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Museums, Churches, Bars and 5 More Offbeat Workout Spaces

No matter how much you love your local gym, sometimes a change of scenery is both nice and motivating. You may even feel inspired to exercise for longer and harder in a new setting, especially if it has a cool backstory, like these eight out-of-the-box, very non-traditional places to break a sweat across the U.S.

1. A MORNING AT THE MUSEUM

Where: The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City

What: Contemporary dance company Monica Bill Barnes & Company teamed up with and writer/illustrator Maira Kalman to create an exercise experience called the Museum Workout at the world-famous Met, which houses 5,000-plus years of iconic art. Wearing sequined dresses and tennis shoes, Barnes and dance partner Anna Bass take an intimate group of participants on a physical and interactive journey through the 137-year-old establishment located in Central Park. The 45-minute dance-cardio workout moves to the soundtrack of Kalman’s voice blended with disco and Motown hits.

When: Available on select Thursdays, January through March, at 8:30 a.m. before the museum opens to the public. The $ 35 tickets, which include admission to the museum for the rest of the day, are sold out for now, but check the website to see if they extend this popular program into the spring.

2. TAKE ME TO CHURCH

Where: Grace Cathedral in San Francisco

What: Vibrant yoga mats fill the aisles, alter and indoor labyrinth at this historically progressive Episcopal church — the country’s third-largest — in the heart of the city. Led by hatha flow and restorative yoga instructor Darren Main, the weekly practice begins with a brief reflection from a clergyman and is accompanied by live music. Hundreds of locals and travelers of all ages and abilities attend each week.

When: Every Tuesdays from 6:15–7:30 p.m., except in December. Class is free, but a $ 10–$ 20 donation is suggested. See the website for details.

3. POSES AND PINTS

Where: Great Divide Brewing Company in Denver

What: This 23-year-old brewery is as serious about its craft brews as it is about keeping its community hoppy, er, happy. Which is why since 2013 it has invited CorePower Yoga to host a free weekly class in its production facility on Brighton Boulevard. With a live DJ spinning in the background, a yoga instructor leads all levels in a highly physical, hourlong flow (prepare to sweat) to help students earn their booze after class at the brewery’s Barrel Bar.

When: The first Wednesday of every month. Starts at 6 p.m. sharp, so arrive early. Click here for more info.

4. YOGA IN THE SKY

Where: The LINQ Promenade in Las Vegas

What: Take your practice to new heights on the High Roller, the world’s tallest observation wheel standing at 550 feet above the Strip at the LINQ Promenade. The ferris wheel, which debuted last spring, features 28 glass-enclosed spherical cabins that hold up to 40 people. During a 60-minute session in one of these cabins, a certified yoga instructor from Silent Savasana will guide up to six students through a sequence as the wheel completes two rotations (30 minutes each). Each participant wears a cool LED headset to hear the instructor’s voice, which is accompanied by a tranquil playlist.

When: Classes are offered every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday at 11:30 a.m. and 5 p.m.  Cost is $ 75 per person for a small group class; the ride alone starts at $ 28. Call 702-322-0593, or email at least 24 hours in advance.

5. HELLO DALI

Where: The Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida

What: Bend your body and your mind at the Dali Museum, featuring the legendary artist, Salvador Dali’s, celebrated works, which includes more than 2,000 pieces from his entire career. An instructor from Lucky Cat Yoga teaches vinyasa and meditation to all levels in either in the Raymond James Community Room or outside in the Avant-garden (both offer stunning views of Tampa Bay). Each session captures Dali’s electric physical, mental and spiritual energy, which you can pour into your own practice.

When: Every Sunday morning from 10:30–11:45 a.m. throughout the year. Costs $ 10 members and students or $ 15 non-members. Click here for more info.

6. A DIVINE PRACTICE

Where: The Refectory at The High Line Hotel in Manhattan

What: Rumor has it, the historic Refectory is one of the most beautiful rooms in all of NYC. When you stop by the sacred 3,300-plus square foot space — it was once part of the General Theological Seminary built in 1895 — you can easily see why. Count your blessings on the mat as part of The High Line Hotel’s free, three-part yoga series, which was offered here last fall to all — hotel guests, locals and travelers alike. The series was such a hit, it will likely return this summer.

When: Dates vary, so send an email to be notified of upcoming classes.

7. HAPPY HOUR YOGA

Where: Concrete Beach Brewery in Miami

What: Come for the yoga, then say “namaste and have a pint” at the two-year-old Concrete Beach Brewery, which has partnered with Love Life Wellness Center to offer beginner-friendly yoga classes within the heart of the Wynwood Art District. Pints are $ 4 for participants and stay that low for the rest of the night.

When: The second Wednesday of every month. The free class takes place from 7 p.m.–8 p.m.

8. FLEX FOR FLIPPER

Where: Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat at The Mirage in Las Vegas

What: Usually, people gather to watch these highly intelligent sea creatures perform cool tricks for their entertainment. The Mirage, however, flips the script, inviting humans to put on a show for these sweet swimmers. Sign up for a soothing one-hour morning yoga class, which takes place right in front of the underwater viewing area where curious bottlenose dolphins can voyeuristically watch you attempt new poses.

When: Available Friday through Sunday at 8:30 a.m. for $ 50 per person, which includes a post-class smoothie and full access to the spa facility for the day. To book a session, call 702-791-7472. Click here for more info.


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The post Museums, Churches, Bars and 5 More Offbeat Workout Spaces appeared first on Under Armour.

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Recipe: Blueberry Cheesecake Oatmeal

Blueberry-Oatmeal

Dessert for breakfast? Yes, please! This baked oatmeal from Kim’s Cravings is creamy, hearty, dotted with blueberries and will keep you full until lunch. It stores well in the fridge for a few days, so you can have breakfast ready for the whole week.

Blueberry Cheesecake Baked Oatmeal

Ingredients

  • 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (certified gluten-free if necessary)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups frozen wild blueberries (or 1 1/2 cups regular frozen blueberries)
  • 1 1/4 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup cottage cheese or Greek yogurt

Directions

Preheat oven to 375°F. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. (Use a smaller baking dish if you prefer a thicker oatmeal).

Combine oats, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl. Stir  in the blueberries. (Coating them prevents the blueberries from sinking to the bottom of the oatmeal.)

Stir in the milk, eggs, vanilla, maple syrup and cottage cheese. Transfer oatmeal mixture to the prepared baking dish.

Cover baking dish with foil, and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 15–20 minutes. Serve with fresh blueberries and a splash of milk.

Nutrition Information

Serves: 6 |  Serving Size: 1/6th of the recipe

Per serving: Calories: 288; Total Fat: 5g; Saturated Fat: 1g; Monounsaturated Fat: 1g; Cholesterol: 63mg; Sodium: 388mg; Carbohydrate: 48g; Dietary Fiber: 7g; Sugar: 16g; Protein: 12g

Nutrition Bonus: Potassium: 247mg; Iron: 14%; Vitamin A: 5%; Vitamin C: 10%; Calcium: 15%

The post Recipe: Blueberry Cheesecake Oatmeal appeared first on Under Armour.

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We Tried It for You: SweatBox

It was only a matter of time before wearables entered the group fitness world. While you won’t find tons of classes using fitness trackers yet, one studio is daring to give it a shot. Enter SweatBox, a new boutique fitness studio in Washington, D.C. I tried it to see how tracking my heart rate and power affected my workout.

WHAT IS SWEATBOX?

SweatBox is basically a 50-minute workout that uses heart-rate training and high-intensity intervals to whip its students in shape. You’ll switch quickly between 6–8-minute strength circuits working every muscle group and 3–6-minute high-intensity cardio circuits and active recovery sessions on spin bikes. The class sizes are small — mine had 5 students — so that the SweatBoss (their term for “instructor”) can offer personal attention to each person.

Before co-creating the programs at SweatBox, Isiah Munoz, who’s also SweatBox  studio manager and trainer, tried different interval-based classes in New York and the D.C. area to suss out the market. “Many places advertise that they offer interval training when in fact they have their clients at a steady 80%-plus of their max heart rate for the entire class,” he explains. “This is not an interval; this is aerobic or excessive anaerobic training. Intervals require bursts of super-intense work followed by recovery.

The American College of Sport Medicine defines high-intensity interval training as “repeated bouts of high-intensity effort,” often at 80–95% of your maximum heart rate, “followed by varied recovery times.” Your heart rate is supposed to dip down in these recovery times. Like many people, I didn’t even realize I was doing interval workouts wrong by failing to vary my exertion level.

READ MORE > HEART RATE MONITORING BASICS

The bikes are the Matrix IC7 Coach by Color, which calculate your functional threshold wattage based on your age, weight and frequency of working out. Your FTW is fitness-speak for the max amount of power you produce over time (typically an hour) when pedalling on your bike. The bike has color-coded effort levels that help instructors see your intensity.

For the workout circuit, each student has their own area stocked with dumbbells (the lightest was 12.5 pounds, instead of the lighter 2 pounds at other bar and spin classes I’ve taken), XT trainers and a mat. Your FTW and heartbeat are displayed for all to see on the big screens on the walls  — which, along with the bike’s color-coded effort levels — help instructors get a sense of how hard people are working at a glance.

HOW DID MY CLASS GO?

We started on the bikes, which are programmed to determine our individualized exertion levels by displaying colored lights that also flash on the leaderboards next to our names. This totally brought out my competitive side — and it made me push even harder to match or beat my sister, whom I pressured into coming.

With only five students, our instructor gave me tons of one-on-one attention, telling me to speed up when I was not keeping pace. (“Get in the green!” she shouted, pushing me to dial up the intensity.) At one point, she even surprised me by telling me to slow down, as I was exerting too much during my recovery.

After a few grueling minutes on the bike, it was time to switch things up. We moved to the floor, doing a series of exercises with our body weight. I started seriously regretting my lunch when I held that first plank. Then came lunges with resistance bands, then we planked again, with both feet hooked into the resistance band this time. At that point, I was shaking like a sweaty pendulum as I hovered above the floor and struggled to find my balance.

As soon as I started to get exhausted — or accustomed to — the workout circuit, we moved to the next surprise circuit. At the time, it didn’t feel like the happy kind of surprise. At one point, we were doing squat jumps on and off the raised platform, and my legs felt ready to give out. Of course I was in the red zone — maxed out. But we were not done yet, because then we did partner workout where I did a variation of burpees while my sister held planks until I was done. At that point, I was toast. But being accountable to my sister prompted me to hustle out of some sort of older sibling obligation — a tactic that turned out to work for me.

THE SWEATBOX FACTOR

“By monitoring every minute and second of our program in real-time, we can ensure that our clients have peaks and valleys during the entire workout,” says Munoz. The key to SweatBox is individualization: “I don’t want to put 23 people in a room and have them do what I’m doing, at my tempo, at my pace,” says Munoz. Instead, he wants to give people the tools to “quantify their own output and then make active decisions about when they need to work harder and when they want to recover.”

Munoz encouraged us to switch things up by integrating different interval sequences each time, and he stresses the importance of combining strength and cardio training in the same session: “If you just do cardio or just take a cycle class, you’re not going to burn as many fat calories all day, and during that class, as when you combine strength training and cardio,” he says.

His workout advice is grounded in science. According to a 2011 study in the Journal of Obesity, when you do aerobic workouts at a constant exertion level, the effect on body fat is “negligible.” But embracing a “high-intensity intermittent exercise routine” — which can feature high energy bursts on a spin bike, followed by lower-energy exercises like planks and short periods of rest — “may be more effective at reducing subcutaneous and abdominal body fat than other types of exercise.”

For the competitive among us, hitting your target numbers can be a reward in itself. After class, I checked in with Munoz to see if the quantified effort level I saw on the screen at the end of class — 84% of my max — is what I should have been aiming for.

“That’s high. That’s good,” he says, making my inner nerd swell with pride as if I just aced a major exam.


GEAR UP FOR YOUR NEXT WORKOUT

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Convenient Cooking Hack: Rice Cooker Oatmeal

Oatmeal isn’t the hardest thing in the world to make, but, some mornings, those few extra minutes of stirring and attention that it requires are the difference between having a warm breakfast or not. So we’re letting you in on a little secret: Your rice cooker can double as an exceptional tool for making oatmeal and porridge. That means a power-packed breakfast is within reach, no matter how busy your day.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

A rice cooker is handy because it automates everything for you — simply combine the water or milk, grains and any additions into the nonstick bowl, place it in the rice cooker and push the button. The rice cooker will rapidly warm the liquid to a boil, then a sensor inside is triggered that immediately shuts off the heat and allows the contents of the cooker to continue steaming and resting. Fancier models even have a sensor that will let you know when all of the liquid has been absorbed for a specific kind of grain, and will adjust the cooking times for you. Voilà! A satisfying meal!

WHY USE A RICE COOKER INSTEAD OF A SLOW COOKER?

While a rice cooker doesn’t necessarily speed up the process of cooking oats or porridge, it does offer a foolproof way for you to cook your grains — just push the button and walk away. The rice cooker will cook your oats or porridge and keep them warm for you until you return to open the lid and enjoy. With a rice cooker, you can cook smaller quantities of grains (whereas most slow cookers have very large capacities and don’t intuit moisture as sensitively, sometimes resulting in burned grains at the bottom of your cooker.)

But you’re not limited to oats. A rice cooker can make multi-grain meals a snap. Whole grains such as quinoa, farro, barley, amaranth and millet all require different ratios of water to grain. But cooking them with ample amounts of water in a rice cooker guarantees that steam is an agent in the cooking process. If the rice cooker has a porridge or whole-grain function, it will let you know when all of the water has been absorbed, and you’ll never find yourself with some grains swimming in water, while others are still solidly al dente.

HOW DO I MAKE OATMEAL OR MULTI-GAIN PORRIDGE IN MY RICE COOKER?

Every rice cooker will be a little bit different, so making oatmeal or porridge in your machine may take a little trial and error. The following formula is a great place to start:

For oatmeal: Combine 1 cup of whole oats or old-fashioned oats with 3/4 cups of water or milk, or 1 cup of steel-cut oats with 2 1/2 cups of water or milk. Add a pinch of salt. Close the lid, and hit the start button. Walk away. When the cooker beeps, the oatmeal is done!

For multi-grain porridge: Combine 1 cup of grains (a combination of oats, quinoa, amaranth, millet, barley, etc.) with 2 1/2 cups of water. Add a pinch of salt, give the mixture a stir, close the lid and hit the start button. Walk away, and, when the cooker beeps, the porridge is done!

Optional: Adorn your bowl of oats or porridge with crunchy nuts, fruits and a drizzle of honey or maple syrup, and you’ve got a great, comforting start to a busy day.

The post Convenient Cooking Hack: Rice Cooker Oatmeal appeared first on Under Armour.

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