Category Archives: fitness news

No Shoes, No Problem?

Barefoot, minimalist, “born to run” running has become a new trend in the running world… but it is not all that it’s cracked up to be. With Vibram 5 Fingers and New Balance Minimus shoes bombarding the market place, it is easy to think that this footwear is a lighter and more viable option to help you run faster and get stronger. While many runners rave that this is the way our ancestors ran, others rebute, finding running barefoot or in minimalist shoes can lead to serious injuries.

The Greatist (an amazing, science-y health and fitness blog) took a look at what these shoes (or no shoes) can do for your feet, referring to doctors who have studied them over the past few years. I loved the post written by Jordan Shakeshaft on the topic of these minimalist running techniques. Shakesaft not only talked with experts, but also went and tried out barefoot running for herself.

Here are a few takeaways from the post:

  • For some runners, going barefoot can be beneficial, encouraging a “biomechanically-efficient forefoot strike” which builds leg muscle.
  • For other runners who have had injuries in the past, more problems can be caused from taking away the support shoes provide.
  • Start slow and build muscle to train in running sans-shoes. Runners need to practice on different terrains for short increments of time and strengthen the muscles around your feet and calves. This will help prevent injury.

Ballet for Grownups

Distributed for Fair Use by KCBalletMedia on Creative Commons (http://www.flickr.com/photos/67555847@N06/6810922860/sizes/m/)

Distributed for Fair Use by KCBalletMedia on Creative Commons (http://www.flickr.com/photos/67555847@N06/6810922860/sizes/m/)

Being a ballerina isn’t just for little kids any more. According to Karen Barrow of the New York Times’ Well Blog, ballet style workouts are popping up all of the New York City area. Barrow visited Pure Yoga, a Upper West Side Manhattan studio where she participated in Figure 4, the studio’s ballet class. The class, Barrow reported, was a slow paced strengthening workout to tone ankles, feet and legs. There is also the benefit of increases flexibility for loyal Figure 4 participants.

Barre studios have been popping up around the country, but it is interesting to see some of these classes start to gear directly towards ballet focused movements. After researching the fitness trend a bit more, I have found a significant ballet-focused barre workouts, including a studio in Mesa, AZ called Ballet Fusion Fitness. Studio BFF, as it is known, offers a variety of ballet-focused barre classes, including Ballerobica, Ballet Boxing and Ballroom Fusion. The studio has even produced a set of workout DVDs called Ballerobica for those who would want to try out a ballet style workout in their own homes.

Really interesting stuff, and great for anyone who has had a background (even from childhood) in ballet or dance. I think this is another great step in encouraging people to find workouts that they love, a main goal of each and all of these studios. We’ll have to wait and see if something like this appears in Boston anytime soon…

 

 

 

Travel Lightly

This is FANTASTIC. InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has announced that they are building their flagship fitness-themed hotel in New York City. IGH, parent company of Holiday Inn, has chosen Manhattan because of its high traveler turnaround and because of the city’s enthusiasm for fitness.

Even Hotels, as the fitness chain will be called, will have excess indoor & outdoor eating and exercise space and fitness walls and exercise balls in every room. Additionally, gym clothing and shoes to rent from the hotel and a quick laundry turnaround for those sweaty unmentionables.

Everything down to the room service menus will have a focus on fitness – organic, fresh meals in every hotel.

It’s rare that I would stay in a hotel when visiting New York, I’m usually crashing on a friend’s couch, but this might just be worth checking out. There is nothing more frustrating than going on a trip and having to plan time into your day to workout and fit your sneakers in your carry-on. If your temporary home is surrounding you with opportunities to workout and eat heathy, it becomes a no excuses trip. Pure awesomeness. Keep up the good work IHG, can’t wait to hear more.

Check out the USA Today article for more details on Even Hotels.

Photo courtesy of LVLights and Mimar Sinan (respectively) under Creative Commons license. Some rights reserved. 

At Your (Sweaty) Service

In fitness-dense cities such as New York and LA, one of the hardest parts of your workout is choosing your workout. There are dozens of studios, schedules, online logins and passwords to keep in the back of your mind and it’s a wonder anyone actually makes it to their workouts.

FITiST is here to change that. Think one-stop shopping for all your workout needs. The founders of FITiST have built relationships with the hottest pilates, cycle, dance, cardio and yoga studios in NYC and LA to create single sign-in packages for FITiST members.

There are “Flex” plan options (5, 1o and 20 packs that you can use at any of the networked studios) or customized “Expert” plans that are customized for marathon cross-trainers, new moms or brides-to-be.

The best part is the simplicity of it all. All studio schedules, sign ups and information are available on FITiST. The packages and studio feedback are compiled by local experts: nutritionists, doctors, personal trainers and semi-professional athletes.FITiST packages and plans definitely don’t come cheap, but what can you expect when you’ve turned Manhattan into your own personal gym?

Even more details in an article posted in the Time Magazine Health & Family section.

Fit 2.0 – When Tech and Fitness Collide

There is a pretty common misconception that technology is going to be the demise of fitness, and this isn’t surprising in the least. Plenty of people (myself included) are guilty of complaining about not having time to workout, but then spend hours on Facebook, playing video games and online shopping. While some forms of technology may be our workout anti-christ, others are only here to help…. meet the FitBit Zip.

This little quarter-sized wireless activity tracker is one of the best fitness tracking devices I’ve seen. It records your steps taken, miles traveled and calories burned; reporting back to your web-based app or IOS app on your iPhone.

One of the best parts – it is completely wireless, there is no need to worry about syncing or updating. The data and graphics look clean and simple to read.

I am definitely interested in trying this one out, the price point isn’t too high either, starting at around $60. I will be interested to see how FitBit Zip holds up against bigger competitors such as Nike FuelBand and Striiv.

Here is a Wired Mag review on FitBit Zip which includes all the tech specs on the tracker.