Archive for the ‘Fitness’ Category

SoulCycle Makes Upper West Side Debut

When it comes to fitness, I will be the first to admit that I’m a tricky customer. I don’t like running and I don’t have any rhythm, so finding an activity where I don’t look and feel like a hot mess is difficult. Lately, I’ve been obsessed with spinning, but I have been getting a little bit bored. So when I was invited to test out the latest outpost of SoulCycle in my NYC neighborhood, I will admit I was intrigued. The 45-minute class involved an intense 45-minute cardio workout that combines spinning with upper body toning using hand weights and core exercises. I’m happy to report the new studio is fabulous. Located on the corner of 77th Street and Amsterdam, the 1,900-square-foot, ground-level facility features a 54-bike studio, as well as a 300-square-foot SoulCycle Boutique. The studio also boasts 96 lockers, two bathrooms, and a changing room. I was a little nervous when I arrived this morning to try my first class, but after 45 minutes of fun music, total toning, and cool cardio, I am totally hooked. Can’t wait for my next ride. For more on the new studio or to find a SoulCycle near you, visit

Get Fit and Earn Rewards With Nexercise

Nexercise, a free mobile fitness app that makes healthy lifestyle choices and exercise fun, introduced a number of brand new features. The app will continue to calculate physical activity and reward users with virtual medals, discounts on health food, and free merchandise, but now users can enjoy the challenges of an active lifestyle with new features. These features include visualizing progress, where participants can actually view their progress and monitor their exercise habits with a calendar, and the ability to track friends and family and earn points by working out together or competing against one another. Nexercise has also teamed up with Kiip, a venture-backed company, to provide users with the chance to win fabulous rewards from companies like Sephora and The app has also been redesigned with enhanced graphics and is more user-friendly than ever. “Nexercise was built upon the belief that exercise doesn’t have to be boring,” says Benjamin Young, CEO of Nexercise. “You don’t have to drastically change your lifestyle in order to be healthy. Being healthy is a mindset. More often than not, the missing component to success is sustained and sufficient motivation. Nexercise challenges traditional thought by making physical activity more fun and rewarding through our mobile app.”

Exhale Celebrates National Yoga Month with NamasDAY

Next month is National Yoga Month, and Exhale is celebrating with style with NamasDAY, which takes place Sept. 22. The company will be relaunching its yoga program on this date by hosting NamasDAY events at all Exhale locations across the country. The aim of NamasDAY is to bring guests together as a community to build awareness of yoga’s proven health benefits and provide people with actionable guidance and tools to enhance their own well being all while having fun. As part of the celebration, Exhale will host special complimentary yoga classes throughout the day. In the evening, all locations will host a yoga bash, featuring a variety of free classes including Music Yoga Flow, special contests and prizes, swag bags, and live music.

“NamasDAY is an exciting way for exhale to bring together the yoga community, and inspire new guests to try this incredible mind body practice,” says Erin Jacques, director of yoga at Exhale. “Our yoga program offers the highest quality of teachers and the most varied range of classes. We can’t wait for the whole country to be celebrating on the same day.”

Sheila Cluff Offers Tips on How to Stay Fit into Fall

Like a lot of women (and some men) I know, I find myself getting lazy about my workout routine as the summer winds down. After all, it’s way easier to hide a few extra pounds with a comfy sweater than it is with a bikini. Because I made a personal vow to myself not to get sucked  into that pattern this year, I was particularly interested in an email I received in which health expert Sheila Cluff, the founder of The Oaks at Ojai, shares five fun and easy fitness tips to help maintain that summer shape into the fall:

• Biceps: For an effective bicep workout, hold a soup can in each hand and bring your upper arms close to the body. Bend elbows and slowly bring your hands up to your shoulders. Release and bring your hands down to your thighs, keeping your arm muscles contracted throughout the routine.

• Abs: Laughter is an amazing ab workout that exercises your diaphragm, abdominal and respiratory muscles all at the same time. It is estimated that hearty laughter can burn calories equivalent to several minutes on the rowing machine or exercise bike.

• Glutes: When shopping, working or anywhere you find stairs, take them to burn a few calories and give your fitness level an extra boost. It’s a free and easy way to get a great backside.

• Back, Shoulders & Chest: Take a 5-minute break during the day to stretch and help build strength in your upper body. While sitting in your desk chair, touch your ear to your shoulder and hold it there. For a chest opener, stretch your arms back as if you were trying to grab a pencil between your shoulder blades. Keeping muscles loose will ease tension and keep you energized throughout the workday.

• Brain: While not technically a muscle, it is important to exercise your thoughts on fitness in the same way you exercise the rest of your body. Be realistic and ready for the fall season by understanding food labels, strategically making time for exercise, and combating the urge to be lazy during the colder months.

For more tips, be sure to check out our special “Exercise in Fitness” section in our upcoming September issue of American Spa.

Florence Hotel Debuts Rooftop Kundalini Yoga Classes

As if a vacation in Florence wasn’t already fabulous enough, guests of Continentale Hotel can now get their wellness fix following their immersion in the city’s world of fashion, food, and art. The hotel is now offering Kundalini yoga classes, which take place on a terrace overlooking the surrounding Florentine rooftops and the Arno River. These complimentary classes, which are led by American instructor and certified teacher Amanda May, are held Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:30 to 11:00 a.m. atop the hotel terrace of Continentale Hotel through Sept. 30. It’s a great way to achieve Italian-style ohm.

Breezes Runaway Bay to Host Wellness & Zumba Week

I always try shake up my gym routine by trying new classes. Recently, I heard about the Latin-inspired dance craze called Zumba and I just had to participate! Although I definitely need to work on my coordination, the class was fun, exhilarating and a really good workout to boot. The gym is a definitive part of my schedule, but I sometimes dream that my fitness routine would include a beach on an exotic island and not an overcrowded classroom where I have to fight for a space. Breezes Runaway Bay in Jamaica has the perfect remedy for those who long for a vacation that revolves around fitness and pampering without any stress. From Aug. 14-21, Breezes is offering its Wellness & Zumba Week getaway. All week long, guests can partake in calorie-burning Zumba classes and strength and flexibility-building Pilates classes. After working out, guests will want to head to the resort’s Blue Mahoe Spa where pampering is on the menu where all natural plant and sea products are used for an array of spa treatments including massages, body wraps, manicure, and pedicures. Guests will find it a well-deserved way to unwind after a day of fitness. In Addition, author Babbie De Derian will host interactive workshops with tips from her new book ,“How to Outsmart Mother Nature.” De Derian will discuss how guests can look and feel their best at every age by changing nutrition and fitness habits. She will also share her head-to-toe beauty secrets and at-home spa remedies. Rates during Wellness & Zumba Week start at $175 per person, per night based on double occupancy with a three night minimum stay. Guests booking by Aug. 3 will receive a $260 air credit on four- and five-night stays, or a $420 air credit on six- and seven-night stays.

The Spa & Salon Bellagio Offers a Dynamic Fitness Program with the Help of Cirque du Soleil and Reebok

The saying ‘only in Vegas, baby’ rings true with the introduction of a new fitness program exclusively at the Bellagio Las Vegas. The Spa & Salon Bellagio has teamed up with Cirque du Soleil and Reebok to create a one-of-a-kind new workout called JUKARI Fit to Flex. The workout is inspired by the artists of Cirque du Soleil’s “O,” which is playing at the Bellagio. The program blends controlled movements with cardio to help develop long and lean muscle and a strong core using the specially designed JUKARI band. Guests will have the opportunity to experience the 50-minute class every Wednesday through Friday at 9:00am and every Saturday at 10:00am. The classes are $40 per person and include a day pass for the cardio center, wet areas, and locker room. What fitness classes make you and your clients want to sweat?

Exhale Provides Tips for
Scoring Awesome Summer Abs

I’m going on a beach vacation in Jamaica over the week of the Fourth of July, so when I got an email with the subject line, Get Rock Hard Abs by July 4th, I was thoroughly intrigued. I’ve got less than a month to whip myself into bathing suit shape, so I am definitely going to use the following tips from Elisabeth Halfpapp, co-founder of exhale mind body spa and its famed Core Fusion classes. She suggest doing the following exercises four times a week for 10 minutes to score awesome abs.

Fly Up: Targets abs

  • Sit on floor on a folded towel, lean back to rest on elbows and place feet hip-width apart on wall in front of you so that knees are bent about 90 degrees.
  • Press rounded lower back into floor and squeeze abs as you extend legs up, keeping feet against wall and lifting arms to reach toward feet, elbows soft. MAKE IT HARDER: Really press feet into wall as you extend legs.
  • Do 20 pulses: curl torso up 1 inch then lower 1 inch.
  • Do 3 sets, hugging knees to chest to rest between sets.

Twisted Curl: Targets abs, obliques

  • Sit on floor on a folded towel with knees bent and feet flat, then lean back to rest on elbows.
  • Press rounded lower back into floor, squeeze abs and curl torso up toward left, lifting arms so that both hands grasp outside of left thigh.
  • Maintaining curl, release hands so that both hover to outside of thigh and do 20 pulses: Curl torso up toward left by 1 inch then lower 1 inch. MAKE IT EASIER: Keep both hands on thigh for pulses. MAKE IT HARDER: Raise arms overhead for pulses.
  • Switch sides and repeat. Do 3 sets.

Side Plank-up: Targets abs, obliques, inner thighs

  • Lie on right side on floor with legs stacked and a rolled-up towel between thighs, propping torso up on right elbow so that right forearm pointing in front of you. MAKE IT EASIER: Stagger feet so that side of left foot is on floor in front of right for a wider base of support.
  • Lift hips so that body forms a straight line from head to toe, squeezing towel between thighs.
  • Hold for 1 count, then lower.
  • Do 10 reps. Switch sides and repeat. Do three sets.

C-Curve: Targets abs, quads, inner thighs

  • Stand facing a wall with legs together, squeezing rolled-up towel between thighs.
  • With knees slightly bent, hinge forward at hips to place palms on wall, arms extended, so that back is nearly parallel to floor.
  • Squeeze abs and towel as you rise onto toes, then do 20 pulses: Lower hips one inch then back up. MAKE IT HARDER: Start with knees bent 90 degrees so that hips are closer to knee level, then pulse.
  • Do 3 sets.

I’m planning to start this regimen today. Feel free to share these tips with your clients (and try them yourself), and keep me posted on the state of your summer tummies.

Spa Week Teams Up with Jillian Michaels
to Present the Get Fit for Summer Giveaway

Although fans of tough-love trainer Jillian Michaels will no longer be able to watch her on “The Biggest Loser,” those who enter Spa Week’s Get Fit For Summer Giveaway have the chance to win a four-day spa interlude for two at the original Golden Door Spa (Escondido, CA), complete with accommodations, spa treatments, fitness counseling and classes, and healthy meals; a six-month free membership to Jillian’s online weight-loss and wellness program; and a copy of her bestselling book, Unlimited: How to Build an Exceptional Life. As an added bonus, the winner will also receive a $175 SpaWeek Gift Card to use at one of more than 3,000 spas nationwide.  Visitors to can enter to win throughout the month of June. “What a great opportunity for people to be part of something as life changing as this experience,” says Spa Week Media Group CEO and president Cheryl Reid. “It was our pleasure to bring together three of the country’s premier wellness brands in an effort to continue to make a difference. Our goal is to change the world into a healthier place, one person at a time.”

New Yorkers Are Challenged to Lose Weight, Win Cash

Obesity has consistently been on the rise in New York City. More than one-quarter of adult New Yorkers are overweight or obese. Last year, First Lady Michelle Obama brought the issue to the forefront with the launch of her anti-obesity initiative to fight childhood obesity. Now, Healthy Wage, an online network, has a unique way to help NYC residents get fit with the lure of cash. Registration is now open for Healthy Wage’s “NYC Matchup” competition, a weight loss competition that gives individuals and corporate participants the chance to win money while losing pounds. “’The NYC Matchup brings the region together in a collective effort to achieve weight-loss and health goals through a fun and lucrative competition,” says HealthyWage co-founder David Roddenberry. “Competing in teams of five against family, friends, and co-workers for added encouragement, bragging rights and huge cash prizes, this initiative leverages our social network model proven to help motivate and sustain weight-loss. Academic research shows that obesity has spread through social networks and will likely reverse through social networks. We hope this initiative will provide an extra dose of motivation to effect positive change for the New York region.”

Since spas are such meccas of health and wellness, I thought this sounded like an interesting idea for our community. Can you perhaps kick off a similar initiative in your spa? Or are you already making moves to help your clients shed excess pounds? Share you ideas here, and let’s see what we can all do to fight obesity.

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