Category

Wellness

Why I Committed to Running a Half-Marathon this Year

With every new year that approaches, I am no stranger to making a long list of resolutions that almost always fall off the wayside. My closest friends know this about me and it’s often a bit of a joke with “What’s on your scroll of new years resolutions this year, Shai?” Some of these resolutions typically include:

  • Eat smarter
  • Be a nicer human
  • Drink less wine
  • Have more patience…and so on

This year, while I still had the urge to write down a few resolutions (and I did), I wanted to set a goal for myself that was actionable, measurable and physically challenging.

While I do enjoy exercising, the truth is, I tend stay in my comfort zone with my workouts which typically include dance-cardio, hot yoga, pilates and barre. I’ve dabbled in running classes before but even then, have stuck to a pace that hasn’t allowed me to progress or get better.

It wasn’t until watching the NYC Marathon a few months back, when I witnessed runners of all ages take on one of the most exciting races in the world, that I felt a deep sense of motivation. In fact, I was overcome with so much emotion, I was sobbing behind my oversized sunnies as I high-fived total strangers running by. There’s something about this race that leaves you feeling proud to be a New Yorker and makes you feel like you can do anything. That evening, I decided… I was going to do this. I was going to push myself beyond my cookie cutter limits and attempt something I never considered doing before. Before the stroke of midnight (lol, JK JK 9PM) I signed up for the NYC Half and was SO excited to train.

After a few weeks, I found out the results of the draw and as it turns out, I was rejected. I contemplated throwing in the towel and saying ‘I tried’ but if you know me, you know I never take no for an answer and immediately signed up for the Brooklyn Half in March.

Don’t get me wrong, I know I have a long journey of tough, COLD and physically demanding training ahead of me. With the support of my expert running friends (hi Amanda!), running coaches and family, I know I will get through it. I look forward to seeing just how far my body will go and training my mind to mentally push forward in times where I’d rather be snuggling on the couch because it’s freakin’ January and winter is a B***$!

The point of this post is to tell you that if you want something for yourself – may it be running a half-marathon, drinking less wine or spending less time on social media – make it happen. I’ve learned this doesn’t change me as a person, because I will always choose to eat cookies for breakfast and binge watch The Real Housewives, but I know I have a goal that I am tracking towards. Enjoy the journey and don’t forget to look back on everything that you’ve already accomplished.

XOXO,

Shaira

P.S. – Special thanks to my new friend Mansi (@makeupbymansi) for motivating me to revive my blog. This one’s for you!

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Barry’s Bootcamp – 4 Classes Later…

I know.. I know… I’m late to the Barry’s party. Better late than never, right? Not sure why it took me THIS long to finally take a class, but I’m glad I did. Thinking back, I had some preconceived notions about going — after all, it IS a boot-camp class and I don’t love the idea of someone yelling at me while I workout. Did that actually happen? Keep reading…

For those of you who are unfamiliar, Barry’s Bootcamp is a high intensity workout where no one class is ever the same. After 4 classes, I couldn’t agree more. The original class combines 25 minutes of cardio on the treadmill, followed by 25 minutes of strength training on the floor. You can also sign up to do a double floor class if you’re not a fan of running, but I recommend going all in if you can.

When I first entered the studio, the staff at the front desk were really welcoming. Despite this, the moment I entered the workout room, I was immediately intimidated by the dimly lit red lights and loud music. As I climbed onto my treadmill, I realized I would be running between two very fit men and knew right off the bat that I wouldn’t be able to keep up with them.

Fast forward to our initial transition from treadmill to floor where we had a minute to walk it out. At that moment, the instructor encouraged us to take second to high five our neighbors for the hard work we all just put in. Not sure why, but this instantly broke down the invisible barriers between each treadmill and allowed us to connect as a group. It was the smallest gesture, but at that point, I was no longer intimidated by the fact that I couldn’t run at 12.0. It felt.. GREAT.

I thought the strength training portion would be a breeze, but boyyyy was I wrong. All of the instructors pay very close attention to form, which is super important, but also strongly encourage you to pick up a heavier set of weights. In this portion of class, it’s rare that’s you’re actually sitting down. It’s jam-packed with dumbbell work, abs, planks, push-ups… you name it. Anything to keep your heart rate up.

60 minutes later… and you’re done! It’s amazing how quickly time flies in each class. 4 classes later and I’m officially hooked. Believe it or not, my core feels so much stronger and I’ve seen an improvement in how much I’m able to run (both speed and distance). With Summer around the corner, I’m making it a point to get to class at least once per week.

Hope this helps a newbie gain the courage to sign up. You’ll be glad you did!

XOXO,

Shaira

 

 

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My Go-To Fitness Classes in NYC

Sharing some of my all time favorite classes in NYC! Each of these classes are 100% in my weekly routine and are the perfect blend of cardio, strength training and yoga.

Doonya – By far one of my favorite workouts and is far more than a Bollywood inspired fitness class. In fact, Doonya focuses on improving core strength and endurance through dance. When you take a class taught by Doonya’s CEO and dear friend, Rohan Sheth (@bolly_hero), you will find yourself leaving behind any negativity or stress from your day as your plank, burpee and bolly tap your way through this 50+ minute workout. Total judgement free zone, no dance experience required and you’ll leave class totally drenched and feeling more energized than when you first walked in. Here’s a video of a fun shoot I was a part of that’ll give you a preview of what to expect in class: Doonya !

Mile High Run Club – I’m by no means an expert runner and to be totally honest, had reservations about signing up for what seemed like a pretty intense running class. I was SO pleasantly surprised at how welcoming the instructors were to newbies and how they were able to cater the class to runners at all levels. My now favorite class, Dash 28, is 45 minutes and includes 28 minutes of structured intervals, followed by 10 minutes of running-focused strength + power training with kettlebells. After 4 classes, I comfortably advanced to the High 45 class, which places more emphasis on running. Playlists are always on point – I’m usually belting out to Beyoncé in the front row.. (sidenote: love that this studio is dimly lit & the music is LOUD because no one needs to hear/see that LOL). Half marathon in my future? Who know’s.. but for now, I’m grateful to be able to keep up with Supin on our evening runs.

Y7 – This class cannot and should not be compared to other yoga classes. I first heard about Y7 from a guy friend of mine from college. I was intrigued by his enthusiasm towards this studio, so decided to give it a try. Once I took their Hip-Hop Wednesday class, I was instantly hooked! The studio is candlelit and raised to a temperature of ~90 degrees. The 60 minute class focuses on 3 flows (short yoga routines) which are broken down for you. The pace picks up and (my favorite part), the music is turned up for you to flow at your own pace for 2 minutes. During this time, you can do the flow, practice a pose, or just sit in child’s pose. It’s yoga without the pressure, though I must warn you – bring a towel and be prepared to S-W-E-A-T! #detox

Jillian Michaels BODYSHREAD – In the mood for a quick workout, but don’t want to commit to a full hour? This is your class! This 30 minute metabolic conditioning class will have your burning fat and extra calories for days. The class uses Jillian’s 3-2-1 interval/circuit training approach: 3 minutes of strength, 2 minutes of cardio and 1 minute of abs. Class will fly by and covers everything from squats, to mountain climbers, to really effective abdominal techniques. Such a great to take with friends when you’re kicking off a busy day or winding down from a long week. My ab-solute go-to (no pun intended) 😉

Enjoy and hope to see you in class!

XOXO,

Shaira

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5 Simple Ways To Jump-Start Your Saturday

So it’s finally the ‘freakin’ weekend baby’ and what a whirlwind week it’s been. You have a million and one things piled up on your to do list: brunch, laundry, a Trader Joe’s run… not to mention, your apartment’s a total mess. Sound familiar?

Sometimes the work week can take away so much time from just ‘doing life’, that the thought of tackling your to do list becomes so daunting, that you just don’t do it.

Here are 5 simple tips that I do to kick-start my Saturday, which have helped me refocus and prioritize the important things:

Make Your Bed – I know it sounds ridiculous, but making your bed in the morning is THE way to prime your brain for a day full of accomplishments. Some of the most successful and influential leaders of our time start off each day by doing just that. If you think about it, making your bed can be the very first accomplishment you complete for the day and only takes 2 minutes.

Ditch the Coffee – If you’re a coffee addict like me, you might just stop reading here. Please continue… it’s worth it! It’s recommended to drink between 250 to 500 mL of water first thing in the morning. Water, which makes up 80% of your brain tissue, will help you fully wake up and maximize cognitive capacity. Adding fresh fruit can help change up the taste as you drink throughout the day. A quenched brain = a productive morning!

Get a workout in – Increasing your heart rate and breaking a sweat releases endorphins which will leave you feeling like you’ve moved mountains. This could be as simple as taking a walk outside, holding plank for 2 minutes or taking a fitness class.  Movement wakes up the brain.

Leave the work email at work – I’m guilty of looking at email as soon as my alarm goes off, while on vacation and definitely on the weekends. It’s something I’m actively working on improving but I’m not there yet. I’ve started by simply not checking emails over the weekend. The truth is, the weekend is YOUR time. Use it to reset, refocus and re-energize.

Plan your day – I’m huge on to-do lists (probably to a fault). Often times, especially on the weekends, it’s couch time, texting, Netflix and then deciding on what your plans are for the day. Next weekend, plan your Saturday before it happens and see just how much you actually accomplish! A simple checklist of what you want to get done will help you prioritize what’s important and will help you to manage your time efficiently.

XOXO,
Shaira

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