NYC Marathon Training Week #3 – Monday

Mondays are cross-training or rest, depending on how I’m feeling. This Monday was also a holiday, so Matt and I hatched the ambitious plan of biking to the Scarborough Bluffs and back.

Halfway there, it started to rain. We decided to power through, though. And, as a I stood at the edge of a cliff in the pouring rain, I realized this is EXACTLY what I was doing on August 4, 2013 – when I hiked the East Coast Trail with JK.

I guess this should be a new Erin Balser tradition.

It cleared up by the time we biked to the park, so we did all the trails and decided to get a quick bite before we headed back. Expect, the rains came down. Hard. And they didn’t stop. We finally caved and biked home in the rain.

40k in 3 hours. My legs feel like rubber. I’m not sure if running tomorrow is a good idea.

 

 

I Got Spun

 

What: Cycling
When: Monday at 6:45pm
Where: Get Spun (129 Spadina Avenue)
Who: Matt Kenny

First off, Ben I have to thank you for your Get Spun suggestion. Matt Kenny is great.

I went to Matt’s cycling class Monday night just to tell you I did take you up on your suggestion. Day 27 into my 30 day challenge I NEEDED to do something other than yoga. Don’t get me wrong this much yoga has been good, great in fact. But I’ve been aching for something else. Anything else! So some form of cardio — spinning — sounded like a excellent plan. On Monday evening I walked the few steps after work, in the raging blizzard, to get my spin on. And, Ben, you were absolutely right I wasn’t distracted at all. Instead I was insanely focused.

 

Spinning. My saviour from all things yoga.

 

When Matt walked into the spinning room I’m not going to lie he didn’t look at all like I had pictured. When I heard “best trainer ever” I instantly thought big, scary, beefy drill sergeant. This is not Matt, at all. Not that this is a bad thing! This is much preferred (at least in my opinion), I was more confident and relaxed going into my ride knowing Matt couldn’t throw me off the bike over his head. But, don’t get me wrong, Matt is force to be reckoned with. His intention is to make you work, and that’s exactly what we did.

To my disappointment, he was feeling a bit under the weather this night and wasn’t the full on yelling machine that I guess he’s known for. This was very upsetting to hear because I wanted to experience the full blown operation. Next time Matt, I hope.

Now I have to dedicate this post to a certain (cycling enthusiast) work colleague — you know who you are.

Okay, back to the important stuff. Matt is a killer cycling coach (sick or not). His precision to proper spinning form and technique kept me focused my entire ride. And his music mix of up beat, techno funk (that’s what I’m going to call it anyway) was energetic – and we all know how important the beat can be to your ride. This ambience was contagious and I soaked in every word Matt spoke – from the purpose for my ride to where I was going. I wasn’t going to waste my class – as Matt kindly referred to when you contemplate giving up or not pushing yourself. A big waste of your 20 bucks, that’s what that is! At this point I was more worried about disappointing him than myself.

Now I’m down to 2 classes left on my 5 class card. Ben what do you suggest? I was left wanting more Matt. Perhaps another cycling class is in order.

 

Take this class if: you’re a fairly experienced rider wanting a great reminder to why you spin.

 

Hey Fit Girl: I want to get fit on the Danforth

 

The other day, Two Fit Girls got their first piece of reader email from someone who was not our mom (hi mom!). A pal, who shall remain nameless so you will not get the opportunity to judge her lack of athletic prowess, sent me this note:

Hey fit girl!

Can you make any recommendations for where a totally(really)-unathletic-non-sports-playing girl could join some kind of unintimidating class, maybe spin, to attempt some kind of exercise?

I’ve briefly tried yoga, and was not very excited by it, and a gym membership is a commitment I am not ready for. Are there un-scary spin classes, preferably along the Danforth? I need motivation!

 

 

I’m primarily a runner, so I asked a few other fit girls for some advice, did some internet research and asked a lot of questions. I ended up with these three options for you:

 

1) Spinning at Energia (164 Danforth Avenue)

 

What I like about Energia is that they provide options, but it is based on core, classic fitness. If you’re looking for some cardio, there’s spinning or running. If you want to do some weight training that’s not at all intimidating, there’s kettlebell. And if you’re looking to wind down, there’s yoga. Classes are only 45 minutes, so if you’re finding it to be too much, you can find solace in the fact it will be over soon!

Introductory fees: $10 for your first class

 

2) Rock climbing at The Rock Oasis (388 Carlaw Avenue)

 

You are one lucky lady, because Toronto’s best rock climbing centre is now at your doorstep. Leslieville is a short run away (or walk or bus ride) from the Danforth and rock climbing is the kind of work out that kicks your ass — but you don’t realize it until you are home and you can’t lift your arm. The walls are scaled for level of difficulty, so there’s no need to be concerned about looking like an idiot or your first run being too tough. The Rock Oasis allows you to grow as your skills and interest do. I recommend you rope in a friend and take their intro lesson together. Rock climbing can get pricey for the casual participant, but it’s the perfect outing to shake up your regular fitness routine.

Introductory fees: $35 for the Learn to Climb package

 

3) Hip Hop Yoga or Zumba Bootcamp at EnergyXchange (698 Queen Street East)

 

If you’re concerned about your lack of coordination or athletic prowess shining through, take one of these classes. Everyone looks ridiculous, and that’s the point. It’s about loosening up, enjoying your body and having fun. EnergyXchange has tons of crazy classes, including Joga Blast, Gravity Turbo and Pilates: Hardcore, meaning no two workouts would be the same. These classes will let you let go of any concern about yoga being too zen or dance classes needing too much coordination.

Introductory fees: Their Around the Club 14 Day Pass is $20 for two weeks of unlimited classes.

 

Good luck! If you try any of these out, let me know. We could always use a guest fit girl post. 😉

 

Have a fit girl inquiry of your own? Email erin@twofitgirls.com.

 

 

Spin + Yoga = Spynga

 

What: 60 minute spyngaFlow
When: Tuesday @ 6:15pm
Where: Spyna: the Yoga & Cycling Studio (1415 Bathurst Street)
Who: Joanna Rosenberg

 

What do you get when you combine spinning with a little yoga? You get Spynga of course.

 

This looks crazy, right? This is Spygna.This image is from Spynga's Facebook page.

 

Sypnga?! I know, this was my thought too just over a year ago when I was a Spynga virgin. I first heard about this “Spin-ga” from a colleague at work. She would rave to me about this amazing place that offered classes where you spin and do yoga. Spinning and Yoga… say whaaat?!? Was there even such a thing? Apparently so because not to long after this, I found myself making the treck to Bathurst and St. Clair to give Spynga a whirl. I don’t travel north of Bloor, it just doesn’t happen.

Now there is something you have to understand other than my ignorance of Spinning Yoga, at this point in the fitness regime I never spun in a real spinning class before. Ever. The thought of spinning scared me to death. Back while I was a GBC gym rat I loved the bike. It was a easy cardio workout out that wasn’t running. I liked being in control of my workout and avoiding a room full of hardcore bikers. But, what I didn’t like was my tendency not to crank up the resistance or increase my speed. That was until James came along. James was my video instructor on the new spinning bike George Brown brought to the fitness centre. James and I started dating instantly — yes I named the guy in the videos James. I would select the program and length of time I wanted and James would instruct me on what to do. It was perfect, now I could tell people I was a spinner and I had someone to push me when I wanted to slack off. Sadly, as most college relationships end, this did too — when I began to believe James was calling me by name, I needed to start seeing other people.

And so I agreed to this “Spinning Yoga” and gave Spynga a try. It was love at first sight! Not only was the class a bizarre combination that surprisingly meshed together perfectly, the act of spinning to the voice and command of a real instructor was amazing (sorry James).

So last Tuesday, a year later, I find myself traveling North of Bloor once again for one reason – to take my trusty ‘ol Passport to Prana to the tiny St. Clair studio to spin my little hear out once again, then flush it out with a solid yoga sequence. I felt strong on the bike and heck knowing it’s only 30 minutes till you hit the mat — you might as well go for it! 8 days into my 30 day challenge I was craving a “work out” the kind that yoga can’t satisfy me with. And seeing how there is a yoga component to class, it totally counted. It may also explain why on day 9 I hated my life, but that’s another story.

Our instructor for the 6:15pm 60 minute spygnaFlow was Joanna Rosenberg. And boy, did Joanna gave me the push I was looking for! Finishing the spinning component blaring Kelly Clarkson’s “My Life Would Suck Without You”, which I love for two reasons now 1) because of Glee and 2) it’s a kiss ass song to sprint to. Joanna, my life needed your class.

You can listen to Kelly belt it out below. You know you want to:

 

 

It still surprises how similar these teachings actually are.

 

Take this class if: you’re an experienced yogi looking to throw a curve ball in your practice. The yoga sequence is quick and light, but after a good spin this really tests your balance.

 

 

 

Studio Review: Get Spun

Thanks to my wonderful Mother, Santa knew exactly what to bring me for Christmas this year – anything fitness related. Oh yeah!

Low and behold 5 classes to Get Spun arrived just for me! While I’m still on break from my membership at the JCC, I decided to give it a try. So last Tuesday night, I signed up for the 45 minute spinning class with Christine Ness.

 

I forgot to take a picture inside the studio! Sorry!

 

The studio is literally steps away from my work (12 paces to be exact), therefore I have zero excuses for lunchtime workouts next week. The studio, although little on the small side, is cute and cozy and nowhere intimidating like some spinning studios tend to be (at least I think so anyway!). Christine was a delight. I felt great in her class but, afterwards felt as though I could have worked harder. I can’t blame the teacher for this. Either I’m not pushing myself hard enough or I’m a better spinner than I thought. I’ll go with the option two.

I’ve been to a fair amount of spinning classes in the city so far and I’ve come to realize music selection is key. I need to feel the beats to have a awesome class. And I wasn’t feeling the groove this particular night. I like it when a teacher mixes a track to their personal style – you feed off the teacher’s energy this way and I like that.

The best part about this place they offer more than just spinning. With Gravity and TRX training, classes such as the Ultimate Body Training Camp and Morning Bootcamp sound rather exciting. I like the thought of being excited to work out.

I will be sad once my 5 classes are up.

 

 

 

Studio Review: Oh My Soul Cycle

All I can say, 2012 look out. After my soul firing spinning class at SoulCycle the afternoon of New Years Eve (at the cute and flashy Union Square studio).

I stole this picture of their Union Square studio from their website. I hope they forgive me.

I felt unstoppable and inspired to take on the world. Corny? Maybe, but that Charlee is dam good at what she does. Charlee, the Soul teacher of my class, first introduced herself as the “Bitch from LA.” I was totally afraid.

But, to my surprise this bitch was the right amount of inspiration mixed with “I’m going to kick you ass”. She danced, she swore and almost made me cry with her words of inspiration and sights for 2012 – this could very well have been from the dark, and majestic mood of the classroom (we spun in the dark to candlelight).

Regardless, the 45 minute work out contained arm dips, running sprints, and core crunches! And if that wasn’t enough there was a complete arm workout at the end! Gah!

Me in NYC before my Soul Cycle workout. I am happy because I have yet to know what is in store for me.

With 2 pound lightweights for the last 10 minutes or so of the class, Charlee worked our triceps, biceps, and shoulders real good – we did arm raises, curls and lifts while spinning. True story.

The studio was warm, welcoming and gorgeous and the staff were super friendly and helpful. If I lived in New York I would be a Soul-oholic (only if my wallet could afford it). Someone needs to bring the Soul flavor to Toronto. And fast. If not, I may just do it myself.