Burn It Like Brooklyn: The Bodyburn Phenomenon

It’s Tuesday morning. I have a sinking feeling in my stomach. It’s Brooklyn Bodyburn (BBB) day. I’ve come to have a love/hate relationship with the muscle burning, shake inducing, “do I puke or cry?” phenomenon that is BBB. On the one hand I know the next hour is going to be pretty much the most intense grueling hour of exercise I can do (bar maybe Tonehouse). On the other hand, it’s the feeling of strength, power and pure adrenaline after the burn that keeps me (and most of the New York models I know) coming back for more.

Photo: Brooklyn Bodyburn

Photo: Brooklyn Bodyburn

So what is the sweat sensation that is BBB? Brooklyn Bodyburn has taken Pilates Reformer to a whole new level. Based in Brooklyn, the class utilises the ‘Megaformer’. What on earth is that I hear you ask? I know, I felt the same way when I first decided to take my ‘mega plunge’. If your familiar with Pilates Reformer, it basically takes the fundamentals of that to a ‘mega’ scale. You’ll use a machine similar to that of normal Reformer set ups. Which (if its as foreign to you as it was to me), is a machine like contraption, using changeable weighted springs as a form of resistance. You use different platforms on the machine to perform moves which are met with the springs resistance. It definitely looks like a torture mechanism, but it’s not. Well not technically anyway.

Brooklynbodyburn

Photo: My Instagram @kimhartwell

The class is spent hopping (very quickly) from one exercise to another. You’ll perform Megareformer variations of planks, lunges, pikes, push ups, Tricep dips to name a few. Each exercise uses isometric movements that lead your muscles to fatigue. And when I say ‘fatigue’ I mean “holy cow I’ve not seen my leg shake quite so much. Ever. I’m practically Bambi on ice”. I “must go on”, they encourage. The shake is a “good thing”. Really?! Right now I feel like it’s kinda not I tell myself. Yet they motivate me in such an inspiring way that I keep going. They reaffirm that “muscles are built when the shake comes; recruiting new muscle fibres”. Uhh ok fine maybe one more lunge. Grimace, grimace, or as my yoga teacher likes to call it “fart face” – unsurprisingly none of those allowed in yoga. May have to make an exception in the case of Bodyburn.

IMG_4138

Photo: My Instagram @kimhartwell

Movements focus on different parts of the body. Notably, I remember a whole lot of leg work. “I do want a butt like Beyonce’s, I do want a butt like Beyoncé” I tell myself as I see my face grimacing in the mirror at the thought of the whole other leg to come later on. I honestly don’t know whether to puke or cry. Having been a few times I thought I’d get the knack of it by now. Not sure if they’re just trying to be nice, they tell me apparently it’s ‘always hard – even for instructors’ – oh good.

You certainly get your burn for your buck. The class is a full body workout, but the core. Oh my word the core. Megaformer known as ‘the core creator’ ensures that in every move you make, the core is fired up. A teacher once told me it’s like a ‘truth machine’; you think you have a solid core, but this way of working out brings a whole new meaning to the word. No coincidence that the girls who have clearly spent some time here are flaunting abs of steel then!

The instructors are a true merit to the class. Motivating you past those shakey points, past the brink of no return, on to the next exercises. They aren’t lying when they say it “burns so good”. You certainly burn. Oh it burns, but oh it’s worth it. Not for the faint of heart (I would be sugar coating it to say that it’s anything but intense), but if you’re willing to persevere, push past your limits and rise to the challenge you will surely be handsomely rewarded. I certainly recommend it – just try to keep the “fart face” to a minimum!

Sending health & happiness,

Kim x

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Take Your Running to the Weight Rack: Why Runners Should Strength Train
Photo: Coty Tarr

Photo: Coty Tarr

Are you a runner? Do you strength train? All too often the answer to this is no. If you are continuously running without the fundamental strength that your body needs to support you while running then you may be setting yourself up for injury.

Why Strength Train for Running?

Sure you’re an avid runner, knock out a very respectable mileage each week, but have you also struggled with some sort of injury at some point? More than likely the answer is yes. As polled by Runners World, in one year as many as 66% of runners struggle with injury. So how can strength training help? Here’s 4 reason why incorporating strength training into your running program is a good idea:

  1. Correct Muscle Imbalances and Running Form

Muscles act in balances. In everyday life (such as sitting down for long periods of time) the body picks up muscle imbalances. If you’re constantly sitting down for long periods daily (let’s face it, most people are) your hip flexors are in a constant state of flexion. This means that your hip muscles become tight. This in turn weakens those muscles in opposition to that muscle group. In this example; the glutes. Runners commonly struggle with a lack of glute activation. What is known as synergistic muscle dominance takes over. Which basically means that inappropriate muscles take over the function that the glute should be doing itself. This leads to incorrect posture and form which will have a direct influence on your running technique.

Photo: MIchael Benabib

Photo: Michael Benabib

Without strength training those glutes, the body can become weak, and the body is in imbalance. As Michael Fredericson, M.D., associate professor of sports medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine states: “Healthy running should be as symmetrical and fluid as possible. If you don’t have muscle balance, then you lose the symmetry, and that’s when you start having problems.” The hip and glute strength are two of the most important stabilizing muscles that are used while running (in addition to the core). Runner’s World (who let’s face it know a thing or two about running) combined a list of 10 laws of injury prevention, sighting strength training as a major factor. As explained “when you strengthen the hips—the abductors, adductors, and gluteus maximus—you increase your leg stability all the way down to the ankle” – thus improving your symmetry and in turn running form.

 

  1. Limit the Risk of Overuse Injuries

Just running and running with not a lot else going? I’ve been there: girl just loves to run right? Not only does this leave you susceptible to muscle imbalance related injuries but also leads to overuse injuries. Repeatedly stressing the same joints and muscles (which may already incidentally be imbalanced) causes the bodies tissues to breakdown and eventually lead to injury. As the Greatist states: “Bodyweight routines can help you recover from running while still building the strength needed to help prevent future overuse injuries.”

  1. Performance Improvements

So you want to get better at running? So you just need to run more right? What about those overuse injury problems that we mentioned? Going beyond your physical capabilities too fast will lead to inevitable injury. By preparing the body through strength training (in addition to running) it allows the body to adapt and better receive increases in activity. As Runners World suggest “If you are a serious runner and would like to run faster or farther you need greater strength endurance.” They conclude that even doing just one hip strengthening exercise will increase your running performance. Doing even more running related strength training will increase your running performance dramatically. Running strengthening examples such as those seen in Deborah Warner’s (Founder of Mile High Run Club, New York) workout for Self Magazine “Be A Better Runner workout”,

  1. Overall Fitness Improvement

Strength training will improve your overall fitness. Your body works hard to get you through your strength training regime. When strength training is done in a circuit fashion it doubles up as a cardio workout. Why not kill two birds with one stone? As Livestrong explains, “when you perform aerobic exercises (like running), your body keeps burning calories for a short time after you finish your workout. When you perform strength-training exercises like weightlifting, you permanently boost your calorie-burning capacity by increasing your body’s supply of muscle tissue.”

Self Magazine -  Photo: Peter Yang Hair: Eloise Cheung MUA: Junko Kioka

Self Magazine Photo: Peter Yang

Running Specific Strength Training

Why not get started on your running strength training today by checking out Deborah Warner’s “Be A Better Runner Workout” for Self Magazine. If you’re in New York City you can also check out her Mile High Run Club studio solely dedicated to running and running strength training.

What are you waiting for? Up your running ante – see you at the weight rack!

Sending health & happiness,

Kim x

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The Moves You Need to Improve Your Run
Self Magazine -  Photo: Peter Yang Hair: Eloise Cheung MUA: Junko Kioka

Self Magazine Photo: Peter Yang

 

Hooray! Self Magazine’s February issue is out now! It features a great workout by Deborah Warner (fitness guru and founder of the first dedicated running studio in New York – Mile High Run Club). This workout is specifically designed for fitness bunnies that want to get better at running. All too often runners underestimate the importance of strength training in addition to running. You can find out why you should be strength training for better running in my post: Take Your Run to the Weight Rack: Why Runners Should Strength Train.

Through the Mile High Run Club, Deborah has bought the use of strength training in runners to a whole new level. In classes time is dedicated to strength training that will actually make you a better runner. The below workout has been created by Deborah to help strengthen the leg muscles and core. These are the very muscles you need to build to improve your running performance.

Here’s Deborah Warner’s “Be a Better Runner” workout as designed for Self Magazine readers, demonstrated by yours truly….

“Be A Better Runner” Workout by Deborah Warner for Self Magazine

(Photographed by: Peter Yang. Hair: Eloise Cheung. Make up: Junko Kioka. Styling: Lindsey Frugier. Model: Kim Hartwell)

For video demonstrations by Deborah herself you can visit your “Trainer-to-go” at Self Magazine online: http://video.self.com/watch/trainer-to-go-the-moves-you-need-to-improve-your-run

May your runs be forever strong!

Sending Health & Happiness,

Kim x

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A Class in Getting Your Runners High
Photo: My Instagram

Mile High Run Club. Photo: my Instagram

Treadmills are having a massive moment in the fitness scene. Although treadmills themselves have been a part of the fitness furniture for years, it might just be their time to brush off the dust and start to shine again…

Photo: David Siik's Precision Running, Well+Good

David Siik’s Precision Running. Photo by: Well+Good

Gone are the days of being bored sat on a treadmill at the same pace for long monotonous amounts of time. The likes of Mile High Run Club, Barry’s Bootcamp and David Siik’s ‘Precision Running’ treadmill based training classes has made the once thought boring equipment of the treadmill all sparkly and new again. Although it doesn’t come with all the bells and whistles of the equipment based trendy classes hopping their way around the fitness circuit at the moment (Acroyoga, Megareformer anyone?). The simple act of treadmill running still remains one of the most effective workout tools. As David Siik (running coach and Precision Running group treadmill creator at Equinox) explains: “running requires so much energy to push up and off the ground every single step that collectively over many steps, it’s so much work.”

Photo: Mile High Run Club

Photo: Mile High Run Club

Mile High Run Club (MHRC) prides itself on being the first group treadmill class studio in New York dedicated to solely running. By the looks of things it won’t be the last. Class led treadmill workouts fused with resistance training provide a burn that strides ahead of traditional treadmill training. As MHRC states; “daily group treadmill classes and endurance focused strength training led by elite runners, (means that) everyone trains like an athlete regardless of fitness level.”

MHRC’s classes are a fusion of class led coached running and resistance training with kettlebells. The running portion of the class focuses on gradient and speed. The strength portion of the class focuses on strengthening muscles needed most in running. Both portions will make you an overall better runner. You’ll never need to ponder what on earth to do on the treadmill for so long again. Your treadmill workouts will be stronger, more exciting and more efficient.

Classes are great for anyone wanting to up their running game or simply just wanting to run with like minded fitness folks. Whether your training for a race or just starting out, you’ll learn all you need to know about life in the running lane – without the usual treadmill boredom or unpredictability of New York’s ice cold winter.

Founder of MHRC, Deborah Warner. Photo by: Well+Good

Founder of MHRC, Deborah Warner. Photo by: Well+Good

I was lucky enough to meet Deborah Warner, founder of MHRC on a fitness shoot for Self Magazine. The lady herself is the picture of health with fitness experience by the bucket load. Her newly opened studio is taking the New York fitness scene by storm. The studio is set in super fit and trendy Noho. With beautiful, clean changing rooms, meeting dark fluorescent lights of the class studio, it’s enough to get your motivation revved and help you really tune into your runners stride. Make sure you get down to MHRC for a taste of your ‘runners high’ – it’s addictive!

For those who can’t get down to the studio or outside but still want a runners workout, check out the “Be A Better Runner” workout routine in this months Self Magazine (February edition) . You can find Deborah and myself showing you some indoor strength training that you can do anywhere that will help you up your running ante…

Deborah Warner’s “Be A Better Runner” Self Magazine workout

Also available in video on Self.com at: http://video.self.com/watch/trainer-to-go-the-moves-you-need-to-improve-your-run

Here’s to longer, stronger running!

Sending Health & Happiness,

Kim x

 

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Don’t Underestimate The Power of Your ‘Music High’
Photo: quotepictures.net

Photo: Quotepictures.net

Don’t underestimate the power of your ‘music high’. Bringing music into your workouts can bring a whole new level to your training. By creating playlists to suit your mood and exercise intensity you’ll push your body further, harder,  stronger.

Playlists can easily be created on platforms such as iTunes, Pandora or Spotify. Check out the ‘Music-to-Motivate’ page on the Tone What You Own blog for just some of the music inspiration I use to get my body going.

You can probably guess from my previous posts I’m super into yoga, and especially when it comes with a beat. I feel like it allows me to drift into a whole world of my own, on my own spiritual level. Check out the ‘Hip Hop Yoga’ playlist newly added to the ‘Music-to-Motivate’ page if you take your yoga with an extra pinch of attitude!

If you like what you hear please feel free to follow me. I would love to hear suggestions on what really kicks you into gear when doing your own workouts.

I hope you’re all having a wonderful week! Happy humpday!

Sending health & happiness,

Kim x

https://open.spotify.com/user/kim0202/playlist/3rvd7PVaA8iRtb7tKeDiDx
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