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

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

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