Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Monday Fun Day!

If you walk 1 mile from your home, or your favorite hang-out, is there much of a change in scenery, people and atmosphere?

Exactly 1 mile from the triangle of my apartment, the Pig 'n' Whistle, and P.J. Clarke's is the Northeast corner of Sheep's Meadow in Central Park. Walking there last night I was instantly reminded that there is a wonderful world outside of my normal routine. In Central Park you become energized by all the people running and exercising in the world's playground.

Yesterday it was record-breaking heat all around the city. I think Central Park at noon crested at 96 degrees (35.5 degrees Celsius), with humidity at a similar number. It was brutal weather to walk around in, let alone exercise in!

My two good friends run a training class on Monday nights in the park. After countless attempts to recruit me for this class I decided to check it out. It is worth pointing out that the attempts from these same guys to recruit me for a session at the bar was met with far less resistance over the years.

Now, I really loved my personal training with the boxing, but at $90 per session, not really worth it in my estimation. Plus, I am rather motivated at the gym, and pretty consistent in my schedule. But there is a huge difference between being trained and doing your own thing. Mainly, when you are pushed you inevitably work-out harder than if you are just on your own. Also, your body does get conditioned to your work-out, so even though I sweat profusely and I am tired after my abs work, then stationary bike, then elliptical machine, then treadmill work, it is the same thing over and over, and I can do it without falling over in exhaustion. Being trained disrupts that significantly.

Hearing over the years about who these guys train I had a completely wrong perception. For some reason I was expecting to find this class as a handful of slightly chubby women in their late 30's. What I found when I met everyone was the class had 9 people, guys and girls, mostly in their 20's, and all but one looked like they could run the marathon tomorrow. This was hardly a "beginners" class. Although these guys offer that too.  Also, this class uses TRX which is a great apparatus that really kicks your butt!

By 7 PM the heat had relaxed a bit, but the humidity was still sauna-like. Working out with a group of people had that team effect that I grew up on and not experienced in 10 years. I loved it. The head trainer was an old football guy like me, and many of the drills I used to dread in the heat of August in High School at the start of football season where employed here. But this time I had an electric charge - it was a weird mix of nostalgia, déjà vu, and the charge of working out with a team. Funny, while watching the World Cup Sunday morning with the ladies of London, my friend, and author of the note posted Sun. really urged me to join a team again.

"On the line!"

Unless you have played competitive sports you will not know the dread of those three little words. It is always said when you are dog tired, soaked to your socks, and bent over with your hands on your knees. "On the line!" is the exact opposite of "Rest," "Water," and "It's Over." It means the thing you just did that exhausted you, well, get on the line and do it again. Through the pain I secretly loved it. I was not in a bar, I was not at home puffing a cigar, I was outside in the greatest city, in the greatest park, surrounded by gorgeous trees and gawking tourists. "On the line!" sucks, but it is what will get me to my goal. These guys run a great class, and they even offer classes to tourists visiting NYC - much more scenic, and a better work-out then the hotel gym! If you are visiting NYC, or live here - check them out! www.fittoursnyc.com

The exercises consisted of running with high knees, moving laterally, walking on your hands and feet, running backwards, running on an angle, running through squares on the ground, jumping jacks, and various other exercises that you would be intimately familiar with if you played sports. That expensive equipment at the gym? Give it a rest. Those old exercises had my blood pumping, my heart rate up, and my lungs convulsing. After all, as the Marines say, "Pain is weakness leaving the body."
But the real killer, training wise, was the TRX! Hanging from the poles of the old volleyball courts were all these canvas straps with handles. Developed by a Navy Seal this training equipment is a full body work-out that uses your body weight to developed your muscles, and your core, and, well, make you absolutely dog tired. This is not a paid endorsement, but check out the video and you can see how intense this is!

After an hour I could barely walk. Although some of the running exercises we did were pretty rough on my knees, and needs to be modified, my whole body had that awesome soreness that, well, weakness was leaving my body. The TRX exercises were humbling, at times humiliating (because it showed me even with all my crunches, my core is not as strong as it needs to be), and always left my muscles burning.

I then walked over to the Arts Student League where the Nurse was getting out of her drawing class. I picked up a brochure and thought to myself, "Man, what a great life to live working out in Central Park some nights, then taking an art class at the 130 year old famed Art Students League other nights." It is so easy to better yourself! Sadly, for over a decade I thought the pinnacle of living in New York City was sitting in one of their famous bars with a glass of whisky like a 6th digit, and telling glassy-eyed stories like Captain Quint aboard the Orca, or humorous stories like some Junior Varsity Rat Packer.

My Vegan Quest is entering a new phase that will go above and beyond diet, and even exercise, and into a new realm of living and living well. I am excited about figuring it all out!


Vegan Epicurean said...

I was so happy to see you tried a TRX. This has been on my short list for a couple of months. I take it you think it is a good workout, but what about for a female? Still a good purchase if it will be mostly my toy?

Glad to hear you had such a good day,

Terrence said...

It really is an amazing workout and totally versatile. Because so much of the exercises use your own body weight, it can be as rigorous, or as easy as you want it to be. I think its ideal for a woman. Plus, because I am able to regulate the weight I put on my knees, I can do pain-free squats and other exercises.

Vegan Epicurean said...

Thank you so much for getting back to me. Pain free squats you say! My knees can a little tender sometime due to old injuries so that really got my attention. I think a TRX will need to be the next addition to my home gym.

thanks for sharing your insight! :-)

Anonymous said...


Such a small world..the guy in the TRX video (next to Drew..frozen in the frame) is my friend Todd Durkin..he's an amazing trainer and motivational speaker!


Terrence said...

No kidding? From SD?

Terrence said...

Dani - Actually, my trainer knows Todd quite well -- he trained L. Tomlinson AND Drew Brees! When you are a trainer to NFL greats you must be good!

Anonymous said...


I just thought of something else...you probably know Todd's wife, she went to Loyola..Melanie (I don't know her maiden name) she was a good friend of Meg Deely's!

I used to work out at Fitness Quest 10 when we lived in SD. Pretty inspirational to be oon a treadmill next to LT!

Small, Small world!