The Workout You SHOULD be Doing

Written by: on Friday, August 23rd, 2013
Woman doing pushups

Push-ups are just one part of a bootcamp class.

There are plenty of exercise trends that come and go—but one workout that’s sticking around for the long haul: bootcamp. And for good reason. These non-stop exercise classes torch calories, a lot of them (about 500 to 1,000 calories per class)—and fat—and improve overall strength and conditioning. And who doesn’t want that?!

It’s the non-stop part of these workouts that’s the hardest. Most times, you exercise at your own pace for however long you want—and then stop. That’s what gets boring—and prevents you from seeing the results you want. Bootcamp classes keep you moving constantly thanks to interval training and switching up between pretty intense cardio and weight training.

We got a chance to try two different ones—on the beach and in the gym. Here’s what to expect at both (and how to find one near you):

BeachBootcamp

The perfect spot for a workout!

On the beach: Cheryl Herzog—a trainer and owner of Surfside Fitness in Avalon, NJ.—has been offering bootcamp on the beach for 10 years now.

The class may seem intimidating at first, but waking up to a run on the beach, watching the waves roll in can be amazing!

The calorie-crunching routine: The class kick starts with a sprint down a stretch of the sand bar and back, followed by jumping jacks, lunges, and shuffles, all moves to get the heart pumping! This was followed with stretching exercises; push-ups, sit-ups, burpees, and squats. Then we moved on to stations that had been set up on the beach: one was a loop of push ups, sit-ups, spider crunches, and jumping jacks, while the other included a medicine ball toss, kettle bells, sand sprints, and rope tugs.

“The sand adds an unbelievable element that requires more stability, more power, and more coordination in every movement,” Herzog said, adding: “We incorporate 40 percent cardio, 40 percent high intensity training, and

SurfsideFitness

When you can't do beach bootcamp, there's always this full-service fitness center, owned by Cheryl Herzog, which is open 365 days a year.

20 percent core and flexibility.” (Classes are $12 each; a 10-pack is $100.)

Indoors: Barry’s Bootcamp is one of the most well-known bootcamp franchises—with locations from West Hollywood to New York to London —and a celeb following that includes Jessica Biel, Katie Holmes, and even Kim Kardashion pre-Nori.

We got a chance to try it out at the Tribeca location in New York (1 York Street) with master instructor Natalie Raitano* (check out this woman’s sculpted body; if this is what bootcamp can do for your body, sign me up for the long haul!).

According to Raitano, the key to success during one of these 60-minute workouts is the 30-second blasts of cardio and the constant switching of activities that really keeps the body moving. Add to that some pretty intense music (click here to sample one instructor’s Spotify mix of hip-hop workout music), and you’ve got one pretty amazing workout.

BarrysBootcamp

Barry's Bootcamp master instructor Natalie Raitano and Kelsey O'Toole.

The calorie-crunching routine: The first half of Raitano’s class, we were stationed on treadmills at a 3 percent incline, running at 6 mph for one minute (not easy!), then climbing to 7 and 8 mph for what’s called a “warm-up” (but is so much more than that). We continued in intervals for 20 minutes, all the way up to a 10 percent incline sprint! You will sweat, guaranteed.

As if that wasn’t enough, the second half of the class focused on strength training: side-step squats (over a raised step) with weights of 10 to 20 lbs, followed by lateral side lunges, quick feet, normal squats with weights, and finally resistance-band exercises, which targeted the glutes and thighs. These blasts of cardio mixed with weight training and resistance are very challenging, but also fun! This class literally kicks butt! (1 class, $34; 10 classes, $320.)

To find a bootcamp in your area, check with your local gym, click on active.com and search for workout bootcamps in your area, or just do a search for bootcamps in your own city or town. But before you sign up, check to see if there are any prerequisites—and if you’re concerned about whether you can handle a class, check with your doctor.

* Full disclosure: We got to take a free class, compliments of Chobani yogurt. No only did we get to burn calories and build muscle, we got to refuel afterward with a Peanut-Butter Chocolate Chobani Shake…not too bad!

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The Healthier Water Bottle—Everyone Should be Using

Written by: on Friday, August 9th, 2013
Glass Water Bottle with Straw

I've been searching for a glass water bottle with a straw—and found this!

 

If you’re using a plastic water bottle, as I was until now, you should probably think about switching to glass. There are just way too many studies about the harmful effects of plastic (e.g. the proven neurotoxin BPA or bisphenol A) that make me wonder: will scientists find another harmful chemical 10 years from now in even BPA-free bottles? (And meanwhile, we’ll all have been exposed to it for 10 years….) Plus, I was always worried about leaving my plastic water bottle out in the sun or in a hot car (heat is what causes leaching of BPA from plastic into water and/or food).

So I switched to glass after discovering these water bottles at Whole Foods…and I couldn’t be happier. These bottles (available in 22-ounce and 16-ounce sizes) are easy to clean, leave no aftertaste (as stainless steel bottles can), and come with this cool, easy-to-grip, protective BPA- and BPS (bisphenol-S)- (as well as phthalate-) free silicone shield (available in a variety of colors from lifefactory.com; from $22.99).

And they easily fit in car cup holders and the cup holder of an elliptical. And even better: LifeFactory sells similar 9-ounce toddler cups ($16.99). Of course, I had to buy one for my 21-month-old too. Bye bye plastic sippy cups!

 

Glass Toddler Sippy Cups

A great non-plastic option for young kids!

One last note: did you know that BPA (which has been banned in most countries except the United States) is found on every single cash register and ATM receipt you get? It’s a chemical used in the thermal imaging on receipts…so every time you handle one, BPA is rubbing off onto your hands.

What to do: don’t handle receipts (don’t take a receipt if you can get one e-mailed to you—or have thecashier put it in your bag) and never use Purell to cleanse your hands after handling a receipt; researchers have found that the alcohol in alcohol-based hand sanitizers causes the BPA to be absorbed into the skin faster. Soap and water (as soon as possible after handling) works best…And remember, it’s every little thing that you can change in your lifestyle every day that reduces your toxic load—and that may keep you healthier longer. Be well!

 

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