A Few of the Perks of Being a Female Athlete by Coach Nicole

Almost a year ago, I officially ended my career as a student-athlete at Princeton. Upon concluding the season, I wrote a similar article to this for my weekly column in the “Prince”, our school newspaper. It focused mainly on the sense of identity I formed as a female athlete, and consequently, the confidence I developed with regards to my body and its athletic abilities. Having been in the “real world” now for nearly 8 months, I am pleasantly surprised to find that these lessons I learned as a college student have allowed me to further evolve as a female athlete and fitness professional. Here are a few of the “lessons” I’ve learned throughout this ongoing journey- which I think every woman should embrace, regardless of her level of athletic experience.

1) I own my body and its strengths

Throughout the last few years, I have noticed how almost all women are self-conscious about their bodies (I am not exempt from this). However, being a female athlete has made me much more aware of and also more comfortable with my body. Sure, there are times when I wish I could wear flowy frocks that look good on thin, frail models. But then I remember how weak I feel on the squash court after having failed to fuel properly before a practice. I remember how my body helps me to run, bike and hit a squash ball. The sense of accomplishment and personal pride I gain from success in athletics far outweighs the feeling of being a delicate model. Is my butt too big for those pants? Oh well, I can lunge on the squash court. A sweater is too tight on my shoulders? Hm, well I (almost) did a chin-up yesterday and that was pretty cool.

In my opinion, if you feel good in your body, it probably looks good too. And to be honest, who is scrutinizing it anyway? Playing squash, which appeals to a wide range of body types, has certainly opened my eyes to the variety of talent and skill which is used in the game, and for that I am grateful.

2) I appreciate eating well

Another topic that is somewhat contentious amongst females in our day and age besides body image is food intake. As an athlete, I eat to perform. My primary reason for eating well is not to keep a certain body fat percentage so I can wear a smaller-size squash dress (which, to be honest, fits me like a long shirt anyway). I eat well so that I can play well in the dress. Furthermore, I feel fortunate to not worry about being judged for what I eat. I truly enjoy good food, and being an athlete not only gives me a pass to eat as healthy as I want, but to splurge on “other” foods as well. Having a specific reason (such as an upcoming tournament) not only helps me stay on track, but also helps me avoid judgement from my friends and dinner companions.

3) I can beat guys (and I like it!)

Throughout my 12 years of competitive squash, I have had my fair share of games against both women and men. This has taught me that the battle of the sexes on court can be evenly matched. Some of my best performances have been against men, who, on paper should annihilate me. Developing this confidence from the squash court has transferred over to my professional and personal life, where I now feel comfortable competing against, training, or working out with anyone- regardless of gender. (In other words- I’m no longer intimidated by the buff guy at the squat rack!)

4) I have an excuse to wear cute workout gear

Gone are the days of yoga pants being restricted to the yoga or spin studio- and thank goodness! Not only are workout clothes extremely comfortable, but they have also become increasingly more stylish! I don’t know exactly which store or which celebrity we have to thank for creating “Athleisure”, but my legs and shoulders thank you. It can be difficult being a tall woman with an athletic build trying to fit my butt into certain skirts, and my shoulders into fitted blouses. I can truly say that wearing cute workout gear makes me feel both confident and comfortable. Win-win!

How to Fire Up Your Metabolism For the Rest of the Day Before 7 am

On a freezing cold weekday morning at 6:15am, many New Yorkers lay nestled in their beds, not daring to venture outside, at least until the sun comes up. At that same time on 14th street, 8 people dressed in workout clothes stand on a bright green indoor turf. Before them stands Kelvin Gary, who begins to explain the plan for their upcoming express 45-minute workout, “Cardio Strength”. For first-timers, this workout may appear both contradictory and easy. How do you combine cardio and strength? Aren’t they considered opposite? Doesn’t a workout need to be at least 1 hour to be worthwhile? These are only a few of the millions of fitness myths that exist today. Contrary to most thinking, the cardio does not need to involve some sort of stationary equipment, like an elliptical, or to be performed for hours at a time. Along the same lines, strength training does not require one to lift an insane amount of weight like a football player. In fact, these two forms of exercise can be combined, and in turn provide a complete, efficient, and effective workout.

One of the founders of Cardio Strength, Robert dos Remedios, CSCS, informally known as “Coach Dos”, claims that Cardio Strength training gives you the biggest bang for your buck. There are a few different ways to compose workouts, but the main premise lies behind performing exercises at a high intensity, while having minimal to no rest. This format keeps your body guessing, and creates a lot of metabolic disturbance which forces it to continually adapt.
Cardio Strength training can increase your fitness and conditioning while decreasing fat loss and increasing your VO2 max. In turn, this creates the “after-burn” effect, where your body continues to burn calories at an elevated rate even after your workout is over. Oh, and the cherry on top? If you’re short on time, you can still reap the benefits from Cardio Strength training in as little as 10 minutes.

Like most things which promise amazing life changing results, this sounds almost too good to be true. Guess what? It isn’t! The only catch is that this kind of a workout is hard. Really hard. It’s short and intense, but you need to earn the “afterburn,” so to speak. Bottom line: if you’re considering implementing Cardio Strength into your regime, be mentally prepared to push your limits.

So, if you’re short on time and want to get a head start on your day, come check out our newest class, Cardio Strength, offered on Tuesday and Thursday mornings at 6:15am-7am, taught by our owner and head coach, Kelvin Gary. While you may look at him with dreary eyes beforehand, we can promise that afterwards you’ll walk out with an elevated metabolism, feeling energized, and ready to tackle the day!

To sign up for Cardio Strength, visit our class schedule signup, call the front desk at 646-684-4912, or shoot us an email at bodyspacefitness@gmail.com.

3 Tips for Healthier Holidays

Despite the unseasonably warm weather in NYC, the holidays are in fact upon us. For most, this means gatherings with friends, family, and of course…food. You know the drill: an evening of several bacon wrapped dates washed down with a glass of wine, followed by ham and stuffing, and topped off with a slice of figgy pudding. This (delicious) cycle continues until the New Year arrives, at which point, you find yourself feeling overly stuffed from stealing all the chocolates from the family advent calendar. So, before you find yourself in complete despair, and nibbling on the kids’ gingerbread house, check out our top 3 tips for staying (or getting back) on track throughout the rest of 2015. (And no fear, we’ll be ready for you in January in case you don’t adhere to them quite as well as you had hoped).

1. Make it a (fitness) date. Instead of catching up over an Eggnog latte, bring your friend for a workout at Body Space Fitness! For the remainder of 2015, you can bring a friend to any class for $15 (that’s 50% off!). Just be sure to call ahead of time to make sure there’s room, and reserve your spot.

2) Be the proud potluck health nut! Going to a potluck holiday party? One of the most difficult parts about attending holiday parties is that the food is out of your control. Fortunately, if you are given the chance to bring something, you can remedy the situation and bring a healthy dish! That way, if the food turns out to be fried, loaded with sugar, or saturated with fat, you have a healthy option at your fingertips.

3) Dress to impress (and eat less!). Put your hand up if you have a pair of stretchy pants or a loose shirt that you reserve for the big feasts. While these garments are sure to be comfortable, they also manage to hide food bellies. By wearing form-fitting clothing, you are less likely to overeat at a party. So, instead of letting yourself off the hook and wearing your comfiest pair of jeans or leggings, challenge yourself and wear something a little more form fitting.

Can You Fit into your Skinny Jeans?

You know that hot pair of jeans that’s hiding in the back of your closet? Well…they used to be your hot jeans- once upon a time. Now they’re a couple sizes too small, just gathering dust and craving to see some daylight! You know the ones I’m talking about: that gorgeous pair of jeans that used to show off your curves in all the right places, but now squeeze a little too tight, almost making it a workout just to put them on. Well, it’s time to bust those jeans out of the depths of your drawers and dust them off, because in just 8 weeks, you could drop up to two sizes and look just as smoking as you used to in those fabulous hip huggers, regardless of whether it’s been a few months or a few years since you’ve last tried them on.

The “Skinny” on the Skinny Jean Slim Down

We challenge you to bring your “skinny jeans” into Body Space Fitness, and let us guide you through the second annual Skinny Jean Slim Down– an 8 week program including 4 workouts a week, daily meal plans and weekly grocery lists workouts, as well as constant coaching and support.

You will have 24/7 email/text access to your trainer, Nicole, who will answer any questions you may have throughout the journey. Last year’s Skinny Jean challenge was a huge success, and we’re pumped to have a new group of ladies who are interested in becoming fitter, healthier, and happier!

Want to Learn More?

For more details, check out the flyer above, and come to our free info session at Body Space Fitness, Thursday October 1st at 7 pm. 

You can sign at the front desk at Body Space Fitness, at the free info session, or online by emailing bodyspacefitness@gmail.com. If you have any questions regarding the program, feel free to email Nicole at nsbunyan@gmail.com.

Hope to see you there!