Workout Anywhere!

June 12, 2012

Ever go to the gym and see a trainer making his client stand on 1 foot on a bosu ball while pulling a cable in 1 hand, pressing a dumbbell overhead and balancing a weight plate on their head? Circus workouts, as I call them, have no place in my book. I’m a big fan of back-to-basic and straightforward workout routines: if it ain’t broke, why fix it? That said, I’m always looking for fun new ways to mix up the basics. Exercises like pushups, squats, lunges, chin-ups and abdominal crunches can be performed countless ways, making them challenging to even the fittest Olympian!

Inspired by Carrie Underwood, this “deck of cards” workout can be done anytime, anywhere (hey! There’s an app for that!). Whether you’re on the road or stuck at home, this no-excuses workout will be a stepping stone to hard-body success!

All you’ll need is a shuffled deck of cards, sneakers and a yoga mat. Each card represents a different exercise and the number coincides with the number of repetitions you’ll do for that exercise. Be sure to warm up for 5-10 minutes beforehand and do a cool-down stretch post-workout!

Diamonds = deep squats
Hearts = abdominal crunches
Clubs = pushups
Spades = pullups or bodyweight rows
Aces = 1 minute elbow plank
Joker =  50 jumping jacks

That’s 78 repetitions of each exercise…be sure to shuffle those cards well!


Heating up!

June 3, 2012

Outdoor workouts

Summer heat can be stifling. My later-than-usual Sunday run today was unbearable! I found myself trudging up the Harlem hills rather than my usual happy stride, but I made it. Not unscathed, however.

Tonight, my lungs actually hurt. Which got me thinking: how dangerous is it to breathe in hot, humid and polluted NYC air?

After a brief google search and combing through my resources, it turns out that vigorous exercise in excessive heat and air pollution is more damaging than I realized! Remember the media buzz leading up to the Beijing Olympics? Many articles warned of pollution affecting the athletes’ performance. According to the NYTimes:

A 2004 review of pollution studies worldwide conducted by the University of Brisbane, Australia, found that during exercise, low concentrations of pollutants caused lung damage similar to that caused by high concentrations in people not working out.

Given what can be in the air, “people who exercise outdoors should probably be more worried” than many are, said Dr. Morton Lippmann, a professor of environmental medicine at the New York University School of Medicine.

Fine particles can sail past nasal hairs, the body’s first line of defense, and settle deep in athletes’ lungs. Some remain there, causing irritation and inflammation. Others, so tiny they can bypass various bodily defenses, migrate into the bloodstream.

Hoo boy. So what can you do to avoid pollutants and health hazards but still get your workout on?

  • Time your workouts carefully. Get it done before the hazy sun rises in the sky and prior to exhaust fumes from rush-hour traffic settle in.
  • Avoid high-pollution areas, like near a freeway, highway or busy road. According to the Mayo Clinic, pollution levels are likely to be highest within 50 feet (15 meters) of a road.
  • Monitor air quality levels. On heavily-polluted days, take your workout indoors.
  • Listen to your body. If you’re feeling chest pains, asthmatic or find it hard to breathe, stop immediately.

Marathon Training!

May 29, 2012

Yikes! Marathon training begins July 8th, a mere 5 weeks away! If you are running this year’s New York City Marathon, at this point you should:

  • Consistently be running 3 times/week.
  • Be sure you’re equipped with proper footwear. If your shoes are more than 6 months old, time for a new pair!
  • Protect yourself from the sun! Stock up on sweat-resistant SPF for your face and other exposed body parts.
  • Buy a visor or cap and sunglasses.
  • Check your wardrobe: get lightweight, sweat-wicking apparel!

I’ll be doing Hal Higdon’s Novice 1 training program. For those of you who have expressed interest in training together, I’ll be doing the long training runs at 7am Saturday mornings. Please RSVP by emailing me at if you plan on joining and I’ll add you to my mail list.

If you’re interested in running the marathon this year but didn’t get in via the lottery, you can still sign up to run for a charity. Click here.

Not running the marathon this year but still interested in joining our training runs? Email me!