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hotel training

Laura’s Training On theGo has strayed from its original theme of travel and workout but this past week I was thinking about this as I spent nights in two different hotels. Here are my reviews, from an athlete (and mom) perspective.

#1.  The Standard in NYC on the High Line

Basically an awesome location in general but for athletes, you can’t do better. Why? A couple blocks away you’ll find the 11 mile Hudson River Greenway path, perfect for running or riding a Citi Bike. If you do choose to rent one of those bikes, you’ll feel like you rode 4 times the mileage you actually did. Bonus!  If you’re there during the cold winter months and don’t feel like freezing outdoors, choose a Peloton Bike and join a live streaming class from the exercise room on the 14th floor. From your perch high above the Hudson, you can laugh at the crazy suckers running in the snow. Aside from the state of the art exercise room, the hotel offers a fantastic service. They’ll wash four items of workout clothing and return them to your room by 6pm. No (extra) charge.

And in no way connected to working out but my favourite feature of this hotel, here’s the video from the elevator, set to Prokofiev’s Cinderella ballet.

#2.  limelight in Apen, CO

I’m not going to lie. I didn’t even set foot into the workout room in this hotel. Though, I did peek through the window and noticed it’s small but equipped with a lifestyle spin bike and a few other machines. The reason I think this is a great hotel for athletes is the breakfast spread. Don’t laugh, I’m serious. It’s included with the room price and it’s enormous. There are the usual cereal, eggs, bagels and pancakes but also a salad bar with several varieties of greens, black beans, seeds and nut butters. Delicious oatmeal, granola and several varieties of yogurt are just begging to be topped with fresh or dried fruits. On Saturday there was smoked salmon.  Every day there were pre-made smoothies. My favourite treat though was doughnuts and coffee by the fire. Speaking of keeping warm, the outdoor pool and hot tubs are open year round. Nothing better after a long day on the slopes than a soak until you can’t stand the heat then a cold plunge. Mine was inspired by several tipsy Europeans who seemed to think it would be great fun.  I jumped in and hopped around like a lunatic while my body acclimated then convinced my boys it wasn’t really that cold. Aviv joined me and swam a few laps. Eitan began shrieking immediately and was passed back into the hot tub. Despite the slushy ski conditions (hard work for the legs) I wasn’t even slightly sore by the end of our trip. I attribute this to my hot-cold therapy.

The final thing worth mentioning about this hotel is the shuttle services from the airport and to Snowmass Mountain, where our kids loved the ski school. Little details make a big difference.

 

 

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Said no mom ever when given the choice between a late afternoon playground adventure which would surely end with a meltdown or a free hour of childcare. Except for me yesterday when the hour of childcare was attached to my attendance of Monday night spin class – a class I dearly love and don’t miss except under extenuating circumstances. Yesterday I was exhausted and positive I’d never survive the class.

My boys won, as usual, so I signed them into Y kids and found the energy to get through class. I left the YMCA feeling better than when I’d walked in, which is true 99.9% of the time. Sometimes I just need a little push from my pint-sized coaches.

Today I returned to the Y of my own free will and pushed myself harder in yet another spin class.  I have a nifty little app that connects to the spin bikes so upon comparison I can see that today I was averaging 20 watts higher than yesterday and also burned 40 more calories during my 40 minutes on the bike. Basically boring information but useful to me as self-motivation. Yay! I’m stronger than I was yesterday! Or maybe it was the good music and the cute instructor who walked around stalking our computers. Either way, I worked harder and feel awesome because of it.

the workouts:

If you want to try working with wattage, I suggest reading this article to begin. In both classes we were working with establishing challenging wattages we could hold 2-4 minutes. In Amy’s class yesterday we were sustaining 3 minutes with a comfortably high wattage then 2 minutes at +5-10 watts. 1:00 rest interval between the two. Then 8 x :20 all out with rest interval :10. Rest and repeat the entire thing. Today Luis was working us for 4 minute intervals, high wattage 85-90 rpm broken up with 1 minute very heavy climbing 65-70 rpm.

 

 

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noise regulation

Any orchestral player who complains about the volume of their brass section has clearly never taken a spinning class in Tel Aviv. Three trumpets pale in decibel to the stereo system in Gordon Pool’s spin studio. That was my first observation at 7am this morning. My second observation was that our tiny but mighty instructor had an ear splitting whistle, which she sounded throughout the class (through her headset microphone) to cue each position change.  There were eight of us in the studio, including our class cheerleader, a plump middle-aged man with a perm and muscle shirt who spent most of the hour standing on the pedals waving his arms to the music. Two of us wore earplugs. All of us clapped and cheered enthusiastically on cue. The hour flew by and in spite of the noise, I enjoyed my workout.

I spent nearly twice as much for a one month membership here as I pay at my home YMCA and they don’t even supply towels. I forgot to bring a hand towel and had to use my shirt to mop sweat during class. Then I had to wear it to breakfast. Gross. The spin bikes are old and without computers. I’ve grown accustomed to training with wattage and rpm’s so without these numbers it’s tricky to train smart.

The upside: I have a one month membership to Gordon Pool!!! Anyone who’s known me since we’ve been coming to Israel has surely grown sick of hearing me talk about this spectacular 50 meter saltwater pool overlooking the Mediterranean. Usually when we’re here I run outside and buy a swim pass but this year I splurged on the whole shebang, which includes many classes and the use of a Japanese-style bathhouse spa. I was tickled to realize I’m now comfortable enough with my Israeli-ish-ness to walk into a gym, request a tour, then attend a spin class. Of course everyone speaks English, but I can read the signs posted in Hebrew and I’m trying to begin conversations in Hebrew.

The Israman half ironman is in 23 days. While my training hasn’t exactly been thorough, I’m enjoying the process and doing the best I can at this moment in my life.

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new year’s day sunrise run

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strong like mommy

A while back Aviv told me he was eating a ton of food so he could be strong like me. My instant reaction was to lecture about quality vs. quantity – it matters more that he eats “strong foods” (like the snap peas he loves and the peppers he hates). Then I stepped back and digested what he’d just said. My 5 year old thinks I’m strong and that makes me proud. In his own 5 year old way, he’s understanding the example I’m trying to set for my boys – of living a strong, healthy lifestyle. Thanks, Mom, for teaching me the same.

 

Last week in spin class my favorite instructor said she’d been using me as an example in her other classes. Though I’m small, I can sustain a high wattage on the bike while keeping good form, which must mean I have a strong core. There’s the s – word again!

Today in the pool I was admiring the strength and speed of the woman next to me. She raced by me on her kickboard while I was moving my quickest with swim fins. I asked her what she does besides swim. Nothing. She grew up in the pool. I watched a few more laps and was still contemplating her extremely powerful kick as I walked directly into the men’s locker room. Oops.

I’ve been trying to follow my own advice to Aviv and eat more “strong foods”. For me this not only means more veggies, but fewer refined sugars and a better balance toward lean proteins. I’m in the middle of week 6 training for a half ironman at the end of January and nutrition matters! Toward the end of a recent long ride I pulled an energy bar from my pocket and as I tore off the wrapper the bar flew into the middle of the street. 10 second rule! I wasn’t about to let a little dirt and grease get between me and the energy I need to climb out of Sausalito.

So, what about strength? Obviously it’s been on my mind lately. While I can’t squeeze in any more weekly gym time dedicated to strength training, my mutu program core exercises have done wonders for core strength. I’ve also safely rehabilitated my DR (the gap between the 2 sections of the Rectus Abdominis [or 6 pack] abdominal muscle), which was a couple finger widths after two pregnancies. Various other exercises I’ve learned through the years in PT round out my TV-watching / Opera intermission strength training routine. Since this blog is about having a virtual training buddy, please join me! Tonight we’re doing wall-sits, squats, grand plies, clamshells, crab walk (is there a seafood theme to my exercise??), and side planks.

Be strong!

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a punch in the face

Did you know that if you forget to wear your fitness smartwatch when you exercise, the workout doesn’t count? I repeated the beginning of a cardio dance workout today so it would “count” – and then I forgot to stop my watch at the end. At least I didn’t punch myself in the face during the repeat.

Seriously, I punched myself in the face during the first round of the punching bag drill in the kick-boxing set. I really should be more coordinated than I am.

This workout is perfect for doing in the living room during your kid’s nap time or in a hotel room where you don’t care if noise bothers the downstairs neighbors. It alternates between cardio (tons of bouncing up and down like a cheerleader) and separate sets of arms (you need 3-5 lb weights or water bottles), glutes (I barely managed to stand after these) and core (I never want to hear the term “perfect plank” again). A mirror is a plus for checking your form but a window works in a pinch!

I may not be able to move tomorrow but fortunately my lip isn’t swollen!

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The trouble with vanity is sometimes your phone lands in dog poop. 

My mom signed me up for a fantastic program through the Suzuki Association called Parents as Partners. I’ve begun watching videos to expand both my teaching and parenting skills. One thing that sticks in my mind is saying “no” unless I truly want or need to be doing something. Of course we’ve all heard that a million times but this woman made an astute observation: nobody ever posts what they don’t do on Facebook. How true. And how many things do we take pictures of just so we can post them on social media sites?

Fast forward to Thursday’s run: Eitan & I were moving through the park at a good clip, I was feeling good in my new paisley leggings (thanks, Mom!) and I decided to get an action shot of us while he was still smiling. (Eitan doesn’t think much of these extended stroller sits. He spends most of the time telling me “I’m all done”.)  I rigged my phone up to a lamp post, set the timer and pulled the stroller backward so we could run toward my phone looking happy. It took a few attempts but we both played our roles well and the result is this picture which I’m now posting.


Later, I realized that when my phone had fallen off the lamppost it had landed in dog poop. Gross gross and more gross. Eitan chatted with the ducks while I scrubbed my phone clean with  wipes found under the stroller.

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Yesterday I ran home from the matinee show and though I felt my phone buzzing and I saw gorgeous trees in bloom, I decided to refrain from checking messages and taking photos. The result was no icky phone and a much faster run. Maybe I’ll try this more often. And then again …

the workouts: I’ve increased the volume and intensity of my workouts over the past two weeks am more tired but my body is slowly regulating itself. I’m choosing to eat better (most of the time) and attempting to get more sleep. After struggling to keep an 11 minute mile pace climbing from Clement to Fulton on Thursday, yesterday’s 1st mile  (which didn’t include a stroller but a run up Hayes Valley Hill) clocked in at 9:38. Woohoo!

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dance dance 

What do you do when your mini -person wakes you up at 6am on a windy, rainy morning? My normal answer would be to push my husband out of bed and burrow under the covers for another couple hours of sleep. However, today I figured it was my turn to do morning duty and I wanted to go for a run. That was before I looked outside and noticed it was windy and wet. Once upon a time I would’ve bundled us up and gone out anyway but I just didn’t have it in me today so I set Eitan up with a banana and found myself a dance cardio workout. Don’t know where the inspiration for this came from but maybe I was channeling a little Dance Dance revolution. Yes, I love that game. Anyhow, Eitan joined me for some triceps, creatively using a ball after I refused to share my hand weights. By the time I reached the floor work portion, Aviv was also awake and the boys vied for space  underneath me as I did leg presses. Nothing like a little person poking my bellybutton to distract me from aching glutes. We did some stretches together and then moved on to breakfast…finished with my workout before I’d even hoped to be awake this morning!

Warning: don’t do this workout if you live upstairs. Your downstairs neighbors will hate you. 

If the gym is more your thing, here’s my rainy day 30 on machines:

This 20 minute GCN cycling workout followed by 10 minutes of hill repeats on the treadmill.  Don’t forget to stretch after!

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