Today my friend Holly took her first barre fitness class. I’m hoping she’ll write up a review of her experience at Barre 54 so I can publish both of our reviews of the studio at the same time. I thought it’d be nice to see what two different people have to say about the classes.
Suhaila Belly Dance Fitness Fusion Jazz DVD
length:34 minute workout
Skill level: Beginner (I’d say advanced beginner-intermediate)
workout level: 5/10 (drills had my legs burning)
sweaty-ness level: 2/10
Dance Skills: 10/10 (highly recommend!)
special features: yes, 3 performances from the company and Suhaila
would I buy again? YES
thoughts: Although sometimes I get frustrated with Suhaila on this DVD, it’s only because she looks so damn happy the whole time, and me, I’m like:
yah, lets just say I’m not as cute.
But nonetheless, this DVD is great for Bellydancers! Especially for those who have been taking bellydance classes for some time and want to expand your dance vocabulary to include some classical western dance.
on the other hand it would also be a good choice for a ballet/modern/jazz dancer who wants to check out bellydance, because the language of the DVD will be familiar.
This is a fitness DVD, but not too strenuous of a workout. I did sweat for the last 10 minutes of the workout, but not before that. Although this DVD says it is for beginners, I feel the level of technique would be frustrating for most true beginners. Therefore I would recommend it to all bellydancers who have a bit of training under the hip scarf ;)
That’s right. Pole dancing. It counts as a workout, you know. And it’s a tough one.
Last night, I was looking into some more adventurous classes in my area when I stumbled upon a studio that does more mainstream stuff (like yoga and Zumba) as well as pole dance and burlesque. Well, sign me up for a nice, bright morning class.
…Kinda. The pole dance studio was actually pretty dark, with random red and green lights making the place look a little like a club. But the poles were clean, the wall of mirrors allowed you to watch the instructor, and the music was playing.
I told the instructor that I had never done pole before, which meant the other girl in the class was way ahead of me, but I still did fairly well, I think.
I got to learn a number of basic tricks: lady’s spin, 360, Hello Kitty, a firefighter variation, double cross, and a diamond (going forwards and back). We also worked a bit on climbing the pole, which frustrated me a lot because I couldn’t hold the pole tight enough between my thighs in order to move my arms up without slipping. But it was a good challenge.
All in all, I can say this: I am sore. My ankles hurt, my calves hurt, my arms hurt. If you do a pole fitness class, be ready for bruises and pole burns. When you’re trying to hold much of your body weight between the back of your knee and a spinning metal pole, you’re bound to get bruises.
<-Me trying to hold a firefighter spin still. So much tougher than spinning.
- Find a good, clean studio. Bodies are touching those poles. Hands and arms and legs and, well, crotches. They should be clean when you get there.
- Don’t try to start out in heels. Work barefoot.
- Wear something short. When we were working on climbing, I had to pull the legs of my shorts way up. The pole grips better to skin than to fabric.
- Get into it. You’ll be doing body rolls, butt rolls, and flashing grins into the mirror. It’s all part of the fun. Don’t worry if you can’t get something perfect, just get into the movement.
Now that I’ve done a couple fitness reviews, I’m inspired to do more. What are some websites, apps, or exercise plans you’d like to see me try and review?
If you haven’t heard of Zombies, Run!, you haven’t been paying attention. It’s becoming the hottest fitness app out there by combining one of everyone’s favourite things —zombies— with one of everyone’s least favourites— running. For $7.99, you can have your own zombie-escaping adventure…
This sounds so fun! Does the app know how fast you’re running and measure your distance? It sounds like it does. :) Click on the post title to read the whole review!
If you’ve got GPS on whatever you’re using the app on, yes! It gives you your time, distance, and pace, and if you sign up for ZombieLink, it saves the time and distance. :)
If you haven’t heard of Zombies, Run!, you haven’t been paying attention. It’s becoming the hottest fitness app out there by combining one of everyone’s favourite things —zombies— with one of everyone’s least favourites— running. For $7.99, you can have your own zombie-escaping adventure on your iDevice or Android smartphone.
Simply put, Zombies, Run! is a running app that has you running from zombies. Less simply put, it’s a story-based game in which you are a newcomer to Abel Township. After your helicopter is shot down, you are designated Runner 5, one of the group of fleet-footed people assigned to retrieve supplies on runs. But there are bigger mysteries: who shot you down? Why was the helicopter only carrying half of the supplies it said it had? Where did a nearby settlement vanish to? What’s the real deal with your last base?
As you walk or run, you’ll automatically pick up supplies like pants, axes, and cans of food, which you can later assign to areas of the township. (What’s extra nice is that this can be done right on your phone as you play or on your computer through ZombieLink when you get home.
The game also allows you to play music from a playlist as you run. If you do this, the storyline is played only between songs, though you’ll continue to pick up supplies while the music is playing. (Also, if you choose to have random zombies, they’ll pop up during songs as well, so keep your ears open.)
Last night was my first night with it, as it only came out for Android yesterday. J and I pulled on our comfy shoes and went out as the sun set, me hobbling on painful quads. As we walked, our headphones introduced us to the story; we heard our helicopters crash, were asked to check out a hospital for supplies, and had to evade zombies by running down the street.
After the first mission, we were back home, sweaty, and it was dark. But we decided to press on with the second mission, which had us exploring the area directly outside the township. We retrieved supplies from a government drop, learned more about the area, and had to escape a group of slow-moving zombies. We also had to wonder why I had picked up three overcoats and he had found three axes. Weird.
All in all, I’m very excited to continue the game. And I hate running. But when you hear that voice say, “Warning: Zombies 100 meters,” you run. You run like you’ve never run before. You sprint down bike paths, take corners a little too sharp, and look constantly at your phone to see if they’re gone yet. I would recommend this to everyone looking to get fit in a fun way!
- Buy the game. Do it.
- Sign up for ZombieLink (on the Zombies, Run! website) to track your runs and assign supplies on your computer.
- Find a good place to run. You don’t want to get stuck waiting to cross a busy road when a swarm of zombies is gaining on you. Also, it’s a lot of fun running outside at night, when you can almost believe that there really are zombies after you.
If you’ve been reading my blog, you know that last night I tried my first heated yoga class. And boy, what an experience. I figured I’d write about my thoughts on it for my first fitness review.
What is heated yoga? Simply put, it’s yoga done in a heated room. Typically, hot yoga is held in a room around 100 degrees, usually in the Bikram style. However, rather than jumping into a hot yoga class, I decided to try warm yoga. The warm vinyasa class was heated to about 85 degrees, with heavy “climate curtains” keeping the heat in the studio.
As the class before ours ended, I knew I was in for a shocker. People were walking out of the studio covered in sweat, with their mascara surrounding their eyes. Everyone carried a water bottle. Many had towels draped over their shoulder. Some were wearing nothing more than a sports bra and shorts.
When my fiancée and I first entered the studio, my jaw nearly dropped. The lights were dimmed, there was a row of votive candles burning along the front wall, and there were tape marks on the ground to help keep everyone’s mats in line. A very beautiful and spiritual place.
Before the class even started, I was sweating. Not badly, but it was noticeable. I also noticed that the people around me either had special yoga mat towels (like this one) on their mat or a small regular towel nearby. I had nothing. Uh oh. As people settled in, students began talking to each other, and it was obvious that this was a group who mostly knew each other. Everyone seemed very friendly and both excited and anxious about the class.
As the clock hit 7:00, our instructor took her place at the front of the room and introduced herself. We began with a simple child’s pose as she talked about taking care of your body and getting in touch with your breathing. This slow start allowed my lungs to get used to the heavy humidity in the studio.
As we went on, the poses became more vigorous, with a common flow of downward facing dog into plank position, then lowered down and into a small cobra pose. My arms are still killing me today!
All in all, the class was incredible. My fiancée and I agree that the heat allows you to be much more pliable. For example, by the second or third downward dog, my heels were on the ground, something that normally takes me a half hour of stretching. The downsides are obvious, though: you get really sweaty. My headband works well… but only when I’m right-side-up. In a pose like downward facing dog, the sweat simply runs from my chin into my eyes. And onto my lips. And dripping off my nose. The sweat also means that your hands (and, in my fiancée’s case, feet) will be slipping. Besides the sweat factor, the heat and humidity can make it hard to breathe if you’re not used to it. I had to step out of the studio once, as did my fiancée and another student, to calm the breath. However, if you arrive to class early to get used to it a bit, it’s not as bad as you may expect.
- Wear a headband. It may not do much in upside-down poses, but it helps otherwise.
- If you have long hair, put it up. And not just in a ponytail. Make sure your hair can’t get in your face, or I guarantee that it will end up stuck to your face, and your shoulders, and your back, and your chest as you move around.
- Bring water. A big water bottle is best. But I’d suggest bringing only cool, not ice cold, water or you may shock your system. (In fact, I drank my frozen lemonade too quickly after class and ended up with awful pain all the way from my throat to my stomach.)
- Feel free to step out of the studio if you’re feeling dizzy or lightheaded.
- Bring a towel. Even if it’s just a little dishtowel to wipe your hands off on.
Have you ever tried heated yoga? What did you think of it?
I’ll let you know how it goes.
Still looking for more suggestions (especially ones I don’t have to pay for) for my fitness reviews idea.