I Tried It: Stiletto Fit Pole Dancing, A Workout in Six-Inch Heels

Shutterstock

Shutterstock

I don’t know what I was expecting when I stepped off the trolley in West Philly onto a deserted stretch of Lancaster Avenue on Monday morning, gym bag in hand. But a fuchsia pole dance studio barely a stone’s throw away from a liquor store definitely wasn’t it. I was headed to Stiletto Fit at A Sensual You, a class all about toning your butt, legs and abs, done entirely in sky-high heels. To say I was unprepared is a gross understatement.

From the second I walked in, it was clear that I was completely out of place. In fact, the first words out of my mouth were, “Don’t worry, you can totally laugh at me.” And believe me, these ladies should have. The uniform of choice was booty shorts and strappy platform stilettos that would impress stilt walkers and strippers alike. I had on leggings and heels I bought on sale in high school. To make matters worse, there was only one other student in the class, so there was no hiding in the back. I felt like a walking—no, a stumbling, disaster, and the class hadn’t even begun. Read more »

I Tried It: Aerial Yoga Foundations at Kaya Aerial Yoga

That's me, hanging with Research Editor Malcolm Burnley. Pun completely intended.

That’s me, hanging with Research Editor Malcolm Burnley. Pun completely intended.

Let me just start off by saying that I am petrified of heights. Like, “why-did-you-pick-me-up-two-inches-off-the-ground-put-me-back-right-now” kind of petrified. It’s not that I don’t like being in the air — I was a gymnast as a child and a dancer for most of my life. It’s just that I’ve had a few very jarring experiences while trusting other people to keep me from falling. From my spot allowing me to completely wipe out during my first-ever back handspring, to getting dropped in every trust exercise I’ve ever done, to falling flat on my face in my very brief experience with partner ballet dancing, I’m more than a little traumatized.

Gravity hurts, people. So when it comes to getting airborne, I’m more apt to trust myself to jump, leap, and lift myself up there (and safely back down) than I am another person, and most certainly an aerial yoga hammock. If someone had told me last week that I would be hanging upside down in a giant piece of silk suspended from the ceiling at Kaya Aerial Yoga, I would have laughed in their face. But I did it, and here’s the best part: I never wanted to stop. Read more »

I Tried It: SUP Yoga on the Schuylkill River

SUP Yoga on the Schuylkill

SUP Yoga on the Schuylkill

I don’t like water sports. Not one bit. I developed this distaste circa age five when, during my weekly YMCA swim lesson, we learned how to put our heads underwater without holding our noses. Or rather, the rest of the class learned how to put their heads underwater without holding their noses. I, meanwhile, clung to my nose with my thumb and forefinger like it was the last Starburst on Earth—five-year olds really love Starbursts. Then, after class, I promptly informed my mother I would be taking up gymnastics.

In the nearly 20 years since that swim lesson, my relationship with water really hasn’t come very far. Proof: last summer I posted an Instagram shot of myself jumping off of cliff (it was more like a semi-large rock, but “cliff” sounds better) into the ocean and my friend commented, “Excuse me, are you holding your nose?” I never responded, but the answer was yes.

And sure, I can swim. But I only do so if I absolutely have to. Which is never. So imagine my surprise when I found a water sport that I actually really enjoy doing—a water sport that requires no goggles, no bathing suit and, most importantly, no nose-holding. This magical water sport is known as Stand Up Paddleboard Yoga, or SUP Yoga for short, and last week I took my very first class. Spoiler alert: it was freakin’ awesome.

Read more »

I Tried It: Beginner’s Belly Dancing at Studio 1831

Shutterstock

Shutterstock

I’ll let you guys in on a little secret: I regularly convince myself that I am totally capable of doing things that I don’t actually know how to do. Sometimes it’s great for conquering fears and pushing my own limits, but other times it sets me up for complete and total failure. Belly dancing, I learned, falls squarely into the second category.

Read more »

I Tried It: 3 Fitness Apps for My Apple TV

Shutterstock

Shutterstock

My crack-like addiction to Walter White and Jesse Pinkman enticed me to buy an Apple TV earlier this year. But once I blew through all five seasons of Breaking Bad, I wondered, Could I get a decent at-home workout with help from my Apple TV? Turns out, yes—if you know where to look.

Read more »

I Tried It: The Great 30-Day Yoga Challenge

Be Well Philly Yoga 30

That’s me—all smiles at Mama’s Wellness Joint // Photograph by Adam Jones

It’s an unseasonably warm Monday evening, and even warmer inside the studio at DIG Yoga in Queen Village. I’m hiding in the back near the door. Sweat drips from my forehead, staining my new Lululemon yoga mat, as I struggle in downward-facing dog. I glance at the girl next to me—she looks totally Zen—and begin contemplating a fast, early exit. This is only day one of my 30-day yoga challenge, and I’m starting to think I’ve made a terrible mistake.

I always assumed I would hate yoga: the snail-like pace, the lack of competitiveness, the hippie-dippy ommmms. But for the sake of New Year’s—fresh starts! Personal challenges!—I decided to give it a fair shake: 30 days of yoga classes, at 30 different studios in the Philadelphia area. If I didn’t like yoga after this experiment, I figured I’d officially be a lost cause.

Read more »

I Tried Both: Spinning at Flywheel Philadelphia and Body Cycle Studio

Flywheel (left) and Body Cycle Studio (right) // Photos via Facebook

This summer was my first in Philly, and as the new girl to the local fitness scene, I couldn’t pinpoint Philly’s it exercise right off the bat. You know, are Philadelphians yogis? Long-distance running fanatics? CrossFit fiends? Then, as soon as I started writing for Be Well, it came flying at me: It’s Spinning—Philadelphians really dig Spinning. And the best part for carless city dwellers like me is that Center City houses two Spin-only studios within blocks of each other, where you can pedal your heart out: Flywheel Sports at 1521 Locust and Body Cycle Studio at 1923 Chestnut.

Now, being a Spinning novice, I wondered what made each of these very popular studios unique. To find out, I took a 45 minute class at each on two different Sunday mornings to see for myself what all the hype is about. Here are my takeaways.

{P.S. Spinning is totally addicting. Looks like Philadelphians are on to something.}

Read more »

I Tried It: SurfSET Fitness Indoor Surfing Workout

I’ve been DYING to try SurfSET fitness ever since I saw it featured on Shark Tank (it’s a guilty pleasure, alright!) back in 2012. For those that don’t know, the workout uses a stationary surfboard to replicate the muscle-toning, calorie-burning workout of a real surf session without the water. Since the show aired, SurfSET has been making quite the splash (ha!) in cities like New York, LA, and Miami, but, sadly, not in Philly. Totally unfair, right?

That’s why last month, I decided to put together a fitness class wish list, hoping that Be Wellers would be able to generate some buzz around SurfSET and maybe—just maybe—help bring this workout to Philly. After the post went up, I received word that a local yogi/trainer had a SurfSET board and was offering private 45-minute sessions. They’re run by Shelsea Acoveno, a super bubbly instructor and owner of Sea Yoga. Truth be told, one-on-ones usually aren’t my scene—there’s nowhere to hide!—but for the chance to try SurfSET, I was willing to make an exception. So that’s how, last Tuesday, I found myself in an apartment complex in Roxborough. On a surfboard.

Read more »

I Tried It: Penn Medicine’s Med School Boot Camp

Students at Penn Medicine's Laparoscopic Olympics

Last week, when I learned I would be checking out a summer camp at Penn Medicine, I have to admit I was slightly disturbed at the thought of 55 high schoolers actually choosing to spend their summer vacation at a camp modeled after med school. My idea of a camp, at least at their age, involves bonfires and archery and dips in the lake, not physiology books and cadavers and lectures with physicians. What kind of person willingly swaps one of his last summers of little to no responsibility for a four-week long boot camp devoted to all things medicine? And at age 16, at that? Even I’m not that much of a gunner. I should know: I just finished my first year of med school, and I wouldn’t elect to redo it if you paid me.

I’m happy to report that I was wrong—so wrong. This camp, at Penn Medicine’s Perelman School, in partnership with Julian Krinsky Camps and Programs, is med school on steroids—in a really, really good way. It’s the kind of med school that real medical students wish their med-school experience could be, one packed with as many fun and interactive activities as staffers could think of. (Seriously, they have weekly check-ins with students to make sure the “fun factor” is turned high enough.) Instead of spending the majority of their time slaving away over textbooks and sitting through long lectures with PhDs, Penn’s med school boot camp teaches students to draw blood, certifies them in CPR, lets them watch live-surgeries, and organizes lectures on topics ranging from addiction to global mental health, without the pressure of a big test at the end. These kids are even getting to practice techniques, like suturing, that I—and the camp’s six TAs who are also going into their second year—haven’t had a chance to try out yet. Jealous.

Read more »

« Older Posts