I Tried It: Philly’s First Boutique Treadmill Fitness Studio

Incline Running | Photo credit: Kira Luxon Photography

Incline Running | Photo credit: Kira Luxon Photography

Running on the treadmill is to runners what eating at a Roy Rogers off the highway is to a road trip: A last resort — something you know you may end up doing at some point due to circumstances you can’t control, but definitely not something you want to do. So back in January, when we wrote about the Philly area’s first boutique treadmill fitness studio, Incline Running, opening in Haverford, the groans from runners in comments along the lines of “treadmills suck” were not a surprise.

But when you take the treadmill out of your apartment building’s dingy basement gym and plop it into a studio decked out with LED lights, a killer sound system and a running coach who will keep you from coasting, does running on the treadmill really still suck? Last Sunday, I found myself at the 10 a.m. 45-minute Run One class at Incline Running looking for the answer.

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The Cruel (But Awesome) Way Solidcore Totally Tricks You 

Solidcore in Adams Morgan, D.C. | Photo by Adjua Fisher

Solidcore in Adams Morgan, D.C. | Photo by Adjua Fisher

Last Saturday, I found myself in a Solidcore class at 10:30 a.m. The studio, home to a popular Pilates-style workout done on a resistance-based machine, hasn’t yet made its way to Philly (the first Philly studio is slated to open on Chestnut Street this spring), so I figured I’d get a taste of the workout while I was back home in D.C., where the studio got its start.

I’d watched YouTube clips of the workout online beforehand and, let me tell you, If I learned anything in that 50 minutes of class, it’s that you should not — I repeat: do NOT — be tricked by the slow movements and tiny pulses involved in a Solidcore class. It is so much harder than it looks. Like have-to-take-a-Lyft-home-five-blocks-because-you-can’t-walk-afterward hard. (I mean, not that I did that or anything.) Read more »

The Philly-Area Yoga Class That Won a Staunch Om-Hater Over

I hate yoga — hated, I should say. That opinion never bothered me because I thought I gave yoga a fair shake and it, like drinking eight glasses of water a day or not cursing under my breath, just didn’t stick.

I played volleyball in college and my coaches routinely forced us to do yoga every Sunday until we finally revolted (or, more accurately, we quietly stopped showing up and didn’t say anything). Plus, my sister is a trained yoga instructer and has attempted to indoctrinate me many times before.

But it never worked.

In my workouts, I need to be stimulated, I need competition and I need obscenely loud music to distract me from how tired I am. Without these, I give up instantly — especially now that I’m a retired athlete and no one’s blowing their whistle to make me run wind sprints at 6 a.m.

I just didn’t think yoga could offer me what I needed. But then I heard about the new Bulldog Yoga in Villanova. They designed their program to be musically driven without the om-ing and the namastes and all the other yoga speak I never got into. The sweeten the pot, the studio is two minutes from my front door, so I figured why not give it a try.  Read more »

I Tried It: A 20-Year-Old Guy’s Very First Yoga Class

“Just relax your leg!” the doctor said with a smirk while shaking my suspended limb back and forth. “My leg is relaxed, it just refuses to bend!” I responded with a hint of frustration and embarrassment in my voice.

I was 13 years old when my pediatrician sent me to St. Christopher’s Hospital to get tested for scoliosis. This was probably my fourth visit in as many years. He was hell-bent in his belief my spine was developing a curve and every visit I feared I’d actually be diagnosed this time. Little did I know I was about to become a medical enigma for a completely different reason.

Part of the test, for reasons unknown to me, involved checking the flexibility of my hamstrings. The doctor’s assistant was the first to take on the challenge of pushing my leg to my chest. I just laid on the examination table watching this poor lady attempt to find a trace of flexibility in my leg. The assistant, after laughing with my mom about the situation – which definitely made me feel normal — left to grab the orthopedic doctor. His efforts were also wasted. After pushing and pulling my leg like a stick shift, the resistance left him stunned. While the test for scoliosis came back negative, I left St. Christopher’s scarred with the memory of the wrestling match between my legs and their staff.

Clearly, flexibility and my name have no business being in the same sentence. But as the intern for Be Well Philly, I felt it was my duty to experience yoga for myself. Plus, I love a challenge and I’m no stranger to making a fool of myself. So when my editor suggested I try a class at CorePower Yoga on Walnut Street, I accepted with enthusiasm but feared the worst. Surely enough, my fears came true. And then some. Read more »

I Tried Acupuncture for the First Time — And I Can’t Wait to Go Back


Photo via Facebook.

Growing up, I always had a book in my hand. In middle school, I read “A Mango Shaped Space,” by Wendy Mass, and it quickly became one of my all-time favorites. It was about a girl named Mia who saw shapes and colors for every word and sound she heard. Her senses were basically a jumbled mess. I found it weirdly fascinating! She frequently went to get acupuncture therapy and, although I read it so long ago, I’ll never forget how much she loved it and always looked forward to her next appointment. There are tons of other books and articles about acupuncture out there, but something about this one stuck me.

Since about seventh grade I’ve wanted to try acupuncture myself. But despite rave reviews, the fear of getting needles stabbed into my flesh always held me back from giving it a go. When I heard that Open City Healing Arts was having an Acupuncture Wellness Hour last Tuesday night, I decided what the heck? It’s time to stop being a chicken and try this. For real. Read more »

I Tried It: The Awesome (and Insane) Hot Barre Class at City Fitness



When I tell you that there was not a minute — not a single minute — during the new hourlong hot barre class at City Fitness’ recently opened Old City location that I was not wishing I would have a full-blown asthma attack just so I would have a legitimate reason to dash out the door (because so hot! And so hard!), I am not exaggerating. That said, after the class, I felt like a warrior princess who’d gone to battle (somewhere very, very warm) and made it out alive. In other words, I felt like a beast. And, in my book, that’s a pretty great review of a fitness class.

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



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 »

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