Burn It Like Brooklyn: The Bodyburn Phenomenon

It’s Tuesday morning. I have a sinking feeling in my stomach. It’s Brooklyn Bodyburn (BBB) day. I’ve come to have a love/hate relationship with the muscle burning, shake inducing, “do I puke or cry?” phenomenon that is BBB. On the one hand I know the next hour is going to be pretty much the most intense grueling hour of exercise I can do (bar maybe Tonehouse). On the other hand, it’s the feeling of strength, power and pure adrenaline after the burn that keeps me (and most of the New York models I know) coming back for more.

Photo: Brooklyn Bodyburn
Photo: Brooklyn Bodyburn

So what is the sweat sensation that is BBB? Brooklyn Bodyburn has taken Pilates Reformer to a whole new level. Based in Brooklyn, the class utilises the ‘Megaformer’. What on earth is that I hear you ask? I know, I felt the same way when I first decided to take my ‘mega plunge’. If your familiar with Pilates Reformer, it basically takes the fundamentals of that to a ‘mega’ scale. You’ll use a machine similar to that of normal Reformer set ups. Which (if its as foreign to you as it was to me), is a machine like contraption, using changeable weighted springs as a form of resistance. You use different platforms on the machine to perform moves which are met with the springs resistance. It definitely looks like a torture mechanism, but it’s not. Well not technically anyway.

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Photo: My Instagram @kimhartwell

The class is spent hopping (very quickly) from one exercise to another. You’ll perform Megareformer variations of planks, lunges, pikes, push ups, Tricep dips to name a few. Each exercise uses isometric movements that lead your muscles to fatigue. And when I say ‘fatigue’ I mean “holy cow I’ve not seen my leg shake quite so much. Ever. I’m practically Bambi on ice”. I “must go on”, they encourage. The shake is a “good thing”. Really?! Right now I feel like it’s kinda not I tell myself. Yet they motivate me in such an inspiring way that I keep going. They reaffirm that “muscles are built when the shake comes; recruiting new muscle fibres”. Uhh ok fine maybe one more lunge. Grimace, grimace, or as my yoga teacher likes to call it “fart face” – unsurprisingly none of those allowed in yoga. May have to make an exception in the case of Bodyburn.

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Photo: My Instagram @kimhartwell

Movements focus on different parts of the body. Notably, I remember a whole lot of leg work. “I do want a butt like Beyonce’s, I do want a butt like Beyoncé” I tell myself as I see my face grimacing in the mirror at the thought of the whole other leg to come later on. I honestly don’t know whether to puke or cry. Having been a few times I thought I’d get the knack of it by now. Not sure if they’re just trying to be nice, they tell me apparently it’s ‘always hard – even for instructors’ – oh good.

You certainly get your burn for your buck. The class is a full body workout, but the core. Oh my word the core. Megaformer known as ‘the core creator’ ensures that in every move you make, the core is fired up. A teacher once told me it’s like a ‘truth machine’; you think you have a solid core, but this way of working out brings a whole new meaning to the word. No coincidence that the girls who have clearly spent some time here are flaunting abs of steel then!

The instructors are a true merit to the class. Motivating you past those shakey points, past the brink of no return, on to the next exercises. They aren’t lying when they say it “burns so good”. You certainly burn. Oh it burns, but oh it’s worth it. Not for the faint of heart (I would be sugar coating it to say that it’s anything but intense), but if you’re willing to persevere, push past your limits and rise to the challenge you will surely be handsomely rewarded. I certainly recommend it – just try to keep the “fart face” to a minimum!

Sending health & happiness,

Kim x

Flow Hard or Go Home

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Brooklyn we flow hard. Or at least we certainly do at Y7 yoga studio in Williamsburg; a secret little gem nestled in the depths of Kent Avenue. Described as the ‘Soul Cycle’ of yoga, Y7 is exactly what you would expect from the cool kid studios of Brooklyn. A studio frequented by the New York model scene, this tiny but mighty studio definitely flows hard.

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Set in the most peculiar surroundings I did find myself questioning the model who had recommended the studio to me. The small class (neighbor to Crossfit South Williamsburg) is set in the basement of a kind of rabbit hole business establishment. Lots of different businesses in little cubby holes.

The studio itself as a space is beautifully simple. Once you enter class, you definitely get ‘it’. Greeted by a dark room with pounding music with a bass that shakes the studio. Only candles outline your fellow yogis as you make your way to your yoga mat. There’s something wonderfully weird about not being able to fully use your sight senses. The candles flicker enough for you to see the quote on the wall “A tribe called sweat”, and that’s what it feels like. Like your in a tribe of likeminded strong yogi spirits ready to get your sweat on.

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The class follows a similar flow to that of other studios. The flow is such that you certainly get your sweat for your money. The whole class is set to all kinds of loud awesome music. You can get anything from JayZ to Stevie Wonder. It is the simple combination of the darkness, pumping music and the powerful flow practice that keeps yogis coming back for more. There’s a sense of togetherness bought about by the absence of sight. It allows you to tune into yourself, zone out of distractions and really be at one with your practice and your own spirit. As a Manhattan girl, I will most certainly be regularly frequenting the L train to get a slice of this soulful serenity.

Classes are either Vinyasa or what they call ‘Deep Flow’ involving holding postures for longer to really strengthen and stretch the muscles. They even have ‘Hip Hop Wednesdays’. If you like your yoga with a beat be sure to check out this cool jewel. Sshhh don’t tell too many people; it won’t be secret for long!

Also good news for city yogi’s is that you’ll be finding Y7 coming very soon to super central Soho. Y7 is teaming up with ‘The Monster Cycle” to open its doors at 182 Lafayette St. Winner. So what are you waiting for, get ready to flow hard whichever side of the river you choose.

Sending health & happiness,

Kim x

More info:

http://www.y7-studio.com/

240 Kent Ave (Basement), Brooklyn, NY 11249

P: (646) 820-0781, Email: Hi@Y7-studio.com

Another Level of Yoga

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Photo: OM Factory Yoga NYC

Yoga is moving to a new level and it may just be the way to make your fitness take flight…

Though yoga has a longstanding stance in the well-being industry, it’s the ‘anti-gravity’ or ‘aerial yoga’ that’s having a moment. Yoga as we know it is a firm favorite amongst the celebs, but it’s the aerial yoga that has the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow, Natalie Portman, Mariah Carey and Pink coming back for more.

What could be more blissful than yoga I hear you ask? Being cocooned in your own little silk ‘hammock’ whilst doing yoga, that’s what is! The bonus is that as wonderful as it sounds to melt away your worries in your own little silk cocoon, aerial yoga is as much challenging and invigorating as it is great for relaxation.

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Photo: Om Factory

The good news for us that didn’t quite get born with the ‘ultra bendy acrobatic gene’, is that you don’t need to be an acrobat to navigate through classes. Classes flow similarly to a yoga class but the ability to freely float in the air brings a whole new dimension to the yoga practice. On entering aerial yoga studios (like the one pictured at Om Factory Flight School) you’re greeted with large pieces of fabric bolted into the ceiling. These pieces of fabric create a wide, stretchy, hammock-like contraption suspended from two points. By suspended your body in the hammock you can achieve traditional yoga poses but also deepen them without overstressing the joints as you float in air; minimising the weight on your spine and joints.

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Om Factory NYC Yoga – Union Square

Throughout class you’ll do moves similar to those that you would come to expect in a normal yoga class but with an aerial twist; e.g. the “Flying Downward Dog” and the “Flying Pigeon”. The “Flying Boat Pose” is also a corker for getting a great ab workout! You’ll get a full body workout as you use your entire bodyweight to help you stretch deeper into poses in addition to helping you navigate up and into the hammocks.

By incorporating aerial yoga into your workout regime you can benefit from numerous perks: increasing flexibility, joint mobility and releasing pressure on your spine which helps to lengthen muscles. Inversions are also a great aspect of the aerial yoga. By hanging upside down suspended in the air; it allows the boost of blood flow to the heart and provides all the benefits you would get from yoga inversions; without the compression to the neck and spine.

The great part is that you feel like you’re having fun the whole time so time literally flies past. Even if you wouldn’t class yourself an ‘avid yogi’, this class provides enough fun and challenge that even the not so ‘yogi of heart’ can enjoy it.

Why not take your yoga up to a new level?

Sending health & happiness,

Kim x


OM Yoga Factory NYC holds Aerial Yoga classes at both its Midtown and Union Square locations. It offers beginners a stepping stone in with their foundation classes. In addition the studio also offers many other acrobatic, circus style and standard yoga classes.

Find out more information at: http://www.omfactorynyc.com/ 

OM Factory Midtown – 265 W 37th St, 17th Fl, New York, NY, 10018

OM Factory Union Square – 873 BROADWAY, Suite 202, New York, NY, 10011

Unleash Your Inner Athlete at Tone House

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Image: WellandGoodNYC

Greeted by the sign “Leave your ego at the door, its game time” you walk into Tone House NYC. There it stands; a dimly lit room and the kind of music that makes your heart pound. You feel like a boxer psyched to fight, taking your walk up to the ring. The coaches and rest of your team are ready for your first strike. This is a training destination where you undoubtedly have to bring your “A game”. Coined ‘the toughest workout in New York’, there’s no room for anything less.

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Sounds intense right? Tonehouse is a simple but brilliant idea. Founder (fitness powerhouse) Alonzo Wilson and a team of buff bad asses take you through your paces by simulating the training of actual athletes. No stranger to professional sports conditioning Alonzo and his team know a thing or two about elite training. With different days of the week dedicated to different body focuses you can make sure that you tone every bit of what you own on a weekly basis.

Challenging, muscle burning, insanely sweat inducing? Yes, but here’s the fun bit; the whole time you’re supported by the type of group team camaraderie you’d expect playing in a team. The coaches’ push you to make sure you ‘show up’ and bring everything you’ve got, but there’s still this great underlying fun factor to it all. You come out feeling incredible (errrrrytime) & with an amazement for what you’ve all just accomplished. We, everyday people of New York can be athletes too. How amazing is that? If you have a body, you can be an athlete. ToneHouse brings this to you.

So what should you expect?

It’s certainly not for the faint hearted but nothing to be feared either. If you enjoy being challenged and “unleashing your inner athlete” with a group of fun loving fitness people, you will love every minute of it. Ok you might have a bit of a love/hate relationship with the minutes in conditioning day but ‘oh my’ will your body have something to show for it.

The body focus of a particular day will dictate the exercises you do but the sessions follow a similar structure. 15 minutes of a pretty intense warm up including agility exercises and burpees. Then multiple circuits of exercises for either upper body, lower body, total body, core or conditioning training. Expect to get to use all the toys in the fitness toy box. Weighted bungee sprints? You got it. Power sleds? – Yep those too. Pull up bars, TRX, sand bags, val sliders, soft boxes, abdollies, they’ve got it covered. The coaches will show you how to navigate your way through the equipment with their fiery workouts, high fiving and cheering you all the way.

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My last session was a lower body focus day with Head Coach Yusuf Jeffers (he’s awesome!) One of my ‘team mates’ was Mary. Mary has recently given birth to her daughter (4 months ago no less) and was absolutely crushing her workout. This buff baby Mumma I thought, is some fitness inspiration. Her small piece of time off from the baby she had she was at Tone House running rings around all of us. If she can do it (and be a total bad ass doing it) so can you!

You wanna be in the coolest team in downtown NYC? You want to have some fun? Then channel your inner athlete and get involved in Tone House!

Sending health & happiness,

Kim x

Find out more information: www.tonehousenewyork.com

Tone House NYC, 20 East 17th St, 2nd Floor, New YorK, NY 10003

Surf’s Up NYC!

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“Everybody was surfing, surfing usa!”. You’re not imagining New York are you? Although New York has ‘some’ surf to offer up, west coast probably has us nailed on the sizzling hot surf destinations. Fear not aspiring surfers of New York; Chelsea Piers has the latest surf inspired classes aptly named “SurfSet” to get you wave ready in no time.

IMG_2663Surfset classes will get you conditioned in a way which not only helps with your surf practice, but also just happens to build a smoking hot bod! You’ve seen those sexy surfers with blinding washboard abs – probably no coincidence my friends. Surfing is well known for its total body conditioning and toning as well as being a whole lot of fun. That’s not even mentioning that this cool little class is nestled in Chelsea Piers famed for its mind blowing sports facilities – it’s enough to make a gym nut go weak at the knees (and that’s not after leg day!)

Even if surfing isn’t particularly your ‘crack’, you might still want to check it out. This class offers a fun and creative way to hone every part of your body. You’ll spend the class on the “RipSurfer X” – sounds scarier than it is. It’s basically a surf board on mini stability balls; meaning you’re constantly challenging your bodies stability (like the real life surf). The unstable surface means that your ab and postural muscles have to constantly be engaged to keep you steady. This means even if you don’t feel like your working your core, you probably are. Don’t worry there’s plenty of core specific work in class too!

Throughout the class we did squats, lunges, bunny jumps, single leg movements, plenty ‘surf style chatarungas’ or ‘nose downs’. Throw in some unstable push ups and SurfSet is a match made in fitness heaven. It serves up all round fitness performance benefits; working the core, balance, agility, muscular strength and endurance, aerobic conditioning and explosive power. Throughout the class they play epic surf videos which is enough to get anyone super stoked about surfing in general and make you feel like you’re in the moment. Couple the fitness benefits with the energy and originality the class brings, its a sure fire place to check out when your in the city. Surf’s Up!

Sending health & happiness,
Kim x

SurfSet is on Classpass (the cities go-to fitness studio membership) or available to Chelsea pier members.

http://www.chelseapiers.com/sc/sports-training/surfset.cfm

62 Chelsea piers, #300, New York, NY, 10011