If you’re looking for a really terrible 7.5 mile running route through Manhattan, may I recommend the below at 5pm on a weekday:

Rush hour run

Rush hour run

I could not find the East River running path. Is it real? On Sutton Place there are a ton of little turn offs that seem like they open on to a east side path, but alas lead to tiny parks on the the water. I ran up many sets of steps in hopes of finding a clear route north, but nada.

Advice for next time, anyone?

(Apologies to all the pedestrians I ran over. I respect your swagger.)

Imagine if you will, the ballet barre. Dotted from left to right with svelte, legging-clad babes. They delicately pulsate in their well-practiced plié , their polished fingers daintily grazing the bar. Then your gaze is obstructed by mesh shorts and very hairy legs. Their sweaty palms gripping the wooden bar like a one-man game of tug-a-war. I am here to tell the story of two dudes in a ballet barre class. 

Blame it on the rain. It was too wet to play tennis so Jon and Matt agreed to try Physique57 in Bridgehampton (Katy, Sarah and I were going anyway). It took a little coercion on our end. I think the guys were nervous. What if they couldn’t hang?  Have you ever had a guy in your Physique or other barre class before?

For those who don’t know what Physique57 or barre classes are, barre is a pilates/ballet/weight combo.  It’s a hit with the fro-yo crowd. And in case you’re not picking up what I’m putting down, I’ll spell it out: the class is 200% women.  Rate Your Burn describes the crew really accurately in their post “Which Barre-bie Are You?”.

I didn’t realize it til we got to the studio, but bringing males into P57, while allowed (and lauded by the front desk ladies) felt a little bit like spoiling the secret. I could hear the man in the Wizard of Oz yelling “Don’t look behind the curtain!” But, nevertheless two men got a to find out “how the sausage is made” but this time black Lululemon Wunder Unders serve as the casing.

Because of Physique’s awesome new student package, Jon and Matt were able to take two classes for the price of one. We took the first class in Bridgehampton with Neil and the second at the Upper West Side location with Emily.

Katy, Jon and Matt (left to right) at Physique57

Katy, Jon and Matt (left to right) at Physique57 w73

We arrived at the studio and took trips to our gender-specific locker rooms and then we met up in the classroom. Jon and Matt each immediately boasted about what free products they used in the 30 seconds it took them to lock up their belongings. Jon found the time to use two Q Tips and Matt put on some free deodorant. (I should’ve told them about the complimentary apples).

Both teachers enjoyed having Matt and Jon in the class. They got a lot of extra attention (and from Emily a lot of extra adjustments which they appreciated). Sometimes they needed special instruction. The message “Hey ladies! Stand on your toes like you’re wearing kitten heels!” Didn’t resonate with them. Emily turned to Matt and Jon and said, “Hmm pretend your heels are on an Altoid box!”

Now some thoughts directly from the only people to ever wear Tough Mudder sweatbands to a barre class:

Jon on the studio:

“Great. But not so important to me. I don’t care about the windows.” (Editor’s note: the W73rd studio we were in overlooks Broadway through floor to ceiling windows. It’s really lovely.)

Jon on amenities:

“Was really nice to have our own private locker room, but that’s more a factor of us being the only men there for the class… possibly for the entire day (and maybe more). I could have eaten off the floor.”

Matt on the amenities:

“It was lovely. But it’s not worth $36 for me to take a shower.”

squeeze

squeeze

What Jon liked about the workout:

” The quad and hip work. The ball is very effective. The band is nice. The pilates mat seems a bit superfluous as the floor is carpeted. I like the weight warm up a lot.”

What Matt likes about the class:

“The leg workout was the best. I was sore the next day. Depending on what weight you used, the arm exercise could be tough.”

(Editor’s note: It was funny to watch them squat and pulse and squeeze. They were awkward (80%)and also surprisingly graceful (20%.))

Both:

“We preferred having a female teacher.” (Editor’s note:  Yea. Emily is a smokeshow.)

As for their thoughts on their P57 classmates? Matt explained, “I have to admit, it’s nice to be work out with a bunch of hotties.”

Feeling strong after P57

Feeling strong after P57

Jon ended by saying, “It was a great workout. I will never go back.” Matt said if it were free, he’d take another class.

Both expressed disbelief in the price women are willing to pay for 50 mins of working out. Jon felt like he could a lot of the exercises alone (ie: clam shells). It’s worth noting Jon has super-human discipline.

So men, I know what you’re wondering: Is Physique57 THE untapped place to pick up babes with smoking triceps and a lifted booty?

borrowed from Rate Your Burn

borrowed from Rate Your Burn

Neither Jon nor Matt are on the market but Matt did comment on the amount of “talent” in the room and how unexpected it is for a guy to be in there. That alone would be a good conversation starter.

As for me and Katy, we got free classes for introducing Jon and Matt to P57. So everybody wins. More clam shells for everyone!

my favorite

Half marathon training is going swimmingly. I’m actually feeling myself get faster and more “conditioned.” I didn’t play sports competitively as a kid, so this feeling of athletic growth is new for me and very exciting. Is this what all of your childhoods were like? Tell me more!

Did you just ride your bikes after school to track meets and then pedal home with the weight of your medals hanging from your necks? I figured you did. Belated Mazel Tov! I imagine it looked something like this:

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Not too long ago, I wrote a pretty comprehensive list of free running clubs in the 212. But who doesn’t like even more free stuff? Below is a list of free ways to work out in NYC that aren’t just running (though, some are).

FREE! (or low cost)

FREE! (or low cost)

  • Paragon Sports and The North Face are running a totally free 12-week training program for the NYC Marathon.
  • Atheta + (Well+Good)= Sweat Series. Well+Good handpicked 18 of the city’s top fitness instructors for these rad (and complimentary) Sunday morning workouts hosted by Athleta all year long in its New York City stores.
  • NYC Parks are running a ton of classes, from Zumba to Kickboxing to Yoga (and more) in all 5 boroughs.
  • Free Yoga in Bryant Park.
  • The Rise: Sort of like November Project. They meet Monday, Wednesday and Friday and do HIIT, Core and Hill sprits respectively.
  • A comprehensive list of every first-time client fitness deal in Manhattan and Brooklyn (from Rate Your Burn)
  • Gilt City Fitness Deals (not free, but cheaper)

I also thought this article from FitSugar on Why Running Isn’t Helping You Lose Weight was worth a read.

 

Running Bun wrote a thoughtful post  reflecting on workout-related regrets during her pregnancy. She wrote about being frustrated at herself for not wanting to and not being able to exercise the last trimester. A committed exerciser, she had imagined having a different experience. She got jealous of ladies who could run 8 miles on their due date.  Post-pregnancy she doesn’t regret not working out but she regrets the time spent beating herself up about not working out.

Baby now in tow,  Running Bun writes “It is such a short period of time and I wish I had taken the time to really enjoy what was happening.”

That struck a cord with me.  Not the pregnancy part. The other part.

I have a distinct memory of being in a yoga class and feeling supremely angry at myself for not being able to do a more advanced version of the pose. TRY HARDER my internal coach can belt. I walked out of class feeling more defeated than when I walked in. And from all the literature I’ve read on yoga, I don’t think that’s the point.
crow pose

Even though this lady can do it in a halter top.

I can think of at least two one-day juice cleanses that did not end in juice. And I remember feeling like a failure. A truffle-soaked french fry failure. 

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