All posts in Exercise

Leading the Pack



What moves people to pay $34 dollars for an indoor cycling class? Calories burned, music, ambiance, location, a celebrity spotting? Perhaps. Or, is it the instructor? When fitness enthusiasts take a class and are immediately hooked to the instructor, making their class on a weekly basis becomes part of their to-do. As a fellow indoor cycling instructor, I am always on the hunt to learn from the best in the country, and I found her in my hometown of NYC.  Jolie Walsh has been teaching weekly indoor cycling classes at SoulCycle for three years and her classes sell out every week–yes, booked solid. Not surprising given her Soulful Puerto Rican roots.


Q:How is the SoulCycle method different from other indoor cycling classes?

A: SoulCycle is a 45 minute full body workout on a bike (arms, core, legs and butt). It’s a very intense workout in which you burn up to 700 calories.  I like to describe it as a cardio party on a bike.  We dance to the beat of the music, which is all carefully choreographed to make sure we are targeting different parts of the body.

Q. Do you consider it a fad?

A: No, SoulCycle is not a fad. It’s a workout that really delivers results. It’s a community, and it keeps growing in size because they’ve really tapped into something special.  People come because they want to get a great workout and get that soulful experience as well.  People that come to Soul Cycle keep coming because they get results, and they have fun while they’re doing it.  There are so many friendships that have been formed through these classes.

Q: Weight loss successes/transformations?

A: The SoulCycle workout delivers weight loss results. Though I breastfed I lost all of my baby weight within two months, and at 5’2 adding 32 lbs of pregnancy weight was a lot. It is very common to see at least five pregnant women in one class.

Q: What’s so special about your music and class atmosphere?

A:We put a lot of effort into the playlists, and we never repeat so that every ride is a unique experience.  That’s where we get to be creative, express ourselves through music and create this incredible journey we will get to experience when we ride. We ride in a candle lit room to quiet down the mind so that we get a soulful experience. We ride as a pack. It’s a community. Every single person is so excited to be there, and the energy is magnetic.

Q: What does a cycling profile look like?

A: Rides are either 45 or 60 minutes and starts with a warm up followed by moderate intensity and into the choreography, which involves sprints, jumps, hills, runs against resistance, pushups, isolations, intervals, arm series and more.

Diabetes-you can lose

Two years ago all my mom had to do was take her insulin, but she didn’t. “Ay, I don’t want to poke myself” was her standard response when I asked why she wouldn’t. Today, my mom has become one of the thousands of Americans that had to have multiple toes amputated due to a non-healing diabetic wound. A wound she sustained as a result of a toe stub while walking barefoot in her apartment.

My mom spent the first six months of her retirement in emergency rooms and visits to her wound care specialist, pain doctor, podiatrist, primary care physician, endocrinologist, cardiologist, vascular surgeon and underwent over thirty hyperbaric treatments. Today, she has gained back some of her independence but still requires medical equipment to move around, is undergoing extensive physical therapy and is disabled, she is 63.

My mom suffered a massive heart attack at age 39 on New Year’s Eve, I was there as it was happening, she collapsed on the kitchen floor clutching her chest and grasping for air. Growing up, she cooked for my brother and I, but we were also a TV dinner and snack food family. The 70’s & 80’s were all about Pepsi, pork chops and a pack of Kool cigarettes (she smoked for 30 years) the Jane Fonda movement did not move my mom. Post-heart attack she didn’t change her diet or exercise. She’d often say “I’m going to die at some point, might as well eat what I want”. This type of self-sabotage is not unusual, but it placed a heavy burden on our family and finances. Her journey, in pictures:





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The Navy Seals

Civilians know more about the Navy Seals today than they did ten years ago. The Seals are an elite group of the U.S. military who stay out of the limelight and share a unique brotherhood. They are considered to be endurance athletes, which is why it takes a special breed to be a Seal, not even the guys who’ve finished the ninety day P90X® workout or finished an Iron Man Triathlon can play with these boys (sadly, no girls.)

The VOLUNTEER 50-week SEAL candidate training is located in Coronado, CA, and headed up by Captain Bill Wilson, a Navy SEAL and lead trainer.

Hell Week, as the training is referred to, is grueling. Each year the new class endures stressful training, sleep deprivation, long distance swims, drills and running with a boat on their heads the distance equivalent of two marathons. They rely on their cardiovascular engines, legs, arms, and sheer physical strength is at the core of their training. Mental capacity, control, and a innate desire to complete a mission is a given. Training is insurmountable to most who claim to be in peek physical condition.

I can sustain a two-minute plank, completed two marathons, and birthed two children and just watching the training videos make me cringe. Test the mantra “The body can achieve what the mind perceives.” The next time you are in the gym bored and complaining and remember those who have given of themselves for our safety.

Bethenny Frankel-from broke to buff

The business side of fitness has been very good for reality star and natural food chef Bethenny Frankel. She started filming season 3 of her wildly successful reality show “Bethenny Ever After” in NYC last month. Bethenny also shot the pilot for her own talk show back in June.
The New York Times best selling author just launched Skinnygirl Sangria, and in November will launch Skinnygirl Face and Body, a skin-care line that will be available in Wal-Mart.

To think that five years ago she was broke! In a recent Us Magazine interview, she stated, “I had negative $50,000 in income on my 2007 taxes.” Last year Bethenny banked $55 million* in cash, she has reached the pinnacle of financial comfort and success, and she credits vinyasa yoga for creating peace in her life.
Currently, she stays away from what she calls “fear-based workouts” which she defines as intense cardio or workouts that leave you doused in sweat.

Revenue streams:

Bethenny’s reality show “Bethenny Ever After” $400,000

Skinnygirl cocktails

Lifestyle Books

Skinnygirl shape wear

Pampers, Pepperidge Farms, BlueFly, and British Airways endorsements

Skating with the Stars

Body by Bethenny DVD

Skinnygirl Daily nutritional supplements $600,000