I've been working out on a near-daily basis for years. I'm prone to obsessive and neurotic behavior (like most New Yorkers), so having an hour every day where I can unplug and forget about whatever stress may have come my way is something for which I'm incredibly grateful. One of my favorite trainers, Noah Neiman, recently said in one of his classes that "we have to fight for progress — no one should expect for it to come on its own," which served as a great reminder that even those of us who are consistent about our fitness routine could use a revamp every so often.
Here's a look at some of the things I'm working on to help revamp my fitness routine.
A State of Mind
Working out is a huge part of my life. At least 75% of the people who know me think my dedication is insane, but this Nike ad sums up exactly why it's such an important part of my life.
HSS Runner's Performance Program
Going to HSS for some performance testing was one of the best things I've ever done. At the time I went, my hip was bothering me so much that I could barely walk without limping. They not only helped me develop more efficient running techniques, they told me exactly what to look for when picking running shoes.
The Right Sneakers
From my run test at HSS, I learned that I have a pronating foot. A huge part of why I spent weeks limping around was because I increased the intensity of my runs while wearing neutral running instead of stability running shoes. It's been a few months since I've transitioned into stability shoes and the difference is enormous. I had myself filmed running in New Balance, Nike and Newton shoes and the New Balance stability shoes gave me by far the best strides. I have to say, I'm still partial to Nike designs, but when it comes to sneakers I'll take performance over aesthetics any day. Plus, New Balance has been upping their game. Case in point, these sneakers...cute right!? In tandem with sneakers, moisture-wicking socks are one of the most undervalued athletic apparel items.
It's hard to get a good workout when you're not feeling good. I rarely feel good in tight clothes, so finding performance apparel is an ongoing challenge. For the most part, I work out in cotton tights and a tank top/sports bra — cotton is pretty much the worst when you're sweating! Luckily, I hit the jackpot with these New Balance separates. They not only don't leave me feeling like I'm in a sausage casing, they're brightly colored, lightweight and moisture-wicking.
High Intensity Interval Training
I'm a huge fan of Barry's Bootcamp because they put as much emphasis on cardio as they do strength training. You alternate every 12 minutes or so from one to the other (unfortunately the person I was alternating with during a recent class was prone to profuse sweating as you can see).
Most women are afraid of "bulking up" and therefore avoid using heavy weights and doing muscle strengthening work like pushups. From spending years doing both, I can attest to this being a myth. Moreover, muscles burn more calories than fat, so even though I now find myself using 15 lb. weights for moves I once used 8 lbs. for, I am nowhere near what one would consider "bulky."
A big part of taking my fitness routine to the next level has been to constantly switch up my routine. It's why I love going to Barry's — no two workouts are ever the same so your body is never getting used to one thing or able to coast through a workout. Look what one of the trainers, Patrick Frost, did with the benches for a recent workout!
Whenever I can, I try to work out next to professionals. Luckily, Barry's Bootcamp is very popular with athletes; on any given day you can find yourself working out next to Apolo Ohno or an instructor (pictured here is Courtney Paul) taking one of the other instructor's classes.
Working out is so much more fun when you're around people you like. I try to get my friends to join me as often as I can.
Post Workout Shakes
To help muscles recover and to replace glycogen stores, it's really important to eat a mix of protein and carbohydrates within two hours of finishing a workout (ideally within 20 minutes). I used to be really bad about this, but I'm getting better. A shake is an easy solution.
EBOOST has replaced coffee as fuel for my morning workouts. The Pink Lemonade tastes amazing and it gives me an instant energy boost without a crash. I've also started taking nutritional supplements. Even though I'm on the fence as to how effective they are, I figure I have nothing to lose seeing if I feel a difference after a few months.
Food bars have become another easy way for me to fuel post-workout (or pre-workout when I work out in the middle of the day). Lara Bars just came out with ones called ALT, which are made with protein sourced from peas. Vega bars are also favorites; they taste amazing and the man behind them, Brendan Brazier, is one of the most inspiring athletes.
I'm obsessed with the hot power yoga classes at Pure Yoga, but a key to healing my hip and to progressing in my practice has been to branch out from doing vinyasas exclusively under heat vents. I've been trying my best to work in ashtanga classes, mysore, and candlelight yoga.
Nike Run Club
It's been proven a million times over that high intensity interval training is the most effective way to work out (i.e. running as fast as you can for 45 seconds and then jogging/walking for 45 seconds), but working in steady runs via Nike's Run Club has been a great way to breathe new life into my workout routine. Plus, it's a cool way to be social and meet new people.
I'm obsessed with my Vitamix. There are countless days where I eat more sweets and carbs than I'd like, but no matter how many "cheat foods" I eat, there's pretty much no day that goes by where I don't get my required fill of fruits and vegetables whether via a juice or otherwise.
Check out all of our style challenges and tell us who revamped it best: