Baby Strength Training

Tuning in today with sore legs and triceps from Baby Strength Training! That’s right, it’s a thing. New moms, dads, grandparents, caretakers, and anyone else with a baby, this class is for you!

This class is fun, cute, and challenging…and, yes, you use your babe as your weight, workout buddy, and motivation. Taught by Rachel Feldman, Baby Strength Training is new to Nomad Fitness in East Hampton (460 Pantigo Road) and it’s all the rage among the Hamptons babies.

From lunges to crunches, planks to pulsing, every class is different, but you can count on a great full-body workout every single time…and it’s only $20 a class! More relaxed than your typical group fitness class, (due to the fun unpredictability that is babies) there’s no judgement when a baby falls asleep, needs a diaper change, wanders off, or lets out a shriek.

Just bring a baby carrier and you’re good to go. No need for weights or kettlebells when you’re carrying baby weight, but in case your baby does fall asleep or isn’t feelin’ it, they’ve got ’em.

Just as important as the exercises is stretching, which Rachel incorporates throughout the class. You won’t be tight, but you definitely may be sore after Baby Strength Training!

One Healthy Breakdown: somethin’ about working out with babies makes a tough workout cute.


I’ve rekindled with an old flame: kettlebells. Aren’t they pretty?!

FullSizeRender(22)Made of iron or steel, kettlebells are (literally) full of potential for anyone, from professional athletes to first-time exercisers who are looking to gain strength and burn fat. Kettlebells combine the benefits of heart-pumping cardio endurance with weight-lifting in a dynamic, full-body workout. It’s like fusing a killer spin class or an energized run with intense strength-training session. Instead of choosing cardio or weight-training, kettlebells are a double whammy.

Kettlebell training builds muscle, increases endurance, strengthens balance, burns fat, and, in-turn, boosts metabolism too! Another added bonus is that kettlebells can be incorporated into your existing routine or utilized as the primary workout, in which case, it only takes about 20-30 minutes to reach exhaustion and reap the benefits. There have been many times where I’ve only had 10-15 minutes to spare and I turn to kettlebells for a quick full-body burn. Although they can be used to target certain muscle groups and body parts, pretty much all kettlebell exercises engage and strengthen the core. Due to the handle, the center of gravity of the weight is constantly changing, teaching your body to adapt by turning on a range of muscles.

KBThere is definitely a technique to training with kettlebells and proper form is highly important to prevent injury and maximize effectiveness. I would suggest taking a class or consulting an expert if you’ve never used a kettlebell or aren’t confident you have it down. Fortunately, the Hamptons has some great kettlebell experts. Try a Kettlebell class at Sag Harbor Gym with Sara (pictured above) and/or a class at Truth Training in East Hampton. You’ll get a kick-ass workout and eventually, you’ll learn to love yourself some kettlebells too! Once you’ve got your form down, you may just want to invest in one of these bad boys for yourself.

Sara explains: kettlebells can be used as a full body integrative movement, strength isolation, cardio drill, or all of the above. I’ve kept a kettlebelll in my workout routine for years and with all of the types of exercise equipment out there, kettlebells remain my favorite. The range of resistance, exercises, and challenges using a kettlebell makes it absolutely impossible for one to plateau. Besides the fact that everyone looks badass flinging iron, kettlebells build muscle and increase exertion, which burns more calories throughout the day, long after your workout. Who doesn’t want that?!

8309043682_cff4e10768_zOne Healthy Breakdown: why choose between weight-lifting and cardio when you can do both with kettlebells?

BODYPUMP: The Best Time You Can Have With a Barbell

Are you trying to get stronger? Discover interesting and effective new workouts? Want to change your body? Then it is time to PUMP! BODYPUMP is the LES MILLS barbell workout. A unique program that strengthens the entire body, there is nothing like it!

photo(106)I have to admit, before I tried BODYPUMP I was terrified of it. I would see glimpses of class through the windows at the gym and would tell my mom “that’s the hard class, we don’t want to try that.” Finally, in late January, she convinced me to do it and I became instantly hooked. Now I attend BODYPUMP three times a week and couldn’t be happier with my results.

When taking a BODYPUMP class, it is best to come early to set up your equipment. You need a bench with 2-3 risers on each side, a bar, and an assortment of weights. It is also advised to have water and a towel nearby – you will work up a sweat! The barbell used in BODYPUMP is adjustable, that way you can use the weight you are comfortable with. Once your setup is complete, you are ready to PUMP!

The class starts with a light bar as you are led through a warm-up that gives a preview of some of the moves you will see later in the class. After that, you spend the next 55 minutes working your large muscle groups to some awesome music with 70-100 reps per track. The instructor guides you through your weight selection for each body part and will give you time in between tracks to adjust your bar. Here is a breakdown of a typical BODYPUMP class:

Track 1: Warm-Up

Track 2: Squats – The heaviest weight of the class, works your legs and glutes with 70-100 squats using different tempos and stances.

Track 3: Chest – Laying down on the bench working the chest with moves like chest presses and flys.

Track 4: Back – A series of moves that includes deadlifts, rows, clean and presses, power presses, and wide rows.

Track 5: Triceps – Shift to smaller muscle groups to work the back of the arms with a variety of exercises to target this muscle group, including tricep kickbacks, dips, extensions, and presses.

Track 6: Biceps – Work your biceps with curls, bottom halfs, and even rows. (For me, this is always the toughest track!)

Track 7: Lunges – Hitting the legs again! Besides lunges, this track can also include more squats and my favorite: plyometric jumps.

Track 8: Shoulders – Target the shoulders with push-ups, upright rows, side raises, mac raises, and overhead presses.

Track 9: Core – Use a series of moves to work the core. From planks to bridges, sit-ups, you name it!

Track 10: Cool Down.

As you’ve probably grasped, BODYPUMP works the entire body! LES MILLS keeps it interesting by releasing new music and moves every couple of months. The exercises do vary, but the format of each class is kept the same. You get used to the structure, but instructors mix it up. If you stick with BODYPUMP, you will see some amazing progress. For me personally, the squat weight I used for my first few classes is now my warm-up weight, for example. Like any LES MILLS class, the tracks are choreographed and easy to follow. The focus is on proper form over anything else, and that is what makes the program both safe and effective.

Besides all of the strength training benefits you get from BODYPUMP, another reason to do it is that it is fun! For me, strength training on my own is booooring, but with BODYPUMP, the hour flies by and I get an amazing workout. This class welcomes anyone; the moves are easily modifiable and you choose your own weights for the bar. There are a variety of ages and fitness levels in every class. If you are looking to challenge and change yourself, BODYPUMP is the program for you. Classes are offered at both the Sag Harbor Gym and Southampton Gym. Check the schedule for more details!

One Healthy Breakdown: pump, pump, pump it up with BODYPUMP. One try and you’ll be hooked!

Q & A w Z: Warm Up & Cool Down

Q: What is the best way to warm-up and cool-down?

A: Warming up the body before a workout is really important to prevent injury during and after the workout. Lots of people think that static stretching is necessary before a workout, but you actually want to avoid it because it increases your chance of straining or tearing muscles.

For my warm-up, I do dynamic stretching and/or foam rolling for about 5-10 minutes. Dynamic stretching (stretching while moving) should be incorporated into everybody’s workout routine. It allows the body and mind to better prepare for activity. Dynamic stretching increases the heart rate, blood flow, and circulation to muscles. It also activates the nervous system to improve neuromuscular reaction, crucial during a tough workout. Dynamic warm-up can lead to fewer injuries and improved performance, something I’m sure we all want.

There is no one right way to warm up, there are tons of dynamic movements (you can search online for examples.) Pick the movements closely related to those that will be performing during the workout to target the muscles you’ll be working. If you’re training your legs, you could warm up with bridges, leg swings, walking on toes, walking lunges, high knees, lateral squats, etc. There are so many exercises, just pick your favorite 5-6 exercises (10-15 repetitions each or until you feel warm) and practice consistently. It’s very tempting to skip your warm-up, but don’t. Stick with it and it will pay off.

As for cool-down, it is important to let the heart rate come down after your workout.  Cool-down can be as simple as walking one lap, just make sure that you recover. This is the right time for static stretching; stretch the muscles you’ve worked during your workout for about 10-20 seconds. Gentle yoga is a great cool down. I usually do a few static stretches at the end of my workout, like Downward Dog or Forward Fold.


I also love love love the foam roller. The foam roller, a very cost-friendly tool, can be used to boost circulation before the workout and/or to break up fibrous tissue after the workout, which prevents soreness. The foam roller is my best friend after a tough leg routine, it loosens the tightness.

If you have a question for Z, email or post on the OHH facebook page!

One Healthy Breakdown: warming-up the right way is just as important as what you do during your workout – replace pre-workout stretching with dynamic moves for good reason.

Q & A w Z: Break a Plateau

Q: How do you break a plateau and reach your peak?

Mountain in Himalayas

A: When you’re incorporating strength training into your workout appropriately, plateaus occur less often than we think. If we’re doing the same thing over and over, yes, our body will get used to it, so it is then time to increase the challenge. Aiming for new goals is always a great way to continue to push yourself.

My goals involve strength and weights. It takes months to adapt to weight training. Sure, you can switch it up, try a new class, new workouts, or play with your diet, but I’d suggest coming back to the foundation of strength training if you feel stuck. Your body will always benefit from squats, dead lifts, overhead press, chin-ups, and bench press. These staple compound-movements will never get old and if you do them right, are incredibly effective. If you’re bored, maybe you need to increase the volume, change the order around, or change your goals. It takes about four to six weeks for your body to adjust to a routine and perfect it and it takes about three months to create real results. Stick with your routine during this time. If you can do more than 12 reps, it’s time to increase the weight.

If you’re not sure what program is right for you, consult a trainer or nutritionist depending on your objectives.

One Healthy Breakdown: Z is a model example of the effectiveness of these strength training moves. If you have a question for Z, email or post on the OHH facebook page!

Not Your Average TRX Class, Not Your Average Trainer

I finally got to take Linda Silich’s TRX class at Studio 89 (Claypit Road, Sag Harbor.) This is not your average TRX class, because Linda is not your average trainer. The class is a lot like Linda: a whole lot of goodness packed into one. From kickboxing to dancing, sprinting, and of course tons of TRX strength-training, Linda’s regulars know that anything and everything is fair game.

IMG_1413We warmed up with some cardio and then stretched using the TRX bands. TRX allows for a unique workout, conventional strength-training in an unconventional way. We went through the standard strength-training moves to target different muscle groups; biceps, triceps, squats, etc. The difference with TRX is that you’re really creating more resistance by loading the bands with your own body weight.

Linda pushed us through three levels of intensity for each move, so that we could challenge ourselves and modify accordingly. I’ve noticed with TRX, it doesn’t feel like it gets progressively harder, it’s almost more of an instant discomfort that tells you you’re doing it right. Seems backwards, but it’s effective, that’s for sure. When we pushed into the tougher modifications, my glutes or triceps instantly felt the work. And then we pushed and pushed. And pushed. Linda does the moves right alongside you, keeping an upbeat demeanor and a smile throughout the class that made me want to stay at her level.

You’ll never be bored training with Linda. She brings enough energy for the whole class to feed off of. She’s friendly, upbeat, fast-paced, and funny. Yes, you’ll laugh, but her class is no joke. Did I mention that this particular TRX class included kickboxing, running, and sprinting? Seriously, at one point, we ran on the outdoor track behind Studio 89 and sprinted the last side of the track. Told you this class is non-conventional! I asked Linda how she runs through class with such a variety of ‘tricks’ up her sleeve. Depending on the class and the music, she’ll just feel something and go with it. Sometimes, she’s very musically driven and lets the beat govern the movement, other times, she’ll feed off of the class’ energy and modifications. She clearly has been doing this long enough that it’s second nature.

The music is always catchy, Linda’s vast taste is a pretty perfect compliment to her teaching style – anything goes if it gets the body moving. Linda’s the only trainer that will get Paddle Diva, Gina, off her SUP board…and that, my friends, is no easy task!

Ayayay, the last TRX segment was extreme. I have a feeling this is what the inventors of TRX were envisioning: sheer agony. We ended the class on the mat, feet suspended by TRX bands, doing plank exercises and push-ups. Ok, this is when I finally broke an intense sweat and actually wanted to shed a tear. I felt pretty capable throughout class until this last point, when my core and shoulders began to scream. Best way to whittle your middle? Get those TRX bands around your ankles, get down in plank and just hang out. Dare I say that this one exercise alone may make ‘typical’ planks and push-ups seem…easy? Cringe. Thankfully, the song ended and we moved on to stretching. I survived another one, phew.

On a personal note, Linda goes above and beyond in all walks of life. From running a business, (Groundworks Landscaping) to being a fabulous mom, teaching fitness classes, and being super involved in the community, Linda deserves a shout-out for being a huge inspiration!

One Healthy Breakdown: Linda is truly one-of-a-kind. Take a class with her and you’ll be instantly hooked on Linda and TRX!


Physique 57: Pain Is Gain

Physique 57 is KILL-ER. Founded by Jennifer Vaughan Maanavi and Tanya Becker, Physique is a barre-inspired fitness technique meant to create a physique that combines the picturesque ‘dancer’s body’ with today’s strong, empowered women. Located in Bridgehampton, NYC, LA, and spreading, Physique is popular among celebrities, moms-to-be using the prenatal DVD right in their own living room, and everyone in between for good reason.

Focused on the large muscle groups, (thighs, abs, glutes, and arms) which burn the most calories, with small-twitch movements creates precision…and pain! Ok, I made it almost four sentences without saying the word pain. Yes, this is a painful class, but pain is gain. These tiny painful movements are killing fat, blasting cals, and toning the muscles. Physique 57 makes the claim of producing visible results in weeks and I don’t doubt it. The method is meant to strengthen and then lengthen quickly, with intervals of intense work followed by stretches to elongate the muscles and increase flexibility.
photo 1First, we warmed-up and got right into arms. I stuck with five-pound weights, which was tough, but doable (shockingly.) This may be the only part of class I’d label “doable.” We then upped-it a notch with push-ups and planks before our first of many sets of thighs…ah thighs. Enter, pain.

Just a few minutes into class, I was feeling the burn pain when Meredith said, “when it starts to get hard, we start to get negative. Stay positive! Thighs burn the most calories of any muscle group!” Easier said than done, but it was enough to push me through the set. Physique’s method of “Interval Overload” simply means pushing the muscles to exhaustion with lots of reps, and then some more after that, to really tone.

photo 2This isn’t exactly a ‘sweaty’ class, but it definitely gets your heart pumping. It’s the best of both worlds because you get your cardio and simultaneously sculpt and lengthen. This was my second “mixed” Physique 57 class with Meredith in Bridgehampton. If this is a “mixed” class, I can’t imagine surviving an ‘advanced’ class. The philosophy is ideal, though: you can always modify or take a quick break, but the class will always challenge you. It’s better to set the ‘barre’ high and modify than having anyone walk out of class thinking it was too easy. Yeah, that won’t happen. Ever.

Meredith is super nice and bubbly, but when class starts, she gets down to business. Why? Because she knows firsthand how effective this workout can be and she wants each and every member of the class to gain the maximum benefits. She explains that she’s looking for that shake, that muscle twitch to show that change is happening (yes, my muscles were a’twitchin.) Meredith has the grace of a dancer and the strength of a fitness professional. She clearly takes it upon herself to bring energy into the room and to turn each person’s muscles to jello. Physique 57 is tough, but Meredith’s personalized coaching and energy really make you want to take it one step 5Physique is really a full-body workout focused on hitting all large muscle groups. Your glutes will love to hate ‘pretzel’ and don’t even get me started on ‘waterski.’ I always knew waterskiing was not my sport and this has been re-confirmed. The back, obliques, shoulders, bi’s, and tri’s won’t feel neglected either, there’s something to target them all.

57’s perks? Strength, flexibility, bone density, body alignment, balance, and more. But, does it ever get easier? No. Never. In fact, it may just get harder as you get better. Meredith even admitted after class that she struggles during thighs when she is able to take the class herself. She said people look at her like “you’re an instructor, you should be able to do this easily!” but the point is: it never gets easy! I asked Meredith what makes Physique different from other barre classes; we agreed it’s the perfect combination of pace and intensity.

Physique 57 also sells their DVD’s and workouts online so that you can feel the burn pain right at home. What will you miss? The pressure of getting it right every time, Meredith’s awesome personality, and the space (ie: super-duper clean carpets and huge mirrors to watch yourself make that scrunched-up ouch face up close and personal.)

One Healthy Breakdown: Don’t let the ballet barre or the cute blond fool you, Physique 57 will make you work for that stretch and yes, you’ll gain from the pain.

Q & A w Z: Strength Training vs. Cardio

Q:  When and why does strength training trump cardio?

People Exercising at a Gymnasium

A:  There are SO many benefits to strength training: increasing BMR (basal metabolic rate) increasing muscle mass which increases the metabolism, preventing osteoporosis, increasing bone density, decreasing fat, increasing strength of muscles, tendons, and tissue which prevents injury, preventing disease like arthritis, and even preventing depression.

Cardio is good for the heart and it burns calories, but cardio cannot change body composition. The effect of cardio really stops when it stops. With strength training, your muscles are tearing and rebuilding, extending effects much longer.

With cardio, your body adapts metabolically and depends on those calories burned to maintain the same weight. So, if you consistently burn 500 calories on the elliptical, your body plans for the deficit of those calories. Then when you don’t burn those 500 calories, your body actually gains weight instead of maintaining it because it learns not to need those calories. Even when you increase the cardio, your body immediately relies on the calorie deduction. Strength training, on the other hand, kills the fat. Your muscles are tearing, rebuilding, and changing and this muscle synthesis causes a high spike in metabolism so you continue to burn more calories post-workout. Your body becomes more metabolically active and your BMR continues to increase.

My own experience is a great example. I was a dancer, I was doing tons of cardio and had very little muscle definition, I was what you could call “skinny fat.” When I discovered weight lifting a few years ago, I had to ween myself off of the cardio, because you learn to depend on it, mentally and physically. I could tell that weight-lifting was changing my body. Hours and hours of cardio was not.

Don’t waste your time and your energy, don’t spend hours a day on the treadmill or the elliptical, especially if you don’t enjoy it. Cardio is necessary for heart health, but don’t overdo it, it can actually wreck your metabolism and create too much cortisol. Of course, if you enjoy cardio, don’t cut it out. Do what you enjoy, whether it’s running or walking on the beach or yoga, but strength training is the way to change body composition. Try a good combination of the two.

If you’ve never tried weight training before, start with your own body weight or low-volume weights. Form and tension are most important, you have to perfect the form to benefit and avoid injury. And, you should have enough weight that there’s heavy tension (especially on the last few reps, those should be really uncomfortable, but it should still be manageable and safe so that you don’t need a spotter.) Lots of reps creates muscle endurance, about 8-10 reps of challenging weight is most effective for increasing strength. Again, training won’t do miracles if nutrition is left behind. Diet is number one. Cardio is not the enemy, especially the high intensity interval taining (HIIT), but it shouldn’t be abused. Balance is the key.

One Healthy Breakdown: I don’t need to spend an hour on the elliptical? AMAZING NEWS! If you have a question for Z email or post on the OHH facebook page!

Exceeding Your Max at Exceed

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Exceed Physical Culture (located on Plank Rd. in East Hampton & in NYC) is rugged without the mess. It’s competitive without the judgment. Exceed is built on unpredictable (yet consistent) intensity. It’s group fitness with personal attention, teamwork, and disparity. Exceed defines the term “shock the body.”

One thing I know after taking two Exceed classes: there is nothing out of the realm of possibility. I had no idea what to expect when I first walked into Exceed’s spic and span open fitness ‘shed.’ And I now know I’m not the only one, “our athletes learn to expect the unexpected,” Ed Cashin, Exceed’s co-founder explains. When I told Ed I came back for more because I was overwhelmed the first time, his response was “prepared to be overwhelmed again.” Exceed’s athletes are accustomed to being overwhelmed with intensity, and then exceeding the limits to get it done. Women flipping truck tires? Yeah, that happened.

The only thing Exceed athletes can expect is a structured class; quick intervals, never-ending intensity, functional movement, plyometrics, and a huge push at the end.

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Exceed is 50 minutes of ‘strength and ultra metabolic movement interval training’ (SUMMIT, developed by Ed in 2012.) Spiking the heart-rate, exhausting the muscles…oh, and, there are no breaks, not a one. The big difference is that Exceed’s SUMMIT philosophy fills the gaps between strength-training intervals with intense cardio, the heart rate is constantly being pushed, whether it’s rowing or jumping rope, it’s not catching your breath.

Everyone sweats, everyone grunts, everyone exceeds their own expectations. Although there isn’t much conversation going on, there’s this vibe that you’re all on the same team, all there for the same reason. The workout is scalable to all different levels, but everyone is there to exceed. The camaraderie, coaching, music, and grunting gets you through the 50 minutes alive.

After we partnered up, we switched it up between strength training, cardio spurts, plyometrics, and partner drills. We used kettle bells, medicine balls, truck tires, jump ropes, TRX bands, and most importantly: our own body’s resistance. Exceed’s method is based upon movement; the fitness toys are just there to assist or intensify the body’s own actions.

Then. There. Was. The. Wheel. What’s the wheel, you ask? I made the mistake of thinking there was enough time to ask that very same question. No, there’s no time for questions. The wheel is basically a compact version of running through the intense exercises of the class, one after another after another as fast as you possibly can. The wheel is a whole new level of intensity that happens just when you think class is wrapping up. The. Wheel. Is. Killer.

One Healthy Breakdown: I’m pretty sure I figured out why Exceed is 50 minutes instead of a straight hour: if it were 10 minutes longer, some people may actually die, and that would really mess up the clean floors.