McCarren Park Recreation Center. The class is free thanks to a city-wide program geared to get New Yorkers moving called “Shape Up NYC.

WHAT: Zumba Cardio Dance Classes (high-energy cardio class great for all dance and fitness levels)

WHEN: Saturdays 11:30am-12:30pm

WHERE: McCarren Park Recreation Center (776 Lorimer Street, Brooklyn NY)

COST: FREE!