Posts filed under sweat

Liberty Hotel mat class and lunch!

Every Saturday Equinox sponsors a FREE class at the Liberty Hotel, 10-11am. This class is open to anyone, and not only hotel guests! Bottled water, a few mats, and towels are provided. Today I taught a strength and stretch class... with a little Sweat with Lauren Hefez twist.

Thanks Keri for taking pictures!

hip work

Working that Gluteus Maximus

Standing leg series

Push up, into plank, into push up into plank! 

It was hot and humid today, so after class I needed something refreshing! Watermelon is what I was craving...


  • watermelon
  • feta
  • arugula
  • vinaigrette
  • you can add pine nuts, walnuts, or any nut!

Ever try watermelon and feta together? The sweet and salty combination is unreal!

Posted on August 20, 2011 and filed under events, sweat, food, fitness.

Bikes around Boston!

Hubway has come to Boston. Launched today at 11am, New Balance Hubway is a bike sharing system (kind of like zipcar, but far more green!)

I had heard rumor of a bike transit system coming to Boston, and was so excited to see the Hubway stands up and ready to use today! Such a cool system that I will be testing out!

I saw this stand in my neck of the woods, the North End.

The gears!

How it works: A bike costs $5 for a 24 hour period and $12 for a three day period. An annual membership is $85 (there is a special price of $60 until the end of July).

Your ride is free for the first 30 minutes! Be aware you need a credit card to rent the bikes. There is a $101 security deposit placed on the card, then returned to you when the bike is returned.

There are 61 stations set up around the city, providing 610 bikes. I have so far seen 4 New Balance Hubway stands. Where have you seen them? GO RIDE!

Posted on July 28, 2011 and filed under events, fun, sweat, fitness.

working out your friends is fun

This past weekend I took a trip to the Hamptons to celebrate a very special girls birthday! We only had one FULL day there, so we made it an eventful one. Per the birthday girls request (and my obvious excitement toward this request), we started the morning off with a wonderful beach workout! I LOVE beach workouts. It's nice to sweat from the sun and get cooled down by the breeze from the ocean. Exercises are much more difficult in the sand. Ever try running in the sand? Our beach workout looked like this:

No weighted arm series 

similar workout here

birthday biddies & hamptons w.Diddy 092

birthday biddies & hamptons w.Diddy 092

Leg extension and glute work

birthday biddies & hamptons w.Diddy 078

birthday biddies & hamptons w.Diddy 078

similar workout here

Straight leg raises, squeeze into the oblique

birthday biddies & hamptons w.Diddy 095

birthday biddies & hamptons w.Diddy 095

similar workout here

Inner thigh adductor leg work

similar workout here

birthday biddies & hamptons w.Diddy 097

birthday biddies & hamptons w.Diddy 097

Single leg planks!

similar workout here

birthday biddies & hamptons w.Diddy 082

birthday biddies & hamptons w.Diddy 082

We had the man next to us take some pictures. He was snapping shots like no other, then all of a sudden his sun umbrella flew away! He was able to save his umbrella, not to mention the camera was still safely in his hand!  Thank you Mr. Camera Man!

birthday biddies & hamptons w.Diddy 103

birthday biddies & hamptons w.Diddy 103

Later that day we went to a local farmers market and bought locally grown fruits/veggies and made a FANTASTIC dinner. Next blog (coming soon) will focus on the food part of our adventure in the Hamptons!

Posted on July 13, 2011 and filed under fun, sweat, fitness.

my favorite arm series

I love being able to workout with the least amount of equipment. I love being able to challenge my body using ONLY my body. You would not believe how hard it is to lift your own leg, in good form, multiple times. With that said here comes a video that has been requested by many. The loved and hated ARM SERIES! This series is all about you, your arms, gravity, and using all the space around you. Yes, you can move your arms up and down, but to really press through space, almost as if you are swimming in water, creating that resistance as you flex every muscle in your back, shoulders and arms; that extra, heart felt, focused power... THAT is what will make the difference.

It's quite amazing what it will and can do. This is the only focused arm workout I do (other than the bands and ball series in my classes, a total of about 7 minutes a week).  When you do this no weighted arm series, do it with passion. Feel your whole body getting into the movement as you open your chest, pull your shoulders down and back, and really squeeze your shoulder blades together.  You will be amazed at what 5 minutes of what looks like flailing your arms around can do.


Posted on June 14, 2011 and filed under sweat, fitness.

Dancing Thru Pregnancy ®

After spending 5 hours in a car with my favorite mom in the world, playing with baby dolls, and eating a really good hummus and veggie sandwhich at Atticus, I am now pre/postnatal certified!  I made my way up to New Haven Hospital for the practical part of my Dancing Thru Pregnancy® certification, which I DID pass! I have recently gained an interest in fitness for women who are pregnant and have recently given birth.  After doing research and considering my background as a dancer I felt that  Dancing Thru Pregnancy® (DTP) was a perfect fit!

Ann Cowlin, founder and director of Dancing Thru Pregnancy®  led the practicum, which consisted of a mind/body segment, relaxation techniques,a  cardio session, and strength, flexibility and special exercises. Ann was a filled with a wealth of information and had scientific studies to back up pretty much everything she said about pregnancy, labor, birth, and fitness for women.

Through studying and taking my exam I have learned a lot about the changes a woman goes through during pregnancy, both biologically and physiologically. Pretty amazing.  I hope to use my new knowledge during classes and training sessions. Maybe a new dance class for pregnant women?

Laurens Questions, Ann's Answers:

1.  What benefit does aerobic dancing provide for pre/postnatal individuals? Are there any studies that show this?

"The preponderance of research studies that demonstrate benefits of exercise for pre/postnatal women involve aerobic - or cardiovascular - conditioning. Aerobic dancing is one of the major methods studied. In the 1970s, researchers theorized that chronic moderate to high intensity aerobic exercise, especially running and aerobic dancing, had an adverse effect on pregnancy. What they discovered over the next few decades was quite the opposite:  Women who participate in aerobics throughout pregnancy and in early postpartum tend to have reduced incidence of congenital fetal anomalies, spontaneous abortion, placental abruption, intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR), pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH) and preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, fetal distress and fetal demise, than women who do not participate in aerobics. In addition, they have shorter active phases of labor, reduced risk for cesarean, and faster recovery as measured by elimination of free radicals produced during labor. Following birth, those who are vigorously active prior to six weeks postpartum have less weight to lose, a more joyful sense of well-being, and better scores on the Lederman Maternal Adaptation Scales than women who are sedentary. In addition, fetuses benefit from maternal cardiovascular fitness. There are long-term health benefits for women who do aerobics during pregnancy. They are also more likely to be physically fit in perimenopause than those who do not participate."

*Ann then listed over 20 references. Inquire if you would like to see them.

2. What is the most important advice you can give pregnant women who want to have a healthy baby and fast recovery?

"When a woman becomes pregnant, her health is a major factor in how her pregnancy will proceed. If she has been exposed to a virulent infection or is sedentary, it may have an impact on how well the implantation goes and increase her risk for hypertension and long-term cardiovascular disease. If she has metabolic syndrome, she is at risk for complications such as gestational diabetes and her offspring is at risk for childhood obesity.

On the other hand, if she has taken care of herself, is physically fit and well nourished, is well rested and has not been exposed to illnesses that induce dramatic changes in her immune system, she has done her best. She has created a situation in which her body is best prepared for the rigors of pregnancy, birth and motherhood.

There are still genetic and environmental factors that can affect the course of the pregnancy, but behavior is the one factor that women have control over. At Dancing Thru Pregnancy® we are fond of the notion that if you know a certain behavior is the best for a situation, it is smart to chose that behavior. If you do not, you are sabotaging yourself.”

Reference: Cowlin A. The Pregnancy Pathway, epub 2009-10.

3. What are your thoughts on epidurals?

"They have their place."

4. What started your interest in the pre/postnatal field?

"It was a “perfect storm” kind of situation. I was a professional dancer and dance educator, with an MA in Dance from UCLA, where I had studied kinesiology as part of the degree program. I had also worked at both the Harvard and UCLA medical libraries during college summers and grad school, and pretty much read everything in the libraries. I became interested in dance medicine and was doing a dance residency in Morgantown, WV in 1979. A large group of my friends there were obstetricians, midwives and perinatal nurses, many involved with the state health department’s Improved Pregnancy Outcome project. The project asked me to develop an exercise program for pregnancy as part of their mission. It seemed like an interesting challenge and I had the support of the medical school at WVU. A year and a half later, when I was hired to teach dance at Yale, the chief of Obstetrics at the medical school here and the director of the Midwifery Specialty at the nursing school both welcomed my project, gave me enormous support, and opened doors for research and development. I was incredibly fortunate in the mentors I had along the way and work to continue paying it forward. I have participated in about 300 births, in many different settings. But, most important, in the classroom, working with the women and later the babies, too, I am completely enthralled with the work."

5.  Can a woman perform abdominal crunches if pregnant? If not, what is another substitute to strengthen the abdominals?

"“Abdominals” covers a lot of territory…on the surface are the speed muscles, rectus abdominus (RA), next layer down are the internal and external obliques (IO & EO) and the pyramidalis, and underneath - supporting the innards - the transverse abdominus (TrA). They all have different functions. And, those are just the anterior abdominals!

I don’t see any evidence that leads me to think that crunches are high on the “must do” list for pregnancy exercise, especially once the round ligaments begin to lengthen and the belly pops. RA - used for crunches - are speed muscles whose job it is to bring the chest and pubic bone close together quickly. Their over-development leads to disc problems in the lower back in the general exercising population by hyper flexing the lumbar spine. During pregnancy, I suppose you can do them normally for the first trimester. Once the belly pops and the linea alba begins to stretch, you are at risk for diastasis recti. You can do crunches on your side with some splinting of the abdomen with your hands, or on your hands and knees (the “cat” exercise). But, I don’t see a lot of value in doing lots and lots of them. What does it accomplish?

On the other hand, strengthening TrA is critical. This muscle protects the lumbar spine, aids in maintaining core stability and helps push the baby out!"

6.  Based on your activity level when you are not pregnant, what activity level should you maintain when you are pregnant? Should there be a decrease or increase in activity?

"According to the Cochrane Library of Systematic Reviews, your ability to become more fit during pregnancy is not that different from any other time in your life. Thus, same rules apply:  Start where you are and progress gradually. For those with little or no experience with regular exercise, find a well-qualified pre/postnatal fitness specialist to help you."

7.  Is abdominal strength important to have during labor? If so why?

"A strong TrA is important in labor. This is the muscle that helps push out the baby."

Posted on May 17, 2011 and filed under sweat, fitness.