Studio Review: Cyc Fitness Astor in NYC

Even though I only teach yoga, I like to venture out & take other fitness classes. I do a lot of my own cross-training in addition to yoga & running, including HIIT, circuits, & BBG. Any type of intense workout that involved pushing physical limits = my cup of tea.

While scrolling through instagram, I found  Cyc Fitness – a cycling studio in NYC. They feature a lot of their instructors, and lets just say they are all FIT. And I am willing to try any type of workout where the instructor is in shape – because if the instructor/owner is in shape, then they obviously know a thing or 2 about exercise (hence, why I’ve stuck with Melt Hot Yoga & Fitness for the past 2 years!). Also, I’m a sucker for well-curated instagram posts… So, I decided to take a Sunday morning class with Jordan at the Astor location. I was able to sign up on their website ahead of time very easily, and could choose which bike I wanted to ride + the size of weights for your arm workout.

Unfortunately for me, I stayed out a bit too late on Saturday night & only got 1 hour of sleep (It was my birthday! Totally called for :)).(Also – hence the lack of personal pics taken)  Fortunately, the instructor had enough energy to power an entire cruise ship, so I felt absolutely amazing the entire time!

To start off: I got lost. It was pouring rain, and I walked in circles for a solid 10 minutes before realizing I had already walked past the location. (1 hour of sleep will do that to you) So upon arriving, I was soaking wet – which, I didn’t care at that point, because I was going to get sweaty from class anyways. So if you are going to take a Cyc class, just know that the classrooms are located in an actual fitness facility – it’s not like a free-standing studio.

cyc fitness astor

The staff at the front greeted me & pointed me downstairs to the actual Cyc studio – where I checked in with the staff, who were super nice. They gave me a pair of cycling shoes, and I hurried to throw my things in a locker in the locker room. When walking into the room, I was a little confused, as 1) I RARELY take cycling classes, 2) it was dark and I had to ask someone to help me find my bike, and 3) class was already starting and I had no idea what I was doing as a first timer. So, I found my bike, tried to adjust my bike to a height I THINK was correct, then attempt to clip in my shoes. I’m am seriously the biggest blonde when it comes to this stuff – I was worried my shoes were going to come flying loose the entire class because I never heard the “click” that is supposed to sound when you are secured in properly.

With all of the above being said, it wasn’t the best first-timer experience… However, the staff was really nice, and the workout itself was so, so, awesome.. and I’m pretty laid back, so I wasn’t upset about the lack of instruction.

cyc-hells-kitchen

Bikes were lined up in rows, surrounding the instructors bike, which sat on a platform in the front/middle of the room. Lights were dimmed, and there were different colored lights on.The instructor began the workout, and it.was.amazing. As I said before, the instructor had a ton of energy, and the class (including myself) was very loud & responsive! The playlist was awesome, and Jordan did a GREAT job of creating the perfect atmosphere – controlling the playlists, the different lights, and he never.stopped. moving. 

About halfway through class, we did an arm workout with weights that were put on the bike ahead of time. Let’s just say that I’m glad I chose the lower weight… Not sure if it was lack of sleep or the fact that I had fit in 6 workouts in the past 48 hours & my arms were dead, but it.was.hard. Or maybe everyone else there was super strong? Regardless, it was definitely a step up from the arm workout Soul Cycle does – I felt like I was actually building strength (and sweating buckets of water).

At the end, we did sprints, and the lights were dimmed completely, so it was just cycling & pushing yourself as hard as possible in the dark… music blaring… perfect way to end the class. Afterwards, we cooled down with some stretching to finish the workout.

cyc

I returned my shoes in a big bucket near the front desk, and grabbed a towel before heading to the locker rooms. Since the studio is located in the gym, you have full access to showers & all amenities… super bonus!

Summary: If I lived in NYC, or Cyc Fitness opened in Ohio, I would definitely buy a monthly pass. Coming from me, this is unheard of – I’ve never bought a monthly pass anywhere in my life, let alone a cycling studio. The instructor was great, and I felt like I got in a great workout! The price might seem a little high, but with all of the amenities included, it’s not too bad. Also, there are deals for packages/monthly passes, so it ends up being cheaper than you think! So go take a class here – you won’t be disappointed! I’ll be back in NYC in  August, and will definitely head back to Cyc for round 2.

Pros: Nice Staff. Cyc is located within a David Barton Gym – which means, full access to bathroom/showers/lockers/towels/amenities. Filtered water refilling station. Can choose bike you want to ride when signing up for class. Free towel is set on top of bike when you walk in. Lockers for personal items (don’t forget to bring a lock!). Shoe rental included in class cost. Every mile you ride = $ donated to the Challenged Athlete’s Foundation.

Cons: Location a little confusing. No instruction or help to get in/out of bike + location of bike from staff as a first-timer.

Cost: $28 for a 45 minute single class pass (There are better deals when buying multiple classes at a time)

*All pics taken from cycfitness.com/

Studio Review: Laughing Lotus in NYC

When ultimately choosing what studios to check out while traveling, I rely heavily on locals, friends, and my own encounters/knowledge of teachers. I generally like to let fate lead me to the right places at the right time, as it never disappoints. With that being said, back in March, a friend told me to head to Laughing Lotus for a an awesome yoga class. So what did I do? I put it off. And my only justification for that, now, is that I was meant to take 2 classes this time around – because honestly, the instructors were AMAZING and beautiful, and I learned so much from them!

First off: I chose Victor Colleti for a “Fly” Class on a Friday afternoon:
Our fearless FLY team share their secret tools for taking flight. This spicy class is loaded with inversions and arm balances! ADVANCED

Definitely right up my ally, because I do love to stand on my hands 🙂

Upon arriving at the studio, I walked up 3 flights of stairs and was immediately greeted with very, very bright colors. Orange, pink… Holy Moly. If I wasn’t awake, I was now!

I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, so I just watched what everyone else was doing – walk through the hallways to a room that opened up to the main area. There were cubbies & benches to store your shoes & things, so I took my shoes off & walked up to the front desk. Everyone was so nice signing me in, and they directed me to the changing room/bathroom area (I was in sweaty clothes from a 4 mile run I had just gone on & realllly needed to change!).

Ok. So, this is my least favorite thing about the studio – the changing room is covered by a curtain, which means, if anyone walked in & out, people outside the room would see your bare butt peeking out if you were changing. There is also only 1 bathroom. There were a decent amount of people coming in & out of there, so I guess your only option is to wait for the bathroom to open up to privately change in there, or quickly get over your fear of being nude in front of complete strangers. I chose the latter, because honestly, I don’t care. It was just super crammed in there, and I just needed more space to crawl out of my sweaty clothes.

laughing lotus

After changing, I refilled my waterbottle with filtered water & entered the room (SEE, i told you it was bright!!!). There were cubbies to my right where I stored my belongings, and I picked up a block before settling down.

The instructor, Victor, walks in – he seriously has the most wonderful long, brown hair ever, btw – instantly cheering up the class.
We started out doing a breathing exercise, and talked about Prana – it was such an amazing talk about Prana & life force, and I loved how he explained it. He smiled & laughed the entire class, encouraging students, calling them by name… and I couldn’t stop smiling! There were so many fun people in that class, and I loved performing the sequences being taught (um, super HARD but amazing!). By the end, I was super sweaty & so incredibly happy I chose this exact class to attend!

Laughing Lotus Selfie Wall

Following class, I chatted with Victor briefly and met one of the owners, Dana! She was so welcoming and wonderful, giving me a few free passes to hand out to my friends & encouraged me to come back! (yes, I will be in a few weeks!) Before leaving, I took a selfie with Victor in front of the selfie wall – because obviously, every cool studio has a selfie wall 🙂

laughing lotus_victor

Second time around: I chose to squeeze in a 1 hour class before flying back to Columbus on a Sunday afternoon:
The Lotus hour:
Our GLOBALLY-LOVED signature flow is fluid, adventurous and totally transformative. We could go on, but you need to get to class.
Get all the #lotuslove in 60 minutes ALL LEVELS

The teacher for the class was Felipe Gonzalez  (who, btw, is originally from Cuyahoga Falls, OH – something I just found out by looking on the site.. I literally find Ohio people EVERYWHERE I travel!). He has shiny, beautiful black hair  & the voice of an angel!

Class started out with Felipe chanting & playing the Harmonium – then the rest of the class chimed in. The flow was beautiful, non-stop, and the cues absolutely perfect. This man was made to teach yoga! At the end of the class, the Harmonium was brought back out, and the class finished with 6+ rounds of chanting – the room literally sounded like a choir of angels, I kid you not. This man has beautiful vocals!

laughing lotus NYC nina elise yoga

One of the Amazing Murals at the Studio!

Unfortunately, surviving off of 1 hour of sleep, I got out of there and went to grab a bite to eat with a friend instead of staying and chatting. However, I will be back to take Felipe’s class again! Seriously, so so good!

In summary: Come take a class here. The studio is bright, the staff is kind, and the teachers are amazing.

Pros: Wonderful. Colorful. Inviting. Amazing Teachers & Staff. Can store personal items in room you were practicing in. Filtered water refilling station. Lots of blocks, straps, blankets available for use. Can rent mats/towels.

Cons: Small changing room & only 1 shower (bring flip flops!) + 1 bathroom – all pretty typical for most studios in NYC

Cost: $20 single class pass

I Hate Running

Wait, what?

Yes, that’s correct. Don’t get me wrong – I love how I feel during & after a good, slow, short run – but a long, tough run?  All. Mental.  Running is not something that I am a natural at – which, if you know me, makes me really, really mad. Being super competitive by nature, if I’m not good at something, I am going to practice it and do it over, and over and over again… pushing myself until I’ve gotten to a place where I think I am good at it, or have mastered it to the level that satisfies me.

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Unfortunately, running is something that I never feel satisfied with. Whether I’m running a 10 minute easy training pace, or a 7:30 minute race pace, it never feels “easy.” There are people who rarely workout and can just get up and run an easy 7 minute pace (especially men.. do you guys have hidden springs in your legs or something??), and there are people like me, and maybe you, who try and try and can’t get past a certain point unless an immense amount of time is dedicated to getting better.

So why do I run? I run because it’s a challenge. I run because I want to improve myself. And because mentally, it’s a battle I have won once I have completed a race. I also run because others can’t – and as I’ve been physically limited & unable to walk, I am grateful that I have the ability to do so now.

You are probably asking… where the heck is she going with this? While the title of this post is “I hate Running,” I wanted to use this as a gateway to speak to a few deeper thoughts about pushing ourselves, and the motives behind our decisions & actions.

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I stumbled upon a video about a man named David Goggins – maybe his name rings a bell? He is a Navy SEAL, former USAF Tactical Air Control Party member (served in Iraq and Afghanistan), an ultramarathon runner, ultra-distance cyclist, and triathlete. I watched a video of him on Runners World (also see below), explaining his mindset and the motivation behind his active life. [Read his story here – you will seriously be left wondering WTF HAVE I BEEN DOING WITH MY LIFE?? And also want to try to run a 100 mile race. Almost.]

davidgoggins

While he hates running, he does it to raise money for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, which gives full college grants to children of Special Ops personnel killed in the line of fire. He runs for others. And not only that, he runs  because it’s hard. He doesn’t race because he wants to finish – he does it because there is no end. He is constantly looking for ways to push himself past the edge, and his only limitation is himself.

He speaks of the 40% rule – something the Navy Seals live by – meaning, when you think you are done, you are only 40% done. So after you think you’ve reached your limit, you have another 60% of reserves to keep going. Shit – right?!  But not unheard of.

runhardermeme

99% of people who start a marathon, finish. Seems crazy, but it’s true! So for anyone that has ever run a full, or a half, or is even just beginning to run – understands the mental limits they have to push past in order to keep going. When your muscles are burning, your legs feel like lead, and your lungs are on fire, you don’t stop. Why? Because you know, deep down, you are capable of so. much. more. There is something inside of us, that when taken out of our comfort zone, we can tear down our limitations and do things that seem impossible – mentally, emotionally, and physically.

If you aren’t inspired after reading/watching David Goggins story, I don’t know what else will. There are people that come into this world to break down barriers & help others realize their greatness when so much of us seem to forget it, and he is definitely one of them. So next time, when you are out on a run, or doing something that seems uncomfortable or hard, remember to ask yourself – “Am I really at my limit, or can I push myself – even just a little bit – more?” Before you know it, you’ll be running faster, doing things you have only ever dreamed of, evolving into a more bad-ass version of your current self, AND inspiring others along the way.

Feel that fire inside of you, and light the way.

XoXo Neens

 

Fueling for Long Runs + St Jude

Ok, this is my last post on the St Jude yoga fundraiser, I SWEAR! And it’s only to talk about how much of a success it was! I’ve never organized or put on an event like this before, so I had no idea what to expect. The amount of people that came out and donated totally blew me away – 36 people showed up, and over $400 was donated to St Jude!! 

St Jude yoga fundraiser Land Grant

We all squeezed into the brewery, and I led a 45 minute vinyasa flow. People that had never done yoga before showed up and did amazing! And the support from my friends.. no words.. The entire event just filled my heart up. This was such an important event to me, and I could not have done it without the support of strangers, friends, New friends, & family.

Yoga St Jude Yoga Fundraiser

So thank you, thank you, to everyone who has supported St Jude… These children need all the help they can get after being diagnosed with cancer, and your donations help make the journey to recovery much less stressful.

If you would still like to donate, you still have time – a few days left to raise the last $600. And did I mention I’ll be matching every single donation that comes in?? So really, only $300 more!  Every dollar is appreciated!

You can donate to St Jude here 🙂

Ok. So just to give everyone a recap of what’s been happening in my life:
– New part time job (in addition to my full time AND teaching yoga) – and I don’t even really consider it a job, because it’s fun!
– Planning/packing for my NYC & Florida trip in 2 weeks!
– Teaching an arm balance workshop next Sunday
-I’ve cut my runs down to spare the tendinitis in my foot. So 3 runs a week instead of 4, and doing acupuncture 1x week, cryotherapy after my long runs, Rolfing, and Active Release Therapy. (let’s just say i’m taking a hiatus from running after this half marathon for awhile…) But, so far, so good! I am going for a 14 mile run on Saturday before I begin to taper… the race is 2 weeks away!!

Old woman running

Sometimes I feel like an old woman with my running injuries

I’ve been experimenting with fuel for my long runs, and I think I’ve figured out exactly what I need:

  • Oatmeal + banana + protein bar 2 hours before run
  • 1 gu w/caffeine 5 minutes before run
  • jelly beans/sports chews every few miles
  • 1 Gu + 1/2 banana at mile 5/6 AND mile 9/10 (I mix together beforehand & put in ziplock bags or reusable food pouches)
  • Taking sips of electrolyte water from my 12 oz handheld water bottle  every once in awhile (I grab plain water along the route when I eat my gus).. BTW – just bought this, and I don’t know how I lived without it before!!!

My metabolism is fast and I burn through food really, really quickly. I joke that I need to run with a burrito in my back pocket to eat halfway through my runs.

hamster burrito

Yes, this is a hamster eating a tiny burrito

Side note – I found out about Enduropacks online and it has been AMAZING for electrolyte replacement during my long runs. I struggle with that anytime I workout, so about 5-10 sprays in my water helps keep my levels balanced (the spray lasts a long time!). And no, I didn’t get paid or get anything free to write this… just another runner sharing tips that have helped me! 🙂

So what does everyone else take with them on long runs? Any tips on what to drink, eat, do, or NOT do?? 

Have you ever ran a race for charity? If so, what charity did you support & why? I’d love to hear your experience!

Arm Balance Workshop

Hi!

As promised, I have been working on putting on more inversion workshops for all you wonderful Yogis!

Sunday, March 13th @ 1pm – Learn the basics of Crow & Arm Balances!

Columbus Yoga Arm Balance Workshop

This workshop is perfect for anyone, whether you can do an arm balance or not. It’s all about breaking down the poses so they are easier (and less scary!) to get into 🙂

Check out the schedule & sign up here: Melt Hot Yoga Fitness in Westerville
Or the mind-body app on your phone

If arm balances aren’t your thing, don’t worry – I teach 2 different classes on Sunday mornings:

8 am: Melt Hot Power Vinyasa
This class brings together the strength challenge of holding postures for 5 breaths with the cardio challenge of flowing in between asanas. Practitioners should have a basic understanding of fundamental yoga postures, vinyasa style yoga and the unique style of Melt Hot Yoga.

9:30 am: Melt Hot Vinyasa Yoga 1
This is a great place to Learn the fundamentals of yoga postures and flowing in a vinyasa style, one breath, one movement.Taught to super chill tunes in a room heated to 99 degrees and 50 % humidity.  This class is great for both beginners and advanced students wishing to deepen their understanding of vinyasa style yoga and to grow their understanding of the various asanas( poses) as well as learn the unique style of Melt Hot Yoga.

 Remember, first timers can take their first yoga or fitness class for free!

See you all at Melt <3

Weekend Update: Aerial Yoga, Acupuncture, Cryotherapy & More!

It’s been a while since I last posted, and a LOT has happened! After coming back from California, I had a sinus infection that lasted over 2 weeks! Between being sick and taking the last 2 weeks off from running (WHAT?!), I found other ways to fill my time that were less stressful (I can’t NOT be productive, it’s just not in my blood to be ;)).

So to start off – I have peroneal tenonitis. I don’t know how, and the only thing I can think that could have caused this is 1) my shoes, and 2) upping my mileage too quickly. I ran 9 miles the weekend I got back from San Francisco, and the next day I my foot started to bother me while teaching 2 yoga classes in the morning, and a 2-hour handstand workshop in the afternoon. By the end of the day, I couldn’t even put weight on my foot. It literally came out of nowhere! So, with less than 1.5 months before my half marathon, I couldn’t walk, and had no idea why. Cue panic.

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Take me back to running in Sunny SF!

So what did I do? Research like crazy, begin LOTS of stretching and rehabilitation, and stopped running immediately. The peroneals are actually these skinny tendons that run up the outside of your calf. The tendons connect to a bone on the outside of your foot, which is exactly where I had my pain. Most people have pain around their ankles, but mine was closer to where the tendon attaches. [Tendonitis generally occurs due to weak/tight calf muscles, running too many miles too soon, running a lot of hills/uneven terrain, or bad tennis shoes.]

Thinking I wasn’t going to be able to run in the NYC Half marathon, I tried several different methods to try to heal up my foot as quickly as possible:

  1. Stop running & stretch the peroneals, using a lacross ball to loosen up the calf/legs (so.painful.)
  2. Do Cryotherapy (Basically standing in a freezer that’s NEGATIVE 170 degrees for 3 minutes). Some of the benefits of cold therapy are increased muscle recovery, increased energy, and reducing inflammation.

ohio cryotherapy (2)

After stripping down to my underwear and putting on 2 pairs of gloves & socks, I got to hang out in a freezer for 3 minutes. Definitely not the most enjoyable experience, but a ton of athletes use it, so I was down to try anything to help my foot!

ohio cryotherapy gahanna

Freezing my buns off

3. Acupuncture: I’ve done this before, but with no results. However, I found someone who does more of dry-needling – a liiiitle more intense, where the needle goes deeper into the muscle to release myofascial trigger points, muscular, and connective tissues. Definitely painful. Definitely worth it. After just 2 sessions, I’ve noticed relief in the tightness of my tendon, IT band pain on my left knee gone, AND increased energy (bonus!). I go for my 3rd session tomorrow morning, and I’ll be continuing this a few times a month (or at least until my race is over!). Thanks to Jess who blogged about her acupuncture… so glad I gave it another try!

4. Rolfing: Treatment is described as a “holistic system of soft tissue manipulation and movement education that organize(s) the whole body in gravity.” (Wiki) I did this about 1 year ago – you can read about it here and here and here – but decided I needed a refresher. My hips have been super tight and out of whack since august, and no amount of stretching or chiropractic adjustments have been able to help. My first appointment consisted of working on the feet & lower legs – breaking up scar tissue & working with the soft tissue. Def not a pleasant experience, but I’m really hoping that these sessions will be able to bring relief for this tendinitis, as well as help my hips/lower back. More to come on this!

5. Sports Doctor – I had x-rays done, just to be sure nothing was broken. My dr gave me a brace & an anti-inflammatory, and said to just continue with cross training. I also didn’t need physical therapy, and I should be fine (my foot was starting to feel better after ~ 1 week). So Good News!!

In my time off, I did cross training like cycling & surreal stride to keep up with leg strength & cardio. I also decided to try Aerial Yoga – this requires a bit of thinking, as you have to figure out what part of your body is in the hanging silks when you are moving around… but it was a lot of fun!

Nina Elise aerial yoga

Upon walking into the room, there are special-cut yoga mats on the ground with silks hanging from the ceiling.

Yoga on high ariel yoga

The best part was Savasana – the instructor gave you a little swing – wrapped up in your silk – and it felt like you were hanging over a lake in the mountains. It was so peaceful!

nina elise yoga on high aeriel yoga

So after all this madness, and after all these different treatments for my tendinitis, I finally began running again – 2 miles this past Saturday, and 3 on Monday. I only had a bit of uncomfortable feeling the first mile or so, but after that, my foot felt fine. So fingers crossed I can finish training & run the half marathon in NYC!

Regardless, the main reason for doing this race is to raise money for St Jude – so I will still be making the trip out there, and plan on hitting my goal of raising $1,500! (You can donate here :)) Also – I’m putting on a Yoga charity event – I’ll be posting more details soon, but you can sign up here! It’s a donation-based yoga class at a brewery.. can’t go wrong with that 😉

What has everyone else been up to? Have you ever tried acupuncture, rolfing, or cryotherapy?

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