ClassPass: Barry’s Boot Camp Review

I was very nervous for Barry’s Bootcamp. Very very very nervous. Everything I had heard going into this class made it sound like hell, but also those same people gave if the most rave reviews and kept going back for more. Still, I was nervous and willingly expressed such directly to BBC.

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Their tweet response actually DID make me feel a little better, you know, if I felt like puking on the treadmill then I could always just take it down a notch.

Their Promise: The best workout in the world

The Experience: Upon arrival, the front desk staff was SUPER helpful and before swinging into the lockerroom I noticed none other than a JUICE BAR where you place your order before headed into the gym so that it’s ready when you come out. I ordered up some sort of Vegan shake with a HUGE dose of protein and a healthy amount of calories. I knew I was going to need it after a sprints on a minimal breakfast.

I started off on a treadmill. The flow of the class is that you alternate between treadmill time and floor work. On the treadmills you’re going between runs and sprints, sometimes at an incline. Your recoveries are done at pace, which means you’re still running at about a 6.

I’ve always been a decent sprinter and over the past couple years I found myself enjoying a run here and there, however nothing and I mean NOTHING could have prepared me for this experience. It’s one thing to go for a 4 mile run, quite another to be sprinting at a 10 on an incline followed by calisthenics that involve a step and weights. It was the most difficult workout I’ve had to recent memory, but in one of those ways that leaves you with a sense of accomplishment.

There’s something about working out in a dark, sexily lit room that really gets you in the zone. I honestly don’t think I could have sprinted my ass off if there were lights on. It’s kinda like “what happens in Barry’s stays in Barry’s” and I left it all on that treadmill. 60 minutes later, I was worked out, worked in, worked down and even diagonally.

Chris, the instructor was 6’9” or something and SUPER awesome. I loved his energy and enthusiasm for getting us to MOVE. The weight sessions were hella tough. Nothing was ever a simple bicep curl, everything was layered on top of one and other for max muscle workage. BBC is NOT fucking around when they say it’s the best workout in the world.

Because I worked out before work, I used the facilities to shower and was *delighted* to come face to face with a suite of Malin + Goetz products, towels, and dryers on hand. Paired with that smoothie that was waiting for me, it was a perfect experience start to finish. I mean, save for that part where I almost yuked on a treadmill, but that’s part of it too. I loved that there were a lot of guys in the class too. It’s refreshing to see a gender balance in a group fitness studio

I get while people are addicted to this place. I’ll be back. Specifically 7:50pm next Thursday. EEK!

BBC gets a 10 out of 10 for sure.

ClassPass Review: Mighty Pilates

As I mentioned in my Mint Studio Review, I’m really interested in expanding my pilates repertoire beyond my springboard exposure at BURN. I decided to hit up Mighty Pilates for the sole purpose that it’s incredibly close to my house so a 6:30am class was NBD.

Their Promise: Mighty Pilates offers energetic group classes so you get fit quickly and feel empowered. Be Mighty in Laurel Heights with classes that combine stretching, cardio, and core.

You’ll work out your whole bod head to toe on a mix of the Reformers and the Towers. Power up your powerhouse in this vigorous class that mixes it up. Appropriate for students familiar with the Tower and Reformer.

The Experience: Gorgeous studio. Just gorgeous. Reformers up front, towers in the back. Wish I had given myself more time to explore the space. The instructor Sabrina, was very throrough in asking about my injury (like what vertebrae is my injury on and shame on me for not remembering). I appreciated that. We began the class doing a series of core and arm exercises on the reformers. Since I have some basic knowledge of pilates, it was easy enough to follow along, execution on these tired muscles was a whollllle other story. At first blush, pilates equipment looks straight up like torture equipment (and I guess in a way it is), but Sabrina had excellent cueing and kept us in our exercises for the perfect amount of time. I never felt like anything was *too* hard.

After the reformers, we went into the tower room and began our work there. One thing I did find impossible was our planks on an un-sprung bar. I just could not hang there. Nothing in this class was, easy. At all. But I really appreciated the pace, instruction and flow of this studio.

I give this class a 10 out 10 ten for it’s instruction, experience and space.

Next Up: Barry’s Boot Camp

ClassPass Review: Mint Studios

It’s been years since I’ve taken a classic pilates mat class, but more importantly I have not taken one since I myself became an instructor at BURN, a studio that combines cardio, weights and pilates into one hella hard, but sweattastic 55 minutes. I was particularly excited to check out this genre of class with my more trained eye on pilates and fitness instruction. Mint Studios fell into my lap of course because of ClassPass, but also because it’s one block from the CalTrain, what I use to commute every day.

The Gist: With some of the hardest and most effective classes in San Francisco, Mint’s beautifully designed space is reminiscent of a spa, offering clients an escape from the hustle and bustle of busy city life. Take a Reformer, Mat Pilates, or Barre class and you’ll laugh, shake, and maybe even cry a little! Take a vinyasa flow Yoga class to center your body and mind.

San Franciso’s SOMA neighborhood is definitely not known for its aesthetic charms, so imagine my delight when I open the door of a nondescript building in a block of warehouses and enter into this gorgeous, pristine, refined and welcoming studio space.

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I’m not sure what else to say except for: OMFG THAT CLASS WAS TOUGH. We began with what felt like 5 minutes (and i’m actually pretty sure it was 5 minutes) of planking and plank variations. Enough planking to feel the rumble through my core up into my shoulders and down my legs. Following planking we did a variety of floor work involving balls and resistance bands. While most of the exercises focused on the core muscles, I was surprised to discover how the work extended into my arms as well. For example, while holding a V shape (read: CORE WORK), we would wrap a resistance band around our feet and do a shoulder press or bicep curl at the same time, working two different sets of muscles.

The class was only 45 minutes long, but it was more than enough in terms of strengthening exercises. The instructor, Gaby, was very good and provided sufficient cuing, instruction and encouragement. There was one particularly difficult moment in which I’m she caught me silently screaming an expletive that starts with an F. I didn’t break a Yoga Flow-esque sweat or anything, but I certainly felt the workout in every fiber of my soul. It was great.

I give Mint Studios a 9 out of 10 and actively look forward to going back soon!

Next Up: DOONYA a cardio bollywood dance class

ClassPass Review: Doonya – Cardio Bollywood Dance

When I first peeped this class on the ClassPass app, I thought I had struck the motherlode. Three words for you: Cardio. Bollywood. Dance. Sounded like my DREAM.

Their promise: Doonya uses Bollywood songs to get you sweating. The classes feature cardio and strength fitness choreographed to the latest high energy, Bollywood-inspired music. The energy and expressions of Bollywood-inspired music and dance will keep you smiling as you burn up to 800 calories while learning dance and fitness fundamentals.

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The Experience: Arrived to a non-descript building in a dark SOMA alley, but found myself in a open, bright dance studio. I was a bit early, my bad for mis-reading the class time, but luckily had some time to chat with the instructor before hand. She explained that “Doonya is not enough cardio if you’re into CrossFit, but not enough dance if you’re a dancer.” Thank heavens I fall right in-between those two extremes myself.

I popped myself into the front row of class, even though I’ve never done it before. I know that I always have a terrible time following a dance class from the back. These routines were fast and pretty simple to follow. The hardest part was definitely the hands and finding alignment.

In terms of workout, you’re basically hopping around for about 55 minutes straight, which will definitely get your heart rate up and a little gloss going. In addition to the straight dance moves, there were also lunges and squats sprinkled in for some more traditional conditioning.

The teacher, Palak was SUPER friendly and easy to follow. She’s been doing Doonya for 6-7 years she explained and even sent a super nice follow up note to all students, which I thought was a nice touch!
Overall I give the class about a 7.5 out of 10, I think she was right that it wasn’t *tough* enough for my liking, but at the same time, whatevs, I got to smile and dance and have a shit ton of fun to some very happy making music!

Next Up: Mighty Pilates – Mighty Mix

Yoga Flow, SF • ClassPass Review

Decided to make an audible today and register for a yoga class after teaching my couple classes at BURN. I told my roommate, a practiced yogini, where I was going and she casually mentioned “oh man…that’s a hot yoga class.”

Welp. Guess I missed that in the fine print.

I tend to avoid hot classes like the g-d plague. I can’t even sleep in hotel rooms that don’t have air circulating within them because I get so sweaty. Considering hot yoga is like that times that by about a million and add in physical exertion, I knew I was just going to be a mess.

But let’s get back to the experience, not my speculation of what it was going to be like.

Their Claim: Flow classes are typically fast paced and set to great music! Our instructors are skilled at catering to all level practitioners by offering modifications for different levels of students. Be prepared to sweat and get a great workout! This class is sometimes set to rock, reggae, hip-hop, blues and worldbeats.

I was able to walk to the studio from my house and was welcomed by a friendly bro at the counter who graciously comped my mat and towel since it was my first class–much appreciated! The studio was already warm upon entering so I braced myself…I was delighted to walk into a gorgeous space complete with skylights and floor to ceiling windows. Looking back I now realize it is basically set up as a yoga green house.

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Fitness in ’15 • ClassPass Reviews

With a new year inevitably brings with it some sort of new dedication to your fitness routine. Even if one is in reasonably good shape, you cannot escape the NEW YEAR NEW ME JUMPSTART YOUR FITNESS GOALS OMFG 2015 IS THE YEAR OF ME!!!!!! Thing is, I personally set my fitness goals back in June 2014, when I realized that I had just one year left in my 20’s. I decided that I was going to lose 30lbs before I turned 30. Six months into the plan, things are right on track: 15 down 15 to go.

So all this New Year New Me stuff, really resonated, because, well this year I’m turning the page into a whole new decade.

Long story short, I decided to sign up for Class Pass. I’ve found myself needing to mix up my workouts and introduce more cardio into my strength training. I also have a lot of friends and co-workers at BURN who are *very* into it, so I figured— WHAT THEY HEY! For $99, I’ll give it a whirl.

Signing up, I was frankly overwhelmed by the amount of classes offered. If I’m going to be really nitpicky, and I will for a second, the filtering options are an effing nightmare. All cities within a 50-mile radius are lumped into one master list by time slot. There are neighborhood filters in San Francisco I’ve never even heard of. BUT, a lot of the classes sounded cool, sounded like things I wanted to get in there and try. We’re talking TRX, yoga, spin, bootcamps, something that involves balls and surfboards, martial arts, kickboxing, dance and so much more. Basically the city has become my little sampling platter. (That is, if I can work around these dang filters).

After a bit of time playing with the interface, I was able to assemble myself a pretty sick little workout schedule for the next week beginning with TODAY. I’ll review the places and spaces I wind up, what I like, don’t like , love, loathe and more.

First Up: START FITNESS

Their Claim: ”Push and pull yourself into a strong body on Fridays. Indoor class targeting strength and aerobic conditioning using TRX, tubing weights and body-weight exercise.”

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On #interracialFRIENDSHIPS part 1: Stephen

First up in my friend-fueled series on Interracial Friendships is Stephen, our food and wine enthusiast with a passion for writing. Please give him a warm welcome! Oh also, I want to encourage lots of comments and participation in this series because that’s what we’re here for—discussion and dialogue!

“A Reply About White People

By Stephen

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I love white people. Really, I owe a great deal to them. They’ve taught me all sorts of things, like, being a professional alcoholic is okay, it’s just pronounced “sommelier”. I ran with that one. I also owe to them a huge amount of gratitude for making my earliest competitive endeavors in life successful ones, because, honestly, even in our elementary school Olympics, I was looking like the reincarnation of Jesse Owens compared to my classmates. I could go on with ironic, reverse racist banter, but Cassidy, who asked me to write this, only gives me 500 words (good luck), so I must stay on task.

The task was to respond to this article about the difficulty of maintaining interracial friendships into adulthood. The author, Brittney Cooper, explains how her relationship with her once best friend, gradually dissolved as the girls grew older. She cites a potential reason for the shift (perhaps the origins of this thesis), is that her white friend was told by her father that people should “date their own”. As the girls shifted from pre-to actually pubescent, an inability to relate to the same guy was a big deal. Then there was this notion of white friendships being “grandfathered in” before the end of highschool, and I actually found myself-at least partially-agreeing with that.

The “Grandfather” Clause

I think there are many of us who confuse the advancement of blacks in our country (obligatory Obama reference) with a dilution of racism. I’m not ready to go there. Now, it’s just a bit more advanced, and comes out in subtler ways, most often in the realm of class. While whites are increasingly comfortable with the idea of equity for blacks (and I do believe this to be generally true- particularly Millennials), most of us still do not develop super tight interracial relationships into our adulthood. This separatism has been fueled by each respective race as evidenced by Brittney’s tales of ridicule by her black classmates. I grew up in a similarly vexing environment, in which the identity surfing created a great deal of discomfort for a very middle-class black with a very upper class high school experience. Fortunately, sports to a large degree was enough to gain the acceptance of a few influential 7th grade boys and I never looked back.

Stephen with one of our future series featurees, Bubba "Jeff".

There’s nowhere near enough time to go into full detail of theories and implications of this article, but I will suggest that for me, the most resounding is that blacks who’ve befriended whites throughout high school are far more likely to retain/develop white friendships into their adulthood. Develop is an operative word, here, where I’ll extend the parameters of her BFF’s “grandfather clause.” I’ve observed this on many occasions. I think that goes both ways.

Looking Forward

There’s something to that formative time in high school. I’ve been the lone black face at weddings and will almost certainly be so again. I look at this as not quite an indictment on the bride and groom, rather a reminder of (literally) how very far apart we still are racially. Or, if you’re like me, you might’ve ended up in a place (Oregon) where there just aren’t that many “opportunities” for interracial friends. However, the longer one stays in those environments, the less likely they are to (re)discover interracial friendships. That’s a big reason I left. If we really want to properly observe interracial friendships, we should look to those who are half the age of Brittney or I, because that’s where we’ll get a better read on where whether this is an endangered or enduring phenomenon.

One you chop you just can’t stop

I’ve spent the last month wavering back and forth between the big decision that seems to plague me every couple months: Cut or grow? BAA or TWA? Crop or Crown?

I knew I needed a simple trim so I made a last minute appointment with my stylist Marie of Madusalon in San Francisco. The issue is, last minute appointments don’t work so well for a lady whose signature curly cuts book out a month in advance.

We were crunched for time in a serious way.

As a result, I decided that I simply wanted to go natural.

“Go natural?” you say. Yes, go natural, as in ditch the color and the crazy cuts, I wanted a short cropped do and my own natural color.

The result is just that, a short cropped do featuring Lola au naturel!

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Well, kind of.

The remaining blonde highlights will have to go pretty soon, but you get the point.

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Wanna know the other point? Of course you do.

I LOVE HAVING SHORT HAIR!!!!!

There is just something so simple, chic and pure about having a minimalist ‘do.

Saying that my hair is easy to style is an understatement. It takes a matter of seconds and I’m done! I will say that I am having a bit of a challenge in finding the appropriate combination of products that coax my curls out of hiding. It seems that my hair likes different products at every different length and right now we’re seeing a renaissance of GELS. Stay tuned for how that evolves.

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You may notice that I’ve been rocking a side part with the look, a style note I pinched from my lifelong bestie (and BIRTHDAY GIRL) Phallon, who added one to HER big chop a few months ago. It’s a super simple addition, but one that adds a level of sophistication and refinement to the new crop. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post when I do a tutorial on how I get the part (and make it STAY!)

She’s BAAAAAACK!

Hey all! Well I took a little bit of an unforeseen hiatus from the ol’ #bloglife there for a bit. The truth is: that dang triathlon really took it out of me. After that Cry-athlon bit, I decided to nose to the grindstone and do the damn thing.

Running the race, I was a ball of nerves and jitters. I had been preparing for months to do it so I knew that my body could handle the race, but as everyone says “you never know what will happen on race day…”

With my Coach Doug

With my Coach Doug

Luckily for me, the weather dropped 30 degrees on the morning of the race, leaving us with an overcast and breezy clime–quite similar to that of San Francisco! How ever as soon as we got out of the gate and onto the swim course, the winds picked up and the waves came crashing over my head. I have never fought so hard for a swim. Each time as I turned my head to breathe, I choked on water and eventually I was forced into the backstroke. Around me I saw people getting seasick, crying and hanging on to the buoys for dear life. It was atrocious.

Words can’t describe how scary this swim was actually. But I think that everything happens for a reason. I think without having had my freak out, something bad may have happened to me in that water. But I didn’t panic and 50-minutes later I triumphantly made it to the shore.

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The rest of the race was a breeze, well I mean as much of a breeze that a 25-mile bike ride and a 6-mile run can be. It felt SO good to finish. I cried. I hugged. I called Moms. And then I basically slept for the next 6 days straight.

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Since then I’ve been nursing a slight foot injury and things are now feeling much better. While my life swung very intensely in the direction of the Tri, I’m now working towards reestablishing a sustainable balance.

I want to send a huge THANK YOU to all who supported be through my journey. Training certainly wasn’t easy and I could NOT have done it with out my friends, family, coaches, teammates and of course, my sponsors who helped me EXCEED my goal of raising $2,900 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Thank you! Merci! Gracias! Muito Obrigada!

So what’s next? Well. I couldn’t be more excited about that. This summer I have a FANTABULOUS event in store here in San Francisco. I don’t want to say that it’s going to be my best one yet, but really, that’s what we’re looking at. I’ll have details about that with a Save The Date later this week!

Sorry for the radio silence for a bit, but life happens and now I’m glad to be back!

A DIY Diva’s Guide to Beauty: recipes for beauty beverages

So much of our outside beauty relies on what we put inside it. When the work week is over and we’re jacked that the weekend’s come, we often forget to maintain our healthy lifestyle choices. Binging on cocktails and fried foods over the weekend can leave our skin looking lack-lustre and less than flawless.

To boost your outer beauty, I’ve designed a few tasty and effective beverages that will kick your skin back into shape.


Green

There’s nothing better for your skin than giving yourself a little green cleanse. This blended recipe will give you nearly 50% of your daily Vitamin A and C intake, which will stimulate cellular turnover to give you brighter looking skin.

For this drink you will need the following items:

– 2 large apples
– 1 cup of kale
– 1 cup of spinach
– 2 stalks of celery
– 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
– ¾ cup filtered water
– ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
– A blender

For best results, give your ingredients a thorough cleaning. You don’t want to be sucking back any dirt!

Core your apples and slice them up. Feel free to leave the skin on because it will be blended into your drink.

Cut up the rest of your ingredients into manageable pieces then add them and your apple to the blender. Blend on high for 3-5 minutes; it depends on how smooth or pulpy you like your drinks.

Pour in a glass and enjoy the high fiber benefits that will kickstart your metabolism and rejuvenate your skin.

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Orange

Sometimes we need to give our body a little helping hand in absorbing nutrients. This next beverage will do just that.

Prepare the following items:

– 1 banana
– ¼ inch fresh ginger
– ½ cup mango
– ¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
– ¼ cup filtered water
– A blender

Peel your banana and ginger. Mince into small pieces before adding to the blender.

Cut up your mango and add it, along with the rest of your ingredients to the blender. Blend on high until it is nice and smooth.

The combination of ingredients in this smoothie are great for preventing future skin damage. On top of that, the high beta-carotene content gives your skin a natural, healthy glow.

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Yellow

Cut out you dehydrating cup of caffeine in the morning and replace it with this hydrating drink instead.

– 2 cups of hot water
– ½ teaspoon turmeric
– ½ teaspoon powdered ginger
– A pinch of cayenne pepper
– 5 drops of Stevia concentrate
– Half of a freshly squeezed lemon

Bring your water to a boil then add the remaining ingredients. If you don’t need the sweetness of Stevia just omit this from your recipe.

This warm beverage will not only stimulate your senses and wake you up, but will soothe skin inflammation. This is especially great for those suffering from acne because the ingredients listed help rid your body of acne-causing toxins.

Each of these beauty beverages is simple to make and relatively cheap. A much healthier alternative to sugar filled cocktails and hangovers; promise!

About Sabrina:Sabrina is a lover of spontaneous adventure, surfing the net and of course, all things skincare and beauty. To green her skincare routine she likes to come up with cheeky and cheap DIY’s like How to Tighten Pores Naturally

Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter.

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