Putting Some ‘Yunk In My Trunk.

In my younger days, I was a total cardio junkie.  I’d toil away on the elliptical for an hour with no problem but my body and mind would shut down as soon as someone said strength training.  The group fitness scene in Philly made me see the error of my ways.  Studios like Unite Fitness and RippedPHL taught me that lifting weights will only help my running while yoga and barre classes are easy ways to tone without killing your joints.  My move to Manayunk left me worried that I would skip strength training because these studios weren’t conveniently located for me anymore.  Luckily, Manayunk has their own fitness scene and these three studios are putting Main Street on the fitness map.

Row Zone

RowZone Manayunk – When I lived downtown and used Class Pass, Gary’s Row Zone Rittenhouse classes were my JAM. It’s a great mix of cardio and strength and I love changing up my routine…I am NOT one to sit down at the rower on my own.  I was thrilled to find out that RZ Manayunk is only blocks from my house and even more excited when I had instructors as great as Gary.  I definitely recommend it!

Hotbox Yoga

Hotbox Yoga Manayunk – After my move, it took me awhile to get back on my mat.  I’m not sure why I wasn’t motivated, but it probably had something to do with missing my beloved Yoga Habit and Priya. Last week’s rainy Tuesday inspired me to sign up and when the offer is $40 for 40 days, how can you go wrong?  The studio space is large without feeling too big and while they don’t have mirrors (that’s a plus for me), they do have windows. The super nice staff is a big perk, too!  I plan on getting back into regular practice and hopefully into a headstand for once!

The Wall Cycling

The Wall – Spinning and barre are stupid expensive endeavors.  Flywheel (while amazing) is close to $35/class and that’s INSANE to me and Pure Barre practically requires a second mortgage. Enter The Wall.  Located right off Main Street, the studio offers barre and cycling in a really bright and open space.  Best part…a 20 pack is around $200.  CRAZY. I love being able to work it in as regular cross-training again since I’m not breaking the bank to do it.

Walking up and down the hills in Manayunk as well as running on the many trails available to me are still my main forms of working out, but these fitness studios have definitely worked themselves into my regular routine.  My joints, and my butt, thank me.

Week in Workouts

Let me start off this post with the disclaimer that I definitely feel old after a night out.  BF and I did a mini bar crawl through Main Street Manayunk before Morgan’s Pier on Saturday night and I was definitely feeling it on Monday (and Tuesday, if we’re being honest).

Monday: I walked to and from the kitchen several times for snacks to feed my hangover, but I don’t think that counts.

Tuesday: See Monday, but with less snacks.

Wednesday: AM Spin at The Wall…and probably the most wonderful sweat I’ve had in awhile.  I felt like a new human after.

Thursday: Solidcore

Friday: Beyonce Yoga

Saturday: A 5K with BF on the Cynwyd Heritage Trail and through West Laurel Hill Cemetery…so great to change up the route!

Sunday: A sweaty 75 minute yoga session at Hotbox.

While I started out less than perfectly, I definitely finished out strong.  With the Manayunk Beer Runners 1 Year Anniversary party tonight, I know I will be motivated to keep up the momentum through this week!



Am I a Beyonce fan?  Sure.  I like her music and she’s definitely a badass.  Do I sit at my computer and wait for her to drop a new album? No. When my friend raved about Priya Hot Yoga’s Beyonce Experience class and suggested we attend the next one together, I was definitely down but also a little nervous.  Would I be in a room filled with members of the Hive?  Would they shun me for not knowing all the words to Lemonade?

Answer: no.

Lead by Brittany Policastro, the class was a serious exercise in female empowerment (the class is open to any gender but this one was dudeless) and confidence building.  She apologized for being injured and not being able to fully participate in the class, but DAYUM.  I wish I had half the moves she does, injury or not. She gently forced us out of our comfort zone (I don’t think anyone is used to booty poppin after some sun salutations) and created a safe space for people to express themselves.  WE DANCED IN A CIRCLE! What other yoga class is going to help you do that?

It was great to spend 90 minutes in a judgment-free zone where I was free to sing off key to Irreplaceable while in pigeon pose.  I normally find that pose to be therapeutic, but who knew how much better I would feel after belting out some tunes with it?

While the next Beyonce Experience isn’t scheduled until January, Priya will be starting a series of classes with musical themes.  I can’t wait to text my friend when the schedule comes out to say “Let’s get into formation.”

Week in Workouts!

After my move to Manayunk, it took me awhile to get back into a good workout groove.  While I was still working out 4-5 times a week, I didn’t feel like I had a routine and I was truly craving it. I knew with fall looming I would be getting back into a normal work schedule and thought I’d start before Labor Day.  It has definitely changed my mood regarding the end of summer for the better!

Monday: 4 miles on the Cynwyd Heritage Trail

IMG_3901 (1)
Goats! The Cynwyd Heritage Trail uses goats for landscaping. It cuts down on on pollution and labor costs for the non-profit. And they’re cute.

Tuesday: A super sweaty first yoga class at Hotbox Manayunk

Wednesday: Solidcore

Thursday: Rest Day

Friday: Solidcore Arms & Abs (It should be called Arms & Ow cause I was in some good pain)!

Saturday: Spin at The Wall

Sunday: Another hot yoga class at Hotbox!

All in all, it was a solid week for working out.  I am hoping that the Saturday/Sunday spin and yoga combo will become a staple in my weekly routine when I am in town…both teachers were phenomenal!

Now that the weather is getting cooler and my allergies seem to be improving (I’ve had constant sinus problems and infections for the last few months), I’m hoping to get back into morning workouts.  The Wall offers super early – like 5:15 AM – spin classes that I’d love to attend regularly!

This Week’s Workouts

Does anyone else think that the most stressful part of their week is planning workouts?  I get so worried that I’m not hitting all of my body parts, getting in enough cardio, or logging enough miles for whatever race I have coming up.

I don’t mean stress in a bad way, necessarily.  It’s like a little puzzle for me and in reality, it’s kind of fun.  Especially when I am trying to get into my favorite Classpass sessions.  It always ends up working out in the end.  I mean, worst case scenario: I take a rest day. Darn.

This week’s workouts have a great variety and include a new-to-me class, an outdoor boot camp with CoreFitness!

Monday: Hit up Dwyane’s class at Optimal…this class is truly a hidden gem.  The gym is this tiny little thing with no windows, but when Dwyane starts teaching the whole place lights up.  I want to try his hip-hop class one day, but I need to get over my lack of coordination.

Tuesday: Erin’s 6AM class at YogaHabit.  No better way to start the morning!

Yoga Habit
The sky from the studio.  This pic doesn’t do the view (or the space!) justice.

Wednesday: 6 miles outside.  I’m gearing up for the Oddyssey Half in a few weeks and I’m worried about getting my longer runs in.  6 miles is pretty much my threshold for morning runs (time-wise) and I’m gonna make it happen tomorrow!

Thursday: The Core Fitness Shred for Classpass class!! Can’t wait.  I’ll let you know how it goes, but the instructor emailed me about Battle Ropes.  They’re my frenemy, basically.

Friday: Ripped Abs at RippedPHL.  It’s my first time going to this studio in the morning, so I’ll report back about how showering/primping at the studio goes.  It’s always a gamble doing it for the first time!

Saturday: 4 miles and weights while I’m having a little vacation in Atlantic City.  My college roommate will be there for a conference, so we’re going to get some quality time together and I’ll hopefully get a quality workout while she’s out at the event!

Sunday: Reach and Raise!  I’m so excited to finally take part in this event.  Picture this: me and thousands of other yogis on the Art Museum.  I reached my goal thanks to generous friends, but it’s never too late to donate!

Can’t wait to feel the hard work pay off when it comes time for races and bikini season!


My 50th Classpass Class!

Can you believe it?

I’ve taken 50 classes since joining Classpass in December 2015.  Last night’s Joltin Jabs was the cherry on top of my fitness sundae.

I never considered myself a group fitness person.  I’m pretty uncoordinated and don’t enjoy chatting while I workout, so I usually stuck to my usual recipe of intense, long cardio, minimal weights and core work, and a weekly yoga class.  I switched it up sometimes to include spinning or swimming, depending on what Living Social deal I could snag.  That changed when I joined Unite Fitness 2+ years ago.  I found I enjoyed strength training as long as someone was there telling me what to do and I had fun alternating between the treadmill, bike, and rower.  Unfortunately, the price of Unite wasn’t sustainable to me, so I ended up leaving after a year to try and do it on my own.

Spoiler alert: it didn’t work for me.  I fell off the strength wagon and was becoming increasingly unhappy with my body, noticing how things that used to be high and tight were…not.

Several of my friends used Classpass and suggested I give it a shot.  It’s been 6ish months and I have no intention of quitting anytime soon!

I love being able to switch up my workouts anytime I want as well as try new studios in the area without committing to a hefty drop-in price tag.  Some classes have been better than others, but overall, I’m so happy that I have changed my routine.

Here are some Philly “Best Ofs” for anyone interested in trying it out:

Dwayne’s Body Blast Class at Optimal 1315

Priya Hot Yoga (especially any of Ashley’s classes)

Jess’s classes at Body Cycle

Joltin Jabs

Row Zone (Gary and Jason are my faves)

Flywheel (when you can get in!)

Unite Fitness


My goal this month is to try at least two new studios…any suggestions?

For anyone interested in trying Classpass, use this link to get $20 off! 



Review: YogaHabit Fairmount

As I write this post, I’m doing a mini happy dance in my seat…Fairmount has a new yoga studio and it is exactly POINT ONE miles from my front door.


As someone who likes a good morning yoga sweat but still has to be at her desk around 8am, this is a godsend.  Be warned: it is hot yoga, so sweat you will.

I was lucky enough to snag a spot in the first class offered at the studio on Saturday as part of their grand opening celebration. Everything about the space lived up to the hype I created in my head, as one who is a huge workout junkie does.

First of all, I love seeing that block getting some love.  Anyone who lives in the area knows that there is a lack of development on Fairmount Avenue as you head towards Broad Street from the Art Museum…it has a gradual decline of quality and activity that YogaHabit, Bar Hygge, and Anytime Fitness are trying to remedy.

The owner, Jen, and her team did a great job of creating a bright and open space for your practice. The whole space is clean and “industrial” but also very welcoming.  After walking up a flight of stairs, you find yourself in the lobby of the studio.  There are cubbies and benches for your belongings as well as bathrooms, a shower, and a water cooler.  They also have a small retail section, offering tank tops, water bottles, and Lululemon yoga mats.

The studio itself has gorgeous flooring, light-colored walls, and HUGE windows overlooking Fairmount Avenue that create a relaxing space that I really feel enhances my practice.  Sidenote: there are no mirrors, which is amazing.  I hate practicing with mirrors, worrying more about how my stomach looks than how I am feeling.

So far I have been lucky to take two classes in the space, one with Jen and another with Alicia…they were both excellent! High energy and fun, while also allowing you to focus and center yourself. They offered hands on adjustments that helped me take full advantage of the poses. I took Alicia’s class the day after the Broad Street Run, which I had mentioned to her before class started, and her gentle adjustments really assisted me in loosening up my tight quads and hamstrings.

Best part?  The offer cool lavender soaked towels during savasana.  I put it over my eyes and totally zenned out.

They’re currently offering a $21 for 21 days pass to new clients, so I snagged that deal and plan to use it to its fullest in the coming weeks!



Location: 1640 Fairmount Avenue

Overall rating: A+


PS – Just added my blog to Bloglovin…follow me there!  <a href=”http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/8017077/?claim=nvstjdjeyjz”>Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>



Bikram: Sanskrit for “Death Wish”

Last fall, I saw a Living Social deal for Bikram Yoga Philadelphia.


It was always something I wanted to try, but the fear of passing out and the cost kind of prevented me from taking the plunge, but 2 months for $40?  Sign me up.  Luckily my friends are as nutty as I am, so when I finally showed up for my first class last night, I had Lauren by my side.

(Important to the story: it’s currently FREEZING in Philadelphia and I figured as long as I was warm for 90 minutes I’d be happy as a lark…I was correct.)

I showed up to the studio and the staff was as nice as could be.  They got me signed in quickly and pointed me in the right direction.  They have a small locker room next to the studio on the top floor…I’m not sure if there’s one near the studio on the second floor.  It was a bit crowded but I’m someone who changes at work before going to the gym, so I just needed to take off my layers and shove them in a cubby. Note: they offer mats for free!  There didn’t seem to be a lot, so I’d probably bring my own, but it was nice for Lauren who forgot hers.  Most studios charge for a mat rental.

We ventured into the studio and let me tell you…it’s hot.  Not as humid as I was anticipating, which was great, but definitely hot.  Like, sweating just sitting there hot.  It felt good to sweat out all of the toxins.  I kept sneaking glances at Lauren as if to say “If you’re the last person I see before I die, I love you.” Spoiler alert: I did not die.

The instructor came in and introduced himself but I was too busy thinking about who would get my stuff when I died doing yoga to remember his name.  He asked if anyone was new so I raised my hand (Lauren did not, the liar..).  He was super nice about it!  Very encouraging and complimentary, but also offered great constructive criticism.  His explanation of the poses was fantastic…I understood what he was saying and was able to make self-correction.  The class was rather large, so self-correction was important though he did walk around and help.

Half the class is standing poses while the other half is floor work, which I appreciated as my mat was too sweaty to do much on after the first 45ish minutes.  I definitely need to remember my yoga towel next time.

A post isn't a post without a gratuitous picture of Ryan Gosling.
A post isn’t a post without a gratuitous picture of Ryan Gosling.

The minutes flew by and I left feeling pretty rejuvenated.  I was definitely ready for a shower and something to eat, but I can’t wait to go back!


– Clean studio.

– Friendly staff.

-A very “centering” experience.

-Major sweat sesh.


– Small locker room.

– Kind of pricey without a deal.

Overall rating: A

Unite In Pink!

Since I decided to not run the Philly Marathon this year, I’ve tried to put more cross-training into my workout routine.  It’s been going great and my knees and psyche feel like a million dollars.  When my friend Lauren asked me to join her at a breast cancer awareness event at her gym, Unite, I couldn’t pass it up.  Lauren is in amazing shape and claims it’s mostly due to this gym.  After last night’s workout, I’m inclined to believe her.

First of all, everyone is super friendly…instructors especially.  Maybe they do it so you won’t hate them when you’re running at 6.5mph on a 10 incline (yes, that happened…no, I didn’t die).  We started out with 30 minutes of cardio in their cardio room.  You get to pick between treadmills, spin bikes, and rowers.  I obviously went with the running….while I wasn’t super confident in my ability to finish the strength training portion of the class, I knew I could handle a treadmill!  Ann Marie led us through a very intense, yet very awesome, interval session.  Like most sane people, I don’t put much of an incline on my treadmill while I’m running.  I don’t know if I’m scared I’ll fall off (totally uncoordinated right here) or if I don’t feel like working that hard, but thanks to Ann Marie’s pushing, I won’t be so scared to do it on my own next time!

At this point, I was insanely sweaty and we still had 30 minutes of dreading lifting yet to go!  I am a cardio girl, not a strength training girl.  If I hit up the free weights for 20 minutes twice a week, I think I’m halfway to being a professional athlete.  Strangely, this portion was actually a lot of fun.  Juliet led us through a bunch of exercises using dumbbells, resistance bands, a step and our own body weight.  Maybe it’s because it was done in timed segments rather than number of reps, but time FLEW by.  Her cheerful attitude definitely helped and I didn’t even hate my life when we did lateral raises.  I’d consider that a smashing success.

I’m taking a regular class there on Monday, but I have a feeling I’ll be getting some sort of membership or class pack soon.  It was too great of a workout to not do it.  I wonder if they’ll get me to do a real pull-up….I still have nightmares about pull-ups from middle school gym.


Borrowed from Unite’s Facebook page…I haven’t seen that much pink since Victoria’s Secret redid their color scheme.

Getting your fitness on with Erica in America!

As you all know,  I am not a certified fitness instructor….I’m just a girl who is trying to stay in shape, get in better shape, and still eat as many cookies as humanly possible.  That is why it’s great to have friends in high places, such as my main girl Erica Hildenbrand who is a certified fitness and boot camp instructor in the Philadelphia area!  I asked her to create a workout for me to do while I’m running, focusing solely on using my own body weight to develop muscle.  Who knows?  Maybe after doing this work out I’ll have some sort of upper body strength to speak of. 

Since I wanted you to hear about the workout straight from the source, I asked Erica to do a guest post for me and since she’s the best, she did! 

Things Erica likes: burpees, lunges, and really sweet workout pants.

Hello and happy Wednesday! My pal Annie has been writing this blog and I love her for it, but I also love her for her smile, her freckles, her optimism, and for the way she tends to make everything fun and exciting. (Cheese wheels! Kittens! Running long distances! You get my point).

I have been teaching an outdoor Bootcamp class for a couple years now (woah!) and I love the group that comes. It is where I met Annie!! The most important thing to me is that we have fun and don’t dread coming to class. It’s ok if you hate the burpees I might make you do, though (evil laugh).

Here’s a little workout you can add into your running days (just find a stretch of grass and a bench) or do on its own. If I can stress anything, it is that you need to warm up, stretch, cool down, and stretch some more. So many times we rush to get in that cardio or strength but we skimp on the stretching. Flexibility is JUST as important as the cardiovascular endurance or muscle strength you’re building.

So go get it!!! And please, as always, check with a doctor before starting any new exercise program!

Love, Erica in America



Warm-up for 8-10 minutes however you prefer; stretch

Set 1 (if you’re running, do it at the 25% mark of your run)

  • 15 squats
  • 10 push ups
  • 20 alternating lunges (right-left = 2 reps)
  • 10 sit ups
  • Repeat twice (yes, the whole thing!)
  • Rest 2 minutes

Set 2 (throw it in at your halfway point)

  • 20 step-ups onto a bench or high step (10 per side, then switch)
  • 50 jumping jacks
  • 10 dips on a bench
  • 50 high knees (right-left equals 2 reps)
  • (you knew it was coming) 10 burpees
  • Repeat twice (you can do it!)
  • Rest 2 minutes

Set 3 (at the end of your run)

  • Hold a plank for 1 minute (forearms)
  • 30 crunches with knees tucked in toward your chest
  • Hold one more plank for as long as you can!
  • STRETCH for a good 5-10 minutes
  • Rehydrate
  • Shower, I can smell you from here!

You can modify or substitute if a move feels too challenging or uncomfortable. Remember to let your heart rate go down a bit before you start each set. Have fun with it and flood Annie’s inbox with your sweaty workout photos!

Seriously….send me the photos.  It’s really nice to know that I’m not the only one who is really sweaty after these shennanigans.