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August 2015
August 2015

Take it from me, taking time to stretch isn’t always my bag. I enjoy going for long runs, regularly hit spin class, love lifting weights and am generally really, really active. Getting me to a yoga class, or just to take five minutes to stretch in the morning or at the end of a run, is another story.

As I do, I am learning that stretching is vitally important in the physical sense, but as you prepare to face any big obstacle in working out/training (and in life in general), it’s also an important euphemism.

Stretching stands for reaching for the stars, stretching to the outer edges of your limits, hitting up against, and then over and beyond, roadblocks, standing on the very edge of your tiptoes to just graze that goal. Just believing you can do it. Believing in yourself.

At the same time, stretching is also a reminder to slow down. Rest. Recover. We simply can’t go full throttle all the time. Taking a breath--and a stretch--is a way to recharge and reinvigorate.

I know--it’s easier said than done, but it’s worth the effort.

As you work on your own definition of the proverbial stretch, enjoy my favorite physical stretch to target those often overused and often neglected IT bands (the thick bands of fascia that run from the pelvis down through the outside of your knee): stand straight with feet facing forward. Bring your left foot behind and to the outside of your right foot. bend your left ankle so your foot is resting on its outer edge and the bottom of your foot is exposed outward. Hang down heavy over your leg--you should feel the deep stretch on the outside of your left hip and knee. Repeat on the other side.


July 2015
July 2015

Today's inspiration is brought to you by our very own Kat Ellis, who can be followed on Instagram (@katellis89).

1. Efficiency: Let’s face it. While some of us may flock to the gym for the cute guy or girl in bike shorts or the amazing locker room amenities, we’d probably rather spend more time at home with our families or out and about living it up. Thus, HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) not only transforms your body by boosting your metabolism and athletic performance, it also allows you to maximize your results in a short amount of time. 20 -30 minutes of alternating quick burst of explosive movement with active recovery periods can produce the same cardiovascular results as 60 minutes of steady-state cardio. So unless you go to the gym to get your daily dose of reality tv, you’ll now have more hours to live your life and feel great at the same time.

2. Portability: Traveling is often used an excuse for falling our your health bandwagon. Not anymore. The beauty of interval training is that you can take it with you anywhere. Some of the most effective movements only require the best tool you have: your own body. Think squat jumps, burpees, plyometric pushups. The options are endless,and simplicity is key. Set a timer and alternate 2:1 ratios of bodyweight plyometrics with active recovery (20 second push, 10 second recovery 8x) or pick your favorite song, and every time the big beat drops, do a plyometric. Plus side: you didn’t have to use grimy gym equipment that hasn’t been updated since the 80’s, and your personal trainer will love you when you return.

3. Adaptability: We all have different goals and different lifestyles. Whether you’re a hardcore athlete or a stay at home mom with kids, HIIT training has benefits for everyone. For athletes, different methods, such as Tabata and Turbulence training, are great for creating explosive power. For other fitness enthusiast, bodyweight HIIT circuits, when performed safely, allow for enhanced motor control, thus teaching your body to become agile and efficient. Plus, the combination of aerobic and anaerobic training boosts your metabolism and creates lean muscle mass. Therefore, you’ll have more energy to chase after your kids, run to hail a cab, and keep up with your friends at the club on Saturday night #winwin.


July 2015
July 2015

This blog was contributed by our very own Jessica Mosher. You can follow her on twitter (@jessicaLmosher) and on Instagram (@babymosh).

Sometimes working out feels like THIS.

We know.  We get it.

But you’re a cool lady.

You want to do something awesome that’s going to foster a sense of community, be a ton of fun, get you a little (or a LOT!) dirty and help improve your overall fitness. Strapping on your sneakers and heading to a class at Uplift certainly helps! But once you start, how do you keep going?   Check out the following five tips to help you amp up your motivation and get you sprinting through the finish line.

1.) Sign a literal contract. If you’ve already registered for a class or race, congratulations!  You’ve already completed step 1!  If you’re not, go sign up.  Come back when you’re done. All done?  Great. Putting it in writing that you’ve committed to participating, or doing something tangible like paying your registration fee, is the first step to accepting that yes, you’re doing this. No ifs, ands or buts!  You wouldn’t rescind your signature on a contract with an awesome new company, or a partner that you’ve been waiting forever to get a deal with, right?  By signing up, you’re committing to (at the very least) showing up on race day or to the appointed hour for a class or workout.  And once you’re there…well, you may as well do it.  Post the confirmation email on your fridge, screenshot it and make it the background of your phone, or if you’re like me just leave it on the floor (where most of my stuff ends up) so you’ll continuously be reminded of the promise you made to yourself!

2.) Mobilize a support squadron. Brunch.  Vacations.  Birthday parties.  Everything is more fun with a friend (or several!), including kicking butt on an obstacle course, in a road race, in a class or a small group training session! My father (a very wise man) once said, “you never really know someone until you play a sport with them.” What he meant is that in the extreme mental and physical circumstances of athletics, peoples’ inherent determination is revealed and going through these tough experiences together fosters a sense of community that you just can’t get from a coffee date.  Knowing Debra at the office coached you through that hard set of burpees like a pro makes it easier to trust that she has your back during your big presentation. You helped your BFF Samantha to her feet when she slipped and fell in the middle of the race?  She knows you’ll be there next time she has a big breakup, loses her job or otherwise slips and falls in life. Making it through a challenging obstacle or being there for each other during a difficult training week can bring you closer and help make the experience less about the sweat and more about teamwork.

3.) Keep your language positive. You know that little voice in your head?  That one that creeps into your consciousness a few miles into a long run, or just as soon as you start to sweat in bootcamp class?  It’s a little whiney, admittedly, and usually wants you to stop doing what you’re doing and grab a burrito and settle into your bed with Netflix because gosh, what you’re doing is hard and why can’t we be at happy hour instead?  Making a conscious effort to quiet that voice or to drown her out with positive language can take some time to learn, but it will infinitely help your fitness.  Flexing your mental motivation muscle is just as important as, say, bicep curls.  So every time that voice says “I’m tired, let’s stop,” consciously replace it with “I’ve got this, keep going.”  Adopt a mantra that motivates you.  Write it on a post-it and stick it on your mirror and keep it in the back of your mind.  Be careful, though, to pitch your motivational pushes to yourself in a positive way - studies have shown that when your voice says “don’t stop, don’t stop” all your brain processes is the repetition of the word “stop.”  Switch up your mantra, and tell yourself “keep going keep going,” “push, push” or even the classic “Yes, I can, Yes, I can!”  You’ll be amazed what you can achieve.

4.) If you can do this, you can do anything. Do you need to ask your boss for a raise?  Are you trying to work up the courage to ask that hottie from spin class to join you for a post-sweat juice?  If you can make it through a class or a 10K, you can make it through anything that your normal, everyday non-working-out life throws at you.  Training and/or completing something can raise your confidence and give you a new sense of your own capability.  Even knowing you’re working towards something--even if it's just feeling a tiny bit stronger--can help you feel more empowered and confident throughout the process. I ran my first half-marathon last fall, and I ran in the rain more than I ever had before in my life. The weather didn’t matter to me because I had a training schedule to stick to and if I didn’t get enough mileage each week, I wouldn’t be ready for the race!  I didn’t give myself the option to quit, because then there was a chance I wouldn’t finish.  And I really, really wanted to prove that I could run that race and finish that race. I made it through all 13.1 miles, an achievement I didn’t know was possible.  The next weekend I met my boyfriend’s entire family.  After slogging my way through a half marathon, chatting with Aunt Susan was nothing.

5.) Celebrate! You have chosen to do something awesome: namely, pay attention to your physical (and mental!) health. Each time you complete a day of your training regime, or take a class or meet a friend for a workout instead of wine, put a dollar in a jar that you keep in a visible place in your home.  After a set amount of time, you can spend that money on anything you want – whether it’s a sweet pair of new sneakers, or if you put it towards the bag you’ve been eyeing forever.  You earned it. Then you get to do it all over again.


February 2015
February 2015

Today's blog is brought to you by the awesome Cassie, our new colleague at the front desk. Make sure to say hi when you see her (and of course, smile!)

“A smile is happiness you’ll find right under your nose.” –Tom Wilson

I essentially went to school for the art of pretending (acting school), so I will never forget the day we learned about joy. You’ve heard the age old question: “What came first, the chicken or the egg?”?

Well, the question that was asked that day was whether we smile because we feel joy or if our smiling actually causes our joy.

It has been scientifically proven that by engaging the muscles in your face while smiling, your body recognizes that as a response to a happy trigger and it actually tricks your mind into finding something to be happy about.

What could be better--or easier--than that?!

SO I give you a challenge. Find a way to smile more this month, even if you don’t think you’ve got anything obvious to smile about. Call up that funny friend, start watching a comedic TV show (I recommend Comedy Central's  Broad City – I CANNOT stop watching and I literally cry laughing almost every episode), or just simply smile at some random person on the street.

Joy is the most amazing present to give to another person, and I promise it will leave you feeling lighter and happier!


February 2015
February 2015

Today's blog post comes courtesy of Uplift's newest team member, Kendall. She's manning (or wo-manning, as it were) the desk and will soon be joining us on the PT floor. Make sure to say hi when you see her around the studio!

Valentines Day in a nutshell: You wake up to breakfast in bed and then show up to work to find a half-dozen stunning red roses on your desk, the remaining dozen delivered every hour until the end of the day. You head home to find a candle-lit happy-hour prepared by your lover and then get ready for a beautiful dinner and a steamy night following…

And then, unless you reside squarely in a Harlequin romance novel, you wake up.

Growing up, we are taught (from movies and society and our overly dramatic friends) that this is how Valentines Day should be. Girl is wooed by Prince Charming and so of course is super happy. Period. End of Story.

Perhaps for the hopeless romantics out there, maybe this is still true. But what about the rest of us?What about those of us who don’t have a date or even a special person to experience all this romance with? Or for those of us who are quite happily single at the moment, thank you very much?

Well, in the midst of all the hype for this “big day,” remember that it’s a special season dedicated to love, and that doesn’t only mean love for a significant other. It’s easy to get caught up on the expectations, but spending time to love yourself is just as important, and can be just as fun!

If you plan to spend Valentines Day without a lover this year, take time to do something spontaneous for yourself.  Buy yourself a cookie, take a long bath, light your favorite candle and drink an extra glass of wine. When all else fails, find a friend or family member or needy person to shower some love on.

And in any case (single or in love or anything in between) cheers to YOU. Tis’ the season of love, so love yourself. You deserve it.


December 2014
December 2014

This week's blog is brought to you by our front desk collegue extraordinaire, Lauren!

Did you know the holidays are considered to be the most stressful time of the year? There’s a lot to be done, and you can start to feel very unorganized from money, to time commitments, to your own exercise goals. And that can often carry over and get in the way of your new year, and new you!

 

Maybe you’re one stack of stuff away from an episode of Hoarders, or you’ve begun to question if running to the wine shop counts as a workout. Many of us are so frazzled we need Ryan Seacrest to help us countdown from ten on New Years.

 

The key is to take your own life in your hands and get as organized as your Pinterest board makes you out to be! Let your phone help you with some of the load with these awesome apps:

 

1)   Mint.com- keep track of your finances

2)   BillMinder- a friendly reminder of when your bills are due

3)   Unroll.Me- unsubscribe from your unwanted email subscriptions

4)   ZipList- organize your grocery list and plan meals using what ingredients you already have

5)   LastPass- secure your online passwords

 

Once you get organized, it will make it much easier to stick to your New Year’s resolutions---whether they are to work out more or just make, ahem, better (bad!) decisions! Get organized, get Uplift-ed!

 

 

 

 

 



December 2014
December 2014

This piece is courtesy of guest blogger Shira Burstein. Shira is a New York based psychotherapist, with a masters in Advanced Clinical Therapy from Columbia University. In her private practice, Shira provides individual, family and couples sessions for various issues, some of which include: anxiety, depression, self-esteem issues, communication problems, life transitions, issues with interpersonal relationships, work stress and other stress related issues. Shira sees clients in Park Slope and in the Union Square area.

I knew I was in trouble when I chose to put on my favorite pair of faux leather BCBG leggings before heading to a recent family holiday meal. I had mentally strapped on my seat-belt and begun down my diet and gym avoidance path. I could already practically taste heaps of cheesy Corn Flake-crusted potatoes, stuffing and plates full of home-made fudge, all aided by my stretchy and expandable bottoms. Typically I describe myself as on-track or focused and pride myself on being a bit of a gym-rat. Yet something about holiday music and celebratory festive meals put all of that on the back burner.

Therein lies the problem. With all of the holidays so close together, it's hard to avoid a rapid unfolding of an eating and lounging marathon, which in fact almost seems uncontrollable and unavoidable at times. Most of us can relate to this, right? But what I'm interested in is why off-track days turn into off-track weeks...or even months.

 

As human beings, we are not typically meant to act in such drastic ways (read: work out hard and eat clean 365 days a year). Our minds tend to shift, change, our moods tend to wax and wane. We get bored, we feel lonely, it's too rainy or cold to get to the gym, food makes us happy...and then all of a sudden it makes us sad or even self loathing.
In my practice as a psychotherapist I remind my clients that the goal is not to reach 100% success 100% of the time. Rather, I advise they try their best to maintain their goals for as long as possible, with the expectation of having a lapse at some point. The focus instead is learning how to decrease the space of time between being on track and veering off. To aim for 90% and learn to accept and embrace the 10% that makes us all human.
Rather then planning to skip the gym or over-indulging because it's a holiday, because your family is in town, because New Years seems like a better time to start fresh, plan to go off-road for a moment without labeling your decisions as "bad," "horrible" or using words like "regret" or even "cheat."Planning and preparing for how you will resume a healthy stretch will yield more satisfaction then planning to repair and later repent for the moments our inner GPS takes us in a different direction than we intended. If we don't, psychologically we begin setting up a narrative that tells us we are failures. If we've already had two cookies and are "disgusting," it ironically becomes easier to just polish off the entire bag and nix the gym for the next month. Thus, the vicious cycle.
Some simple tips to stay in control while behind the health and wellness wheel this holiday season:

1. Remind yourself why it is that you've decided to make a healthy commitment to yourself in the first place. Keeping goals clear help increase motivation and ability to sustain them as we are able to have an unobstructed visual of where the efforts we choose will lead us in the end.
2. Compartmentalize. Plan and decide to work out or eat healthy for that day alone. Sometimes looking at ongoing, long term goals cause us to feel overwhelmed and anxious, inviting procrastination, avoidance or diminished motivation. When we are able to set smaller more manageable goals, we are able to celebrate our mini victories and success more frequently and have that positive-reinforcement we need to keep going.
3. Get in touch with yourself. What are the feelings and meanings we attach to certain foods and also to days where we are more or less physically active? Ask yourself how you will feel the next day if you go off-track or stay off-track for an extended period of time, weighing the costs and benefits of both.
Last but certainly not least:
4. Enjoy the ride. Decide which elements about the holiday MAKE the holiday special for you and allow yourself to enjoy them (that means leaving the self-disparagement locked away in the glove compartment)! Your aunt's famous cookie recipe or the marathon movie day (complete with plenty of chips and dip) with your family on the couch? Go for it. By doing this, you are taking control rather then the food or the lethargy taking control of you.
During this time of year, I encourage everyone to turn the concept of "falling off track" into an extended movement of falling forward. Planning with intent, not only our off-roading days but also preparing a game plan of how to approach the day after. Remembering that both options are choices, and that we are in control of the 90% as equally as we are of the 10%.

November 2014
November 2014

In honor of the launch of our Uplift Your Career Series (Part One is our Entrepreneurial Panel on November 19th!), our Personal Training Intern Liz wrote a piece about changing careers and moving into the world of Personal Training!

 

The mean girl. The queen bee. Why is it that it seems that whichever direction we 
turn, everyone is nearly always trying to tear one another down? Leaving the 
fashion industry behind, I hung up my stilettos in exchange for sneakers as I started 
on the path to become a personal trainer last spring.


Let me start out by saying that this was not an easy decision. I moved to New York City 
following college to get to exactly where I was—sitting in an office on a high floor of 
a notable magazine publishing company working as a fashion editor. My post 
provided opportunities, travel, and yes, even a few friends that I would never have met 
otherwise.


As much as I loved various components of my job, I found myself itching to get to the 
gym after the workday. A self-proclaimed running addict, I was (and still am) near 
euphoria after a particularly tough workout or testing out a new course. Then it 
dawned on me: I could help others feel this good. It seemed like the most basic 
secret that pretty much anyone could (and can!) learn. Working out = endorphins = 
happy = relaxed = [insert your desired emotion here]. For once: a clique where 
anyone is welcome.


From “You-can’t-sit-with-us” to Instagram selfitis, self-promotion reigns queen. It 
wasn’t until my immersion into the fitness industry that I found a niche of people 
who truly believe in supporting one another no matter what their background, their 
goal, or their exercise level. Is learning the science behind exercise fascinating? 
Absolutely. But it’s the privilege to work intimately with others to see that goal 
approach closer and closer.

So I’ve got one question for you: Want to join the club?


October 2014
October 2014

This week’s guest post is by Uplift intern extraordinaire, Lizzie. Read on for her thoughts about stress!

 

I am a junior at New York University, and this semester I decided to take three intensive sociology classes because I like the challenge!  When I’m not working at Uplift, I’m nestled in NYU’s library reading away. Recently I read portions of Robert Sapolsky’s book Why Don’t Zebras Get Ulcers? for a Sociology of Medicine class, and it changed my life.

Stanford University biologist Robert Sapolsky argues that stress can very literally make us sick. Psychological and social disruptions in our lives do not just cause emotional and mental turmoil; they influence medical issues such as cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes and immunity. Humans are not biologically programmed to handle long periods of stress. Our bodies, like those of other animals, are only equipped to handle acute physical crises. When we find ourselves cornered on a city street in the middle of the night by someone who wants to rob us, our body’s stress response is immediately mobilized to handle the situation. But when we find ourselves overwhelmed by work anxiety or family problems for a prolonged period of time, we inadvertently activate the same physiological system that has evolved for responding only to acute physical emergencies… and we keep it on for months on end. Ultimately, the stress response becomes more damaging than the stress itself, and Sapolsky warns, “If you experience every day as an emergency, you will pay the price.” Yikes.

If you’re anything like me, this is a huge wake-up call. Of course, you have tons of things to get done, and there’s just not enough time to do them all. And then there are bigger things, like stressing about our relationships, positions in life, money, school, work, and so on. We lie in bed desperately wanting to sleep but unable to turn our brains off because it cannot stop calculating all the things that are not right or that need to get done. But is every day really that much of an emergency?

This is our time to stop stressing; our health is entirely dependent upon it. Stress affects our immune system making us more susceptible to the common cold and flu. Stress affects our social habits and behaviors. We are more susceptible to unhealthy overeating which leads to diabetes and smoking and drinking which lead to lung cancer and cirrhosis of the liver. And then there is the damage that years of stress does on our hearts, arteries, and veins.

Let’s make a commitment together to work towards more living and less stressing. I know it’s hard, but instead of wasting your time and energy sweating the small stuff,  take a deep breath and go for a calming stroll. Read a book. Come to a Strength class. Go shopping. Do something that makes you happy and feel healthy.

And when the going gets tough, channel your inner Taylor Swift! Just “shake it off”, and get Uplift-ed in the healthiest and happiest way possible for you!


October 2014
October 2014

The path to a happy life isn't actually all that complicated--it's just that we humans just seem to make things tougher on ourselves than we have to a lot of the time. It's not secret that we Uplift ladies wear more than our fair share of smiles. Read on for our concrete steps to contentment.

 

 

1) Engage in a change...of scenery! As much as I live, eat and breathe Uplift, spending all day, every day in the studio is a recipe for burnout. On a daily basis, that means getting up from your desk, taking a walk, or grabbing a coffee around the corner (yes, even when you're SUPERBUSY!). On the macro level, get outta dodge! Right now, I am sitting writing this blog in East Hampton on a stunningly beautiful fall day, enjoying a couple of much-needed recharge days out of the city. Where's your magic place? Figure it out and book your journey now.

 

2) Stop procrastinating. If you're like me, your to-do list is a mile long, and the most unpleasant or arduous tasks sit at the very bottom, and at the end of a given day, simply get moved to the next day's list. Here's a tip: get up in the morning and get AT LEAST one unpleasant thing done, even if it means allowing yourself a few extra minutes before work (or working out--more on that in a minute). You might just find you get a little momentum and tackle the next thing too. And trust me, NOTHING is more freeing than even just one day without a stressful task or phone call staring you in the face. Make it happen!

 

3) Stop complaining. It's amazing how negative the average person regularly is. Spend one whole day saying only positive things (bonus points if you walk down the street with a smile on your face). Negatvity is poisonous, but positivity is contagious!

 

4) Practice gratitude. When I am feeling my worst--terrified, angry, unhappy--is when I make it a point to slow my roll and start a list of the amazing things in my life that keep me going and for which I am incredibly grateful. It works and I am woring in making it a daily practice.

 

5) And oh yeah....exercise. At Uplift, we are never about being the skinniest girls in the room. In fact, our mantra all along has been STRONG IS THE NEW SKINNY. But beyond how it makes us look, exercise is pivotal in how we FEEL. And don't give me the "I don't have the time" excuse. None of us do. Take ten minutes and run stairs in your building, then do 20 pushups, 25 stationary lunges on each leg, and a one-minute plank.


September 2014
September 2014

As we approach October, and Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it's a good time to become more aware of the various forms of cancer that affect women and how we can protect ourselves. Guest blogger Kristeen Cherney weighs in.

 

Cancer comes in many forms, some of which are most prevalent, and even exclusive to women. While the word “cancer” can be frightening, you should not shy away from knowledge about this medical condition. You can help prevent all forms of cancer by taking a proactive approach to your health.

 

Breast Cancer
Breast cancer is the leading form of cancer in women. While this cancer can technically occur at any age in both sexes, women over the age of 40 are at the highest risk. You may also be at an increased risk if someone in your family has a history of cancer in the breasts. Every woman over the age of 40 should have an annual mammogram to detect breast tumors. This doesn’t mean women under the age of 40 are out of the woods in terms of breast cancer detection responsibility. The American Cancer Society recommends breast exams at least every three years with a doctor. Also, all women should perform monthly self-checks. Detecting breast tumors early reduces the chance that the cancer will spread to other parts of the body.

 

Ovarian Cancer
Like breast cancer, ovarian cancer tends to show up in women as they age. Common risk factors include:
• infertility 
• never having children
• having a child after the age of 30
• use of estrogen treatments
• family history of breast or ovarian cysts

Ovarian cancer can be deadly because there is no single test that can detect this type of cancer. Pap tests and pelvic exams are important, but they can’t find ovarian cancer. The best way to beat this cancer is to have your doctor run tests if you have any of the risk factors, and if you experience any unusual symptoms.

 

Cervical Cancer
Cervical cancer develops as a result of contracting the human papilloma virus (HPV). The virus itself is spread through sex, so you can only get HPV if you have had, or are currently having sex. While the HPV vaccine may help decrease your risk for developing cervical cancer, it’s still a good idea to get regular screenings. Pap tests detect cervical changes, including cancer. If a pap test comes back abnormal, your doctor can conduct further testing to detect cancer early.

 

Other Common Cancers
Breast cancer is the most prominent type of cancer in women. Still, there are other types of cancers that affect women at higher rates than ovarian and cervical cancer. It’s important to remember that cancer in women doesn’t mean you’re only at risk for female-specific forms. The CDC reports lung cancer as the second-most common cancer in women. It also causes more deaths than breast cancer. Colon cancer ranks third in cancers that affect women. An often neglected, yet extremely common form of cancer in women is skin cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, a severe sunburn before the age of 18 increases your risk for skin cancer.

Prevention Requires Action
No one knows if or when cancer can occur. The best way you can protect yourself is to take preventive measures early in life and to stick with them as you age. Lifestyle changes to help prevent cancer include:
• maintaining a healthy weight
• eating antioxidant-rich foods
• exercising every day
• refraining from smoking and alcohol

 

A healthy lifestyle can help, but it doesn’t completely guarantee you won’t develop cancer. This is why regular preventive screenings are essential. Your doctor may even recommend more frequent screenings depending on family history of certain cancers, as well as your overall health. Consider making your next mammogram or physical appointment this October in commemoration of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and to stick with it annually.

 

The earlier any cancer is detected, the sooner you may be treated. No matter what the cancer, survival is dependent on early detection.

 

Resources
• Cancer Among Women (2014, September 2). Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/dcpc/data/women.htm
• Cancer Facts for Women (2014, April 16). Retrieved from http://www.cancer.org/healthy/
findcancerearly/womenshealth/cancer-facts-for-women
• October National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (2014, September 4). Retrieved from http://healthfinder.gov/NHO/OctoberToolkit.aspx

 

Author Bio: Kristeen Cherney is a freelance health and lifestyle writer who also has a certificate in nutrition. Her work has been published on numerous health-related websites with a focus on women’s health issues. Previously, she worked as a communications and marketing professional. Kristeen holds a BA in Communication from Florida Gulf Coast University, and is currently pursuing an MA in English with a concentration in rhetoric and cultural studies. When she's not writing or studying, she enjoys walking, kick-boxing, yoga, and traveling.


August 2014
August 2014

I think I am a fairly selfish person, at least in part: "showing up" for people is not exactly my strong suit. I have vowed in recent months and years to change that and demonstrate to my friends and family that I am there for them, even when it is not easy or convenient for me.

 

I am getting better at showing up and it feels good. If you're looking for something to work on, I recommend it highly!

 

Harder, though, sometimes is showing up for yourself. First of all, it is not mutually exclusive with showing up for others. Simiarly, it is not (contrary to popular belief) SELFISH to SHOW UP for yourself.

 

What do I mean by showing up? Well, it's kind of like when you're in an airplane and when the flight attendant goes through the safety procedures, he or she advises you to FIRST put the oxygen mask on yourself because helping someone else in the event that the cabin pressure dips too low.

 

That applies to all things in life. If you don't show up for yourself--make "me" time for yourself, go on a solo trip, do what you want all day, shut down the phone and email and read a book, get a pedicure, work out, or sign up for the Uplift Fall Challenge--what good can you possibly be to others?

 


 



July 2014
July 2014

Does anyone feel like her life--or at least her summer--is careening by at warp speed? Me too!

 

Maybe it's time for a slowdown. I myself am trying to take my own advice to chill out. Slow my roll. Cool my jets. It's pretty simple stuff but there's truth here: life gets better when you just take a minute to relax and stop stressing. The universe tends to provide all the answers that get lost in the shuffle of "busy." The onset of August is the perfect time for that.

 

That said, one place "slow down" doesn't always have to apply is your workouts (even on vacation!). I recently led a one-day retreat to Long Beach with some amazing Uplift ladies (next one is on August 9th!), and the trip inspired me to come up with a simple-yet-crazy-effective beach circuit, all thanks to your best summertime fitness friend, sand.

 

So suit up. Sweat it out. THEN slow it down!

 

Uplift's Booty-Busting Beach Workout

Warmup: jog to the water's edge and back ten times.

Circuit #1:

*20 pushups

*20 jump squats

*20 tricep dips in table top position

*20 walking lunges

*20 scorpion planks

 

Circuit #2:

*20 pushup-to-sideplanks

*20 roundhouse kick-to-squats, alternating legs

*100 arm circles standing on one leg (switch legs at circle 50 seconds through)

*20 walking backward lunges

*In reverse plank position, draw alternating knees into chest

 

Bonus: run five minutes down the beach and then five minute back to finish up!


July 2014
July 2014

I was very excited (and honored!) to be included in Shape magazine's recent article, "13 successful, fit women share how to turn your love of exercise into a career."

I found myself in very illustrious company with the other women entrepreneurs featured in the piece; and all of THEIR advice reminded me that no matter how unique our paths are, we all face many similar issues, joys, and growing pains. There is really never a "me" in life; it's always "we."

I decided to share the full interview I did with the author of the story here because I think it offers some deeper insight into the things Katie, Helena and I have experienced in opening and growing Uplift, and how many facets of entrepreneurship can translate into life in general.

 

First of all, tell me a little about your background. What did you do before opening Uplift?

Before Uplift, I was a full-time writer! I'd published two books, and was freelancing for a whole variety of magazines and newspapers (eg, The New York Times, The Nation, etc). Similarly, my two business partners were doing things totally outside the realm of the fitness world, too (My partner Helena was a lawyer and my other partner Katie directed corporate events for a large bank). Needless to say, since it was so far off from what I had been doing professionally for years, opening a women-only fitness studio was more along the lines of a calling, rather than a job.
What drew you to this workout method in the first place? (And/or how did you develop it?)

The biggest thing about Uplift, and the reason why I co-founded it in the first place, is that while we offer very intense workouts, centering in cardio and strength (via group classes and personal training), a huge part of our business and brand is the social and community aspect we also offer. Uplift is a place for women to come and work out for sure; but we also built a bar/communal area where they can hang out pre- and post-workout, make friends and workout buddies, network and just relax in an environment that really engenders camaraderie. That in my mind has been what has been missing in the boutique fitness scene, and integral to what we have built.
Why did you decide to turn your passion for fitness into a career?

I loved writing professionally, but it's a very solitary job. After a while, the urge to get out there in the world and help people became stronger and stronger until I couldn't ignore it any more. I have said since the beginning that Uplift has been almost like a calling for me: I couldn't have done the fitness/personal training thing "on the side" (which is how I started doing it while still a writer) even if I wanted to--the doors leading to Uplift kept opening and opening right in front of me.  I got some good press as a trainer, my business partners found me that way, and other pieces just kept falling into place. What we have done at Uplift goes beyond just physical fitness: we really REACH women in a bigger way. When I am working out with a client in the studio, or running with them on the roads of Central Park, I feel like I am able to help/impact/advise on other areas of their lives, too. At the end of the work day, I walk home satisfied that the little niche we have carved out has improved the lives of women.
How is working in the fitness industry different than previous jobs you've had? How is it similar? Are there any business lessons you learned in other jobs that you were able to apply to opening Uplift?

Being a writer and opening a fitness studio do actually have similarities. There is, of course, a sales aspect: I am pretty sure everything in life is sales in one form or another. I don't mean the pushy, in-your-face-on-the-street kind of sales, but sales in the sense that as a writer and as an entrepreneur, I've had to hone my ability to sell my vision to the public at large, to clients, to my partners. Similarly, communication in both of my careers has been key. it is, of course, the centerpiece to writing. But at Uplift, it is an absolute necessity as well: communicating well with my partners has kept us a solid trifecta with hardly any problems or issues; communicating openly and honestly and with authenticity to our clients keeps them coming back for more--we have built Uplift ENTIRELY on word of mouth, and I feel that our open and communicative vibe is very responsible for that. Creativity is another piece: no writer, and certainly no entrepreneur, can exist without it. Every day, we have to form creative solutions to problems, find creative ways of expressing our identity as a brand--creativity keeps our business growing and is the aspect to entrepreneurship that is so much fun: ultimately, I (along with my partners) am entirely responsible for what is put out there into the world.
What did you learn about developing and marketing a brand? Looking back, were there any "rookie mistakes" you made along the way?

I am still making rookie mistakes--starting a business is an evolution! Just when you think you know what you're doing, some new aspect of the business or the brand shows up, and you have to adapt. That simply means learning from (the myriad) mistakes you inevitably make, and improving for the next go-around. Just like personal development and developing your own self-awareness, developing and marketing a brand is an evolution, too. There are no absolutes. It's a matter of starting with something: the germ of an idea, even--and just growing it, inch by inch. For example, you come up with a name, logo, and tagline at the beginning, but a year later, when your brand has organically evolved, those may change a little or a lot, and that's okay. I think a common denominator with those of us who start business is a willingness to embrace change. Marketing is similar: we have grown Uplift entirely on word of mouth, so based on that, I believe a brand starts and grows with client/customer experience. All the slick ads and billboards and marketing campaigns in the world won't do a bit of good if the product itself is not top notch. And in our case, I am not talking about just the workouts we offer: it's the whole experience at Uplift, from the beautiful locker rooms to the friendly staff to the the community and camaraderie we have painstakingly cultivated--we spend so much more time on those aspects of our business than we ever have on "marketing," per se.
What is your number-one piece of advice for other female entrepreneurs interesting in starting their own studios or franchises?

Move forward without fear. I think fear holds people back in so many ways. It's not like I am without it at all times, of course. However, so many women worry about leaving the "stability" of a job they hate to start something of their own; but I believe that when you walk through the right door, things fall into place and you are provided for. That said, I don't want to underestimate the hard--no, not hard--HERCULEAN work ahead. There are negatives and stresses but if you can be brave and are willing to work your butt off, it will pay off.
What has been your greatest joy as a studio owner?

Watching women change for the better and improve their lives right before my eyes. Countless clients have told or written to me about how Uplift has literally changed their lives. And again, while many of them have lost a lot of weight and look and feel fantastic, I believe they mean more than that--there is an X factor in our business that helps shepherd women into real well-being, the kind that has very little to do with being "skinny." That makes the 16+ hour workdays well worth it!
What's one common misconception people have about running a fitness studio?

Just because I am in workout clothes all day doesn't mean I get a chance to work out myself :) But seriously, some people may have the impression that it's all fun, all the time. It IS truly the most rewarding and exciting thing I have ever done, but it is a tremendous amount of work, and a big leap of faith. That's why we focus so much of our efforts on creating workouts geared toward heavy lifting and strength training--in this world, only the strong survive!
What are your plans/hopes/goals for Uplift moving forward?

We are definitely planning on opening more studios, first in the NYC area and then beyond. I've been saying that the only way to grow, is to grow! The more women we can reach, the better.

June 2014
June 2014

Okay, I will come out and say it. You know what I am getting a tiny bit sick of? Something my mom calls the "funge face." I don't know where she got this term, but I know what it means: people who walk around with their faces screwed up in a big fat frown.

In other words, straight-up negativity.

At Uplift, we encourage strength both in the studio (pick up those 12- and 15-pound weights, please!) but also outside. Caveat: strength does not mean NOT having bad days, never being in a bad mood, never being negative--we all have those days, of course. I have had more than my fair share of them recently, in fact.

However, one little thing those darks days taught me is that strength IS forging ahead in whatever small ways you can. It literally might seem impossible to pick yourself up but it's actually not for most people. Putting one foot in front of the other and a smile on your face is a great start. There are lots of options and roads if you can do that.

This song ("The Fighter") and its corresponding VIDEO is my recent favorite running jam. Watch it, pay particular attention to the lyrics, and remind yourself that most likely life is pretty good for you, especially when you think of everything else going on out there in the world:

And if I can last thirty rounds/There's no reason you should ever have your head down/Six foot five, two hundred and twenty pounds/Hailing from rock bottom, loserville, nothing town/Text book version of a kid going nowhere fast/And now I'm yelling, "Kiss my ass"/It's gonna take a couple right hooks, a few left jabs/For you to recognize you really ain't got it bad.

...and keep in mind, the opposite of being a fighter isn't a bad day or momentary weakess or pain, it's simply defeat.