Tag Archives: new york times

Supporting Fitness at Northeastern

A quick post for the day:

I think that is so important that Northeastern’s Campus Rec program has recognized the need for more alternative fitness programs on campus. This year, they built a beautiful new fitness studio, Revolutionz, to be used for indoor cycling, kettle ball and yoga. Everyone should have the opportunity to find a workout that they love, and providing more opportunities for alternative fitness efforts is a great way to do so.

In a post on the New York Times’ Well Blog, it has been scientifically proven that individuals who enjoy their workout routine are far more likely to stick to their fitness goals. Finding what you enjoy and stick to is the most important part, and it is great to see Northeastern making steps toward providing students with options for a healthy lifestyle.

Revolutionz Studio in the Marino Center at Northeastern University. Photo taken by Megan Lieberman.

Revolutionz Studio in the Marino Center at Northeastern University. Photo taken by Megan Lieberman.


Rate Your Burn: Sweaty Reviews & Quick News

For my presentation, I chose to introduce the class to a website that I find to be a great use of citizen journalism. Rate Your Burn (www.rateyourburn.com) is a website devoted to reviewing fitness classes, instructors and studios in the Boston, New York and Los Angles areas. These reviews are collected from a variety of sources; community reviewers as well as Rate Your Burn’s freelance reviewers.

Community Reviews: anyone can post a review of a class on RYB by creating an account. The site’s measure of reliability of these sources is measured and reported as a way of showing readers who to trust. Every reviewer creates a username that he is known as throughout the site. From there, this user can create a post recapping and rating a class, instructor or studio.
All posts have the ability to be like and shared on Facebook, Twitter and email. The more likes, shares and views a post gets, the more points the author of the post is awarded. Authors or users who have a lot of points are well regarded and seen as trusted community sources on the site.

Staff Reporters: Not only are there community reviews posted on RYB, but there are also staff reviews. Staff reviewers are hand-picked fitness experts who will anonymously go out and review classes, instructors, and studios and then report back through posts RYB. These reviews are the most trusted of the site, and are based off of a reporting method.

Other posts: The site’s authors will also publish posts that are not review-based. There have been stories written by RYB reporters on in-depth interviews with fitness experts, serious health issues and features on the best equipment and gear. On these posts there is an open forum of commenting where the authors almost always respond to their readers.

Where the site excels is clearly in interacting with the community. It is a 100% reader engaged site and, I think, a perfect example of community journalism. 

Where the site could use improvement is in posting more journalistic, expert-sourced articles, as opposed to reviews. I would love to see more articles that reference journals and experts on the effects of over-exercising, a healthy diet for active people or the effects of exercise on the brain. While there really isn’t a website or blog that competes with RYB in what they are aiming to do, for my more journalistic stories. One is The New York Times Fitness & Nutrition section. While these stories are less focused on fitness trends, they are extremely informative and are always taking new angles on fitness. I’ve linked to a few examples of multimedia and journalistic stories: exercise and children, H.I.T. video and weight training v. cardio exercise

Warming Up

lululemon’s Salutation Nation in the Boston Common, September 2011

Fitness blogs and sites can be found across the web and they will be a huge resource as I begin to build my blog. There are many review sites that cover and compare different workouts and gyms across the country. There are also blogs which hire influential fitness bloggers to report back on their exercise routines and favorite workouts. The following is a list of the major sites I plan to use as resources as I begin my research:

  1. Rate Your Burn: A blog that anonymously reviews fitness classes, studios and instructors in Boston, Los Angeles and New York. RYB’s outsourced and highly qualified (read: super-fit) reviewers head into a variety of yoga, cycling, barre, and cardio classes and report back to the blog. Reviewers rate the classes and instructors based on their intensity, popularity, music choice and overall atmosphere.
    @rateyourburn | @rateyourburnla
  2. FitFluential: FF is a network of highly knowledgeable and influential fitness buffs who log their fitness experiences, adventures and mishaps through the FitFluential website and their own social media platforms.
    @fitfluential | FitFluential Ambassadors
  3. New York Times Health & Fitness: NYT’s Health & Fitness section will be a source for a lot of my health research. I will look to this source for expert resources in the nutrition and fitness fields.
  4. FitSugar: A San Francisco-based health and fitness news site that provides tips, breaking news and insights on exercise trends and fashion. FS provides its readers with healthy eating tips and everyday strengthening workouts.
  5. lululemon athletica Blog: lululemon is an international active wear brand with a focus on inspiring their customers to explore different kinds of exercise. The company’s blog includes profiles of lululemon’s “Ambassadors” who are fitness leaders in their communities. Through the blog I will be able to discover new exercise trends and reviews.

Photo (cc) by lululemon athletica and republished here under a Creative Commons license. Some rights reserved.

Getting in-shape is now in-style

The world of fitness is changing; changing in a fast-paced, house music, neon lights kind of way. The idea of gym memberships, treadmills and trying to find the motivation for another set of crunches is now a thing of the past, as those who want to get fit are looking toward instructor-focused fitness classes and training sessions. These classes, however, are far from a traditional workout. You can now find boutique fitness classes not only focusing on yoga, pilates and indoor cycling, but less traditional forms of exercise, ranging from self-defense to Zumba and even pole dancing. There has also been a boom in “fun runs” around the country, where you can choose to be covered in paint, chased by zombies or taste different beers at every mile. All of these “new-age” forms of exercise promise one thing – you will sweat and you will have fun doing so.

Post-run hues at the Color Run, New England.

Boutique fitness classes are popping up around the country, but they don’t come cheap. Courtney Rubin of the New York Times found that clients will pay $35-$40 per class for a 1-hour boot camp or barre workout. But why? Simply because this is no longer a trip to the gym with your iPod. The moment members walk into a studio, the lights dim, the music blasts and they begin to forget they are even working out.

If the music, light shows and motivating instructors aren’t enough to encourage you to join, celebrity endorsements may do the trick. Vanessa Grigoriadis of Vanity Fair took a look at the “cult-like” following of Soul Cycle, one of New York’s most popular indoor cycling studios. Grigoriadis reported Soul Cycle has a high-profile crew including “die-hard followers such as Chelsea Clinton, J. Crew’s Mickey Drexler [and] Katie ­Holmes”. Lady Gaga reportedly threw her birthday party at one of Soul Cycle’s Hollywood studios and brought two $2200 bikes on her tour.

Southwest Airlines’ Spirit Magazine published their feature article on some of the wildest runs taking place around the country. The story reported that costume-required races and runs that will leave you covered head-to-toe in paint have been drawing in a crowd of people who had never had an interest in running or exercise before – all because they’re a lot of fun.

Through this blog, I hope to look deeper into these boutique fitness classes and studios. What makes them as successful as they are? Who is coming back day after day? And why? I plan to look into the Boston fitness studio culture, as well as those in other major cities across the country and even internationally. There are many advocates of these trends, but also a lot of professionals who disagree with them. I look forward to investigating what health and fitness experts have to say about the safety of some of these classes.