Thursday, April 10, 2014

Model Morning

It's that glorious time of the year again - the quarterly Athleta event!  Because fashion is always two seasons ahead, I was kindly invited to check out the fall fashions Athleta has coming up.  Considering how absolutely freezing the winter has been and the spring continues to be (seriously, why so few 60-degree days? And WHERE ARE THE BUDS?), I confess that seeing fuzzy sweaters and fall things was almost a little depressing.  I am in 1,000% countdown-to-summer mode right now!

It's always a huge treat to come to one of these events.  As is often the case, we were invited to take a complimentary fitness class, given a complimentary outfit, and some complimentary tasty breakfast treats.  Something new this time around was complimentary express manicures!  I could seriously get used to this...

One of my favorite things about these events is definitely exploring other fitness programs.  It's how I discovered and absolutely fell in love with Refine Method and it often gives me a chance to head to parts of the city I don't normally go to.

Today's adventure was down to Bowery off of Spring St to take a class from the brand spankin'-new fitness studio ModelFIT, helmed by trainer to Victoria's Secret and Sports Illustrated Swimsuit models Justin Gelband (often referred to in press as "The Model Whisperer" - an enviable title!).  I wasn't entirely sure what to expect, and I'm not entirely sure of my feelings having taken the class.


On the plus side, it was definitely a powerful upper body workout (as promised), and there was some bonus but much appreciated hip/butt work as well.  I liked the look of the studio and all of the toys and accessories they had (ankle weights!!  brilliant), but I was really not sure how I felt about Justin - and I'm kind of still not.  I get the sense he's much better one-on-one than in a larger group.  He just jumped right into the class with zero preamble and I almost got the sense he didn't want to be there.  Maybe I'm reading too much into it, but he was so "strictly business" that it affected my motivation a bit.  I don't mind being yelled at boot-camp style by any means, but for god's sake, throw me a little humor or encouragement or personality or something! 

Overall, what was promised, was delivered - a great workout.  He's clearly talented based on his clientele and the overall response from my fellow participants (most of whom are actual legitimate journalists but I think there are some fellow NYC bloggers among the group) was positive. 

The manicure was lovely and such a nice bonus treat, and the clothes look fantastic!  My only slight beef - apparently tapered leg is coming back into style.  Ack.  Not a good look for most people, I'd argue.  I thought we left that look to die in the early 90's?  And yet it's Athleta, so they're soooo comfy...

They have their usual bright blues and fuchsias but they also had a rack of really lovely neutral/nude colors.  The 80's and 90's are definitely rearing their loud, patterned, cut-off top, tapered leg heads, and if anyone can make it look and feel good, it's Athleta!

They're an awesome company that always shows me a great time.  I love supporting them - love the generous teacher discount they offer! - and am always excited to see what's coming up next in fitness in the city and in their lines.





Thursday, April 3, 2014

Flat Tires & Perspective

When I was interning in Sarasota, FL at the beautiful Florida Studio Theatre, I met some incredible people.  None so unique as Doctor Nik, aka Doc, who rode around the theatre and the city on his flamingo bike, rocket bike, and any other crazy kind of bike you could imagine, has two of the sweetest basset hounds I've ever seen, and was an absolute font of silliness, wisdom, and kindness.

Something he posted on facebook a few weeks ago wormed its way into my brain and I've found that it keeps coming back to me over and over again, and it's amazing how much it's changed my perspective on little everyday things in my life that I'd normally stress over or take a negative attitude toward.


Doc says, "A flat tire isn't a bad thing until you make it one."


To me, this is very akin to the line in Hamlet, "There is nothing good or bad but thinking makes it so."


These are basically saying the same thing, yet for some reason Doc's resonates more with me (Well done, Doc, you trumped Shakespeare!).  Much to my philisophical husband's chagrin, I tend to be very literal minded, and  although my high minded yogic self completely agrees with the sentiment, I always found myself arguing with this line of Shakespeare's - torture is certainly bad!  Losing a loved one.  Losing a limb!  It's the ultimate declaration of the yogic concept of non-attachment, which is one of the hardest ones to wrap your brain around.


As lovely and profound as it is, I can rarely bring myself to totally acquiesce to this line from Hamlet, but for some reason the way Doc phrases it I can completely get on board with.  Maybe it's the more specific and mundane event of a flat tire as opposed to the open ended nothing of Shakespeare's line makes it a little more palatable for my nit-picky and argumentative brain.


Regardless of whether you react favorably or not to either quote or the idea that they present, I invite you to try applying the idea to little things in your every day life.  Being late.  Getting stuck in traffic or on the subway.  Catching a cold.  Something unexpected and stressful at work.  Canceling plans.  Unexpectedly small paychecks or large bills.  A burnt out lightbulb, a hole in your shirt, an unexpected detour.  Take anything that might pop up in your day that you'd normally respond to with complaints and frustration and try to take a moment to see what positive spin you can take on it - even if it's just that adversity builds character!


The more we apply this practice to the everyday, to the mundane, to the things that annoy us but don't upend our lives (the way the Big Stuff does - loss, severe illness, etc.) the more we prepare ourselves for the inevitable days when we will have to cope with the big stuff.  You take the time to act instead of react and to look for the positive ways you can either change or surrender to the situation.


My one memory of a literal flat tire was back in Virginia.  It wound up keeping me from seeing a show I wanted to see (granted, I had already seen it like 5 times, as I am wont to do), but it gave me a chance to bond with my mom's new-at-the-time boyfriend and to see his generosity of spirit in action.  I felt a level of gratitude and affection for him that I don't know if I had yet felt up until that point.  I'm sure it was a massive inconvenience to whatever he had going on that day, but he appeared almost instantly and completely took care of me.  


It was stressful at first, but wound up being perfectly okay.  When I look back on it, I feel it as a positive memory over a negative one, and as one that marked a mini milestone in our relationship - and had I continued to let stress rule the day, who knows if I'd even remember it at all ten years later?

"A flat tire isn't a bad thing until you make it one." 


Listen to the Doctor, friends, and make it a beautiful day.