Tuesday, September 30, 2014

FITerview with Danielle Wechsler

I've decided to start a new series - FITerviews! During these posts, I'll interview some of my favorite fitness professionals in New York City and beyond to bring you all the juicy (sweaty?) details from the road they are taking to build their fitness empires to what is in their gym bags. I'm kickin' FITerviews off with my friend and creator of cheerFIT, Danielle Wechsler:

Tell us about your fitness story. I was always active, could never sit still, and on any given day was found doing flips and somersaults in the middle of my living room. I started my ‘fitness’ career in gymnastics and never looked back. I was a competitive gymnast for most of my life and it was from weekly practices and summer conditioning that I was introduced to fitness at such a young – and I LOVED it. Talk about the girl who looked forward to conditioning practice, huh?

In high school, I decided to shift gears and join the cheer team. It was through cheerleading that I soon found another passion. I quickly progressed my cheerleading career to cheer in college where I cheered D1 for Syracuse University. Throughout my college cheering career I tore my ACL twice (still torn today). After tearing my knee for the 2nd time, coaches and doctors told me it was time to retire the pom poms, but I was not ready to quit! Turning every challenge into an opportunity to achieve something great, I was able to defy the odds and strengthen my knee to full recovery all through fitness. I quickly learned that fitness really does work. As a fitness junkie, I quickly advanced my fitness passion and became nationally certified through ACE, SURFSET Fitness, and PILOXING to start personal training and teaching group fitness classes.

As a trainer, cheerleader, and entrepreneur I combined my experience and passion to launch cheerFITAs young entrepreneur , I have been involved with fitness all my life and have proved that with hard work, dedication and a dream, there is no stopping me. Just see what I have in store for you next : )

Tell us about cheerFIT. cheerFIT is high-energy, body-rockin’ workouts and online programs for both cheerleaders and group fitness buffs. It originally started after I saw a definite need for fitness and strength programs for cheerleaders. As the sport (yes, sport!) continues to advance, the demands become greater and greater and the injury rates for these athletes has skyrocketed. It was after tearing my ACL twice during my cheerleading career at Syracuse University, that I then took matters into my own hands. Instead of surgery again, I rehabbed my knee to full recovery – all through fitness. With such success, I then combined my passion for cheerleading, knowledge in fitness, and business experience to create cheerFIT. I originally created cheerFIT to focus on helping cheerleaders stay in shape all year round, rock a killer bod, and prevent injury.

cheerFIT has since expanded to include anyone looking for a great way to stay in shape. This high energy yet intense workout is fused with cardio intervals, calorie blasting circuits, and cheer inspired exercises, making cheerFIT a great way to tone, sculpt and define. cheerFIT has recently launched our next biggest initiative, monthly Pep Rallies!

cheerFIT has it all! We have specific programs unique to any goal! cheerFIT has programs for cheerleaders, cheer teams, and fitness enthusiasts of all ages and levels. The weekly bootcamps and monthly pep rallies are an awesome way to sweat it out in a group fitness environment, while the online workouts and custom programs provide that personal touch. cheerFIT is your very own personal trainer and motivator!

What is your current fitness goal? I like to challenge myself, try new things each month, and do something out of the box that I would not have typically ever done. This month, I want to give boxing a try!

Do you have a pre and post-workout routine? If so, share your secrets! I like to have a plan so that when I go to the gym I know what workout I am doing and what muscles I will be working. I go to the gym with a plan and leave feeling accomplished! Bam : )

What are three items that are always in your gym bag? Well, I am always on the go and ready for anything (they call me the ‘bag lady’), so I've got it all covered in my gym bag. My all time staples though are:

  •  Green stride gum
  • A notebook
  • An extra workout outfit – you never want to be caught with the opportunity to get to the gym and then realize you have nothing to workout in!

Speaking of gym bags, what brand do you carry? I've got a a Marc Jacobs sport bag that is my ‘go to’ everything bag. I use it as both my over-sized purse and gym bag. With that said, I do have my eye on a lululemon bag, so I might have to make the switch soon : )

What are your go-to snacks to munch on for energy throughout the day? Almonds are my all time beyond favorite snack. I can bring them on the go and they are great to snack on when I need that extra energy boost throughout the day or after a workout.

What is your favorite healthy meal? I love a good ol' salad. I recently had a salad that topped the charts - kale salad with grilled salmon, orange slices, toasted hazelnuts, coconut shavings and some other goodness!

What is your favorite fitness brand to wear at the gym? Oh, I love them all – it is hard to pick just one! My top favorites are Athleta, lululemon, and Nike!

What is your favorite song to jam out to during a sweat sesh? Anything fast paced and fun to ‘dani pop’ too. 

I hope you enjoyed our first FITerview - there are more coming your way soon! Also, check out what cheerFIT is all about tomorrow night at 7pm at Athleta on the Upper East Side in NYC, and say "hello!" to Danielle!

Stay fit and fabulous,


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Thursday, September 25, 2014

How You Brewin'?

On Monday, my friend, Layne, and I took our first class at The Monster Cycle + Studio which just happens to be located across the street from the Central Perk pop-up shop. The line wasn't long at all, so we jumped in. (I was expecting cronut-style lines for this place!)
Central Perk is open at 119 Lafayette Street in SoHo (Is it obvious that SoHo is my favorite NYC neighborhood yet?) until October 18th.  It's here to celebrate the anniversary of Friends premiering this week 20 years ago! Do you feel as old as I feel right now?
The pop-up shop includes props and costumes from the show including Phoebe's guitar and Smelly Cat litter. Episodes of the hit show play on the wall to keep guests entertained while they enjoy their coffee and reminisce about their favorite scenes. There is also a gift shop (of course!), so Friends fanatics can purchase t-shirts and other memorabilia they didn't get their hands on ten years ago.
Layne and I were pleasantly surprised to find that the drinks were complimentary thanks to Eight O'clock Coffee. I'm not a huge coffee drinker, but I excitedly ordered a hot, caramel macchiato which was perfect for the beautiful, chilly fall day. The best part about Central Perk? We got to hang out on the iconic, orange couch! Could that BE any cooler?!
Central Perk will be there for you Monday-Friday 8:00am-8:00pm and on weekends from 10:00am-8:00pm until mid-October. I definitely suggest checking it out, but avoid weekends as I heard the lines are insane.
Stay fit and fabulous,
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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

I'm a Monster!

There really isn't a better way to start your day than by taking a class at The Monster Cycle + Studio. From the neon to the leather, you'll instantly feel like a badass as you step through the door, and the feeling remains long after you leave. Located in the always fashionable and fabulous SoHo neighborhood in New York City, The Monster Cycle + Studio has been rocking indoor cycling and yoga classes for a couple weeks now but has been creating quite the buzz. I wanted to see what all the commotion has been about, so I stopped by the studio a few days ago with my friend, Layne, to check out a yoga class.

The Monster Cycle's overall vibe is very homey yet still edgy and trendy. (It made me realize how much I don't enjoy the all-white, bright lights of SoulCycle's studios especially make up-free and gross post-sweat sesh!) There is dimmed lighting, couches, and magazines inviting Monsters to socialize before class or sit and stay awhile after class. Another aspect I liked about this studio is that it includes it's own organic juice bar. SALUD has been selling it's Latin-inspired juices and smoothies in SoHo and Brooklyn for years but has just recently partnered with The Monster Cycle + Studio to create a one-stop shop for people to workout and refuel. You can order a variety of items from wheatgrass shots to the "swamp thing" juice (a mixture of spinach, kale, parsley, celery, cucumber, apple, and spirulina for $10.50) to the "tropic-o-lada" smoothie (a mixture of pineapple, mango, banana, coconut flakes, and soy milk for $10.50). The best part? You can pre-order your drink of choice, so it will be ready and waiting for you after class!

I arrived to the studio early, but I was lucky enough to randomly meet with Eddie Larios (owner of SALUD) who gave me a quick tour and introduced me to The Monster Cycle team while I waited for class to begin. Don't let the studio's skulls and leather intimidate you, while the employees are total rockstars, they are the nicest people ever! Everyone was beyond wonderful especially our instructor, Jacyn.

This is the entrance to the yoga studio.

Jacyn is gorgeous and always had a smile on her face! She walked us through basic yoga positions so we could improve on our form (all while jamming out to non-typical yoga music such as "Chandelier" by Sia) which was great since the class included a variety of skill levels. I've been practicing yoga sporadically for a few years now, but this was the first time I've sweat so much in a class! While Jacyn's class stretched out our bodies, it also had a power flow to it which left me feeling stronger than usual.

Though wild, the art around the studio is amazing!
I'm excited for this cycling and yoga pairing to be located in one place! I'm looking forward to attempting a cycling/yoga double soon. Interested in giving it a shot? It's only $13 to try out a class at The Monster Cycle + Studio for your first time. After that classes are $33, or you can purchase a variety of packages which can drop class prices down to $25 a piece. According to the website, they also have a limited time special of a month's worth of unlimited classes for $100 (amazing!), and it's also available on ClassPass!

Stay fit and fabulous,
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Monday, September 22, 2014

Happy Fall!

Photo from here.
Today is the autumnal equinox, the official start to fall! While I love things about every season, fall is definitely my favorite of the four. I'm not a fan of winter approaching or less daylight, but there are so many other things to enjoy. Since today is September 22, I've listed twenty-two things I love about autumn. Let me know what you are looking forward to in the next few months in the comments below!

hot chocolate
football games
chilly weather
leather boots
comfy, oversized sweaters
colorful leaves
pumpkin and apple baked goods
fall runs through Central Park
the fall tv line up
festive scarves
darker nail polishes
pumpkin carving
caramel apples
cuddling up in cozy blankets outside
school supplies
corn mazes
a chance for new beginnings

Grab a Pumpkin Spiced Latte and celebrate the new season!
Stay fit and fabulous,
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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Weekend Recap: Westville and Workouts

I kicked off this gorgeous weekend by exploring Central Park Friday afternoon. It was the most perfect fall day. Seriously, this view...

While I had planned for Friday evening to be a takeout and movie in bed kind of night, around 11pm it turned into a night out on the town. I ended up jamming to 80's music, playing dominating at Jenga, and eating guac at E's Bar on the Upper West Side. I miss hanging out at dive bars. Note to self: do this more often.

On Saturday, I met up with some blogger friends at Westville Chelsea for some delicious food and girl talk. Check out their websites below:

Danielle, Liz, Meredith & I

I've been to Westville previously for brunch, and dinner was just as delicious! I ordered teriyaki salmon, Brussels sprouts, and the best butternut squash I have ever tasted! I'm still thinking about that squash days later! 

On Sunday evening, I met up with friends for a little sweat sesh at RIPPED Fitness in Rye Brook, New York. The RIPPED method is a HIIT workout that combines cardio on treadmills with strength and toning exercises on the floor. My friend/instructor/girl crush, Jacquie, kicked our butts and pumped us up for the upcoming week. I mean, how can you not be motivated when your instructor looks like this?!:

Isn't life just so unfair sometimes?
Photo from here.

She naturally epitomizes my signature sign off of "stay fit and fabulous", no?
I hope you all had a wonderful weekend and are excited for the opportunities this new week brings.
Stay fit and fabulous,
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Monday, September 15, 2014

#ManCrushMonday - Leading Lads

Photo from here.

Their handsome looks make us weak in the knees. They capture our hearts with their declarations of adoration. We are jealous of the girls they so deeply love and pine after. No real guy we meet in life will ever be able to compare.

These are the leading lads from our favorite chick flicks. The guys that set our impossible dating standards high. The ones that, although we know they are just a pretty boy actor delivering heart-melting lines dreamed up by a room full of caffeine addicted screenwriters, we cannot get enough of.

Today, I've ranked my top five favorite fictional characters. I'd love to know which silver screen studs have captured your heart. Let me know in the comments below! Here we go...
Photo from here.
Leading Lad: Tyler - Remember Me
Title: The Rebellious One
About: Tormented by his brother's suicide and his father's indifferent style of parenting, Tyler has #99problems which brings out his rebellious side. He's a good rebel though - like breaking windows to stand up for his bullied little sister or getting in a fist fight to protect someone else.
Best Quote: "Gandhi said that whatever you do in life will be insignificant, but it's very important that you do it because nobody else will. Like when someone comes into your life and half of you says: 'You're nowhere near ready'. And the other half says: 'Make her yours forever'."

Leading Lad: Jack Dawson - Titanic
Title: The Artsy One
About: Oh, Jack. He's had our hearts for almost two decades. (How old do you feel right now?) He is adventurous, selfless, artistic, caring, smart, and a great poker player. What's not to love?
Best Quote: "Rose, you're no picnic, all right? You're a spoiled little brat, even, but under that, you're the most amazingly, astounding, wonderful girl - woman - that I've ever known...You're ama- I'm not an idiot, I know how the world works. I've got ten bucks in my pocket, I have nothing to offer you and I know that. I understand. But I'm too involved now. You jump, I jump remember? I can't turn away without knowing you'll be all right... That's all that I want."
Photo from here.

Leading Lad: Noah Calhoun - The Notebook
Title: The Persistent One
About: Noah was the Jack Dawson of the 2000's. (I could write a whole other post about my theory on how The Notebook and Titanic are basically the same movie, but I digress...) He reads poetry, dances, writes love letters, and builds entire houses with his bare hands. Plus, he can rock one sexy beard! Am I right, ladies?
Best Quote: "So it's not gonna be easy. It's gonna be really hard. We're gonna have to work at this every day, but I want to do that because I want you. I want all of you, forever, you and me, every day. Will you do something for me, please? Just picture your life for me? 30 years from now, 40 years from now? What's it look like? If it's with him, go. Go! I lost you once, I think I can do it again. If I thought that's what you really wanted. But don't you take the easy way out."

Photo from here.
Leading Lad: Christian Grey - 50 Shades of Grey
Title: The Complicated One
About: Christian's troubled childhood has left him with a fear of loving and being loved in return, but all of this changes after he meets Anastasia. He's ambitious, philanthropic, passionate, and romantic. He is always stylish whether he is rocking old, worn jeans or a tailored suit. Last but not least, he's one thoughtful gift giver. He gives Anastasia a bracelet with charms of all their relationship's milestones and a personalized iPad including their first photo as the background, all his favorite music, and an endless library of books because she loves to read. (Now gift giving seems like a superficial item to add to this list, but I once got a box of Kraft Easy Mac as part of a Valentine's Day/Birthday gift, so let's step it up to Christian Grey's level here, guys. Even if you miss, you'll still land in an appropriate area on the gift giving spectrum.)
Best Quote: "You wanted hearts and flowers...You have my heart and here are the flowers." (after brining Anastasia to a room filled with flowers once he got over his fear of commitment and romance)

Photo from here.
Leading Lad: Augustus Waters - The Fault in Our Stars
Title: The One
About: I don't even know what to say about Augustus. You really just need to rent this movie immediately once it is released on DVD tomorrow to experience this guy for yourself. He is tenacious, witty, creative, and an all-around great friend. Whether it's the relationship he has with his family, his best friend, or his girlfriend, you just want to be someone in his life because he is that warm-hearted and charismatic. I'm presenting him with the title of "The Noah Calhoun of This Decade" Award. It will be hard for a future fictional character to top him. 
Best Quote: See, the thing is...we all wanna be remembered. But Hazel's different. Hazel knows the truth. She didn't want a million admirers, she just wanted one. And she got it. Maybe she wasn't loved widely, but she was loved deeply. And isn't that more than most of us get?...She's so beautiful. You don't get tired of looking at her. You never worry if she's smarter than you, 'cause you know she is. She's funny without ever being mean. I love her. God, I love her, I'm so lucky to love her, Van Houten. You don't get to choose if you get hurt in this world, but you do have a say in who hurts you. And I like my choices. I hope she likes hers. Okay, Hazel Grace?"
Annnd, back to reality...
Stay fit and fabulous (and continue to day dream about your fake movie boyfriends!),
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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

I'm On A (Baby) Boat!

Two things I love about living in Manhattan are the gorgeous skyline views and the abundance of unique workouts available. On Saturday, I decided to take advantage of both and try kayaking along the Hudson River. I dragged Angela @ Runner in Denial along for this adventure because I knew it was one of her summer bucket list items, and I'm all about checking things off the ol' bucket list

Angela and I have come to the conclusion that anytime we are going to partake in a water activity, particularly those involving boats, the sky will immediately fill with dark, stormy rain clouds. We've accepted this. Saturday was no different. As we met up, rain drops were slowly starting to fall, but we had not received cancellation e-mails yet so we continued on to Manhattan Kayak Company at Pier 84 off West 44th Street.

Each group is small (six people or less), and is lead by a guide. Our fearless leader, Fiona, was amazing. She taught us the perfect form and made sure we had enough practice before we left our safe, little harbor. Once we were ready, we made our way out toward the middle of the Hudson. The river was full of cruise ships, sail boats, booze cruises, and more. Plus, the current was extremely strong. During one moment, I thought the Manhattan Kayak Company was going to have to send a rescue boat for us, but eventually our little arms paddled hard enough to get us back into calmer waters.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to capture any photos of the city while out in the middle of the Hudson due to my fear of being swept out to sea if I stopped paddling. Though the skyline views aren't the same, I was able to snap a few while kayaking next to the Intrepid.
I'm attending a blogger dinner this weekend with friends, so you'll be seeing more of Angela on the blog soon. Other than that, I don't have any weekend plans. After passing two bowling alleys last weekend, I kind of want to get my bowl on though. Who's with me?! Let me know what you have planned for the weekend in the comments below!
Stay fit and fabulous,
Please follow me on Instagram and "like" my blog on Facebook if you enjoy what you read. Thanks!