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I Did It: Slacklining

8 Jun
Our instructor told us to keep our arms up for balance. "Like cops. 'Don't shoot!'"

Our instructor told us to keep our arms up for balance. “Like cops. ‘Don’t shoot!'”

“I Did It” is a feature post running on I’m Skinny, Now What where I will tackle a new workout or diet for a week and give you my opinion. Wish me luck, because I don’t like changing my routine.

Over the weekend I took part in New York’s OutdoorFest, an annual event to get people excited and educated about all the outdoor activities the city has to offer. There is a misconception about New Yorkers that all we do is walk from the door to the train and to another door. That’s not entirely inaccurate. That mostly happens on weekdays. On the weekends, however, we are a busy bunch. We run, we row, we hike, we even surf (New York does border an ocean, you know).

With all these and many more activities abound, it can get overwhelming to pick which one is right for you. That’s why when I perused the OutdoorFest schedule, I took a liking to the idea of slacklining. Instead of walking a tightrope, the rope–or line–you walk is slack, making it a bit more bouncy and lower to the ground when you get to the center.

I’m always up for trying something new, so I called a friend and had her try it with me.

What I learned

The first thing I learned about slacklining is that my concept of balance was a little off. I had to balance myself on one foot on a wobbly line on a windy day in a rooftop playground. I also learned that that all the squats I’ve been doing were child’s play compared to the feat of trying to stand up from a near-sitting position only using one leg.

But I also learned that my years of dance training have come in handy. That helped with using our standing leg to lift the balancing leg. Basically, I used my line leg to push off to stand rather than the balancing leg, keeping my weight relatively balanced to stand.

Also, our instructors made sure we understood that our hips had to stay straight and squared. Wobbly hips equals a wobbly line equals falling. It takes a while to get your body used to the unnatural position of standing on one foot on an unsteady surface. A few more practice tries should do it.

Camille, my instructor, giving me a little support.

Camille, my instructor, giving me a little support.

Once we were able to simply balance ourselves on the line, we tried walking. Some people were excellent at it. I was not one of those people. Every time I tried to put one foot in front of the other, I’d lose my confidence and just step off of the line. At one point my instructor tried to hold my arm steady and that helped move me across the line. But once she was gone, so was my mojo.

My instructor told me it takes a few weeks to get comfortable enough with the line to stay steady and walk, so not to get discouraged. Still, it was a bit of a womp-womp moment when many of my classmates took to it like fish to water.

One day, slackline. One day.


Slacklining is actually a lot of fun. It takes you back to being a kid and walking the balance beam. Plus if you get really proficient at it, you can do some really cool tricks.

Which is good because you’ll be working your thigh muscles very hard. My thighs were achy the next day, but not so much that I couldn’t function. All in all, I recommend slacklining, especially as a group activity. You can find slacklining groups in your area through MeetUp or this Wiki.

photos and video courtesy of Zenovia Earle

I Did It: Cycle for Survival

13 Mar

photo (14)

Editor’s note: “I Did It” is a feature post running on I’m Skinny, Now What where I will tackle a new workout or diet for a week and give you my opinion. Wish me luck, because I don’t like changing my routine.

After the race a couple of weeks ago, you’d think I’d had enough. Ha!

But this wasn’t a race; it was a spin-a-thon for Cycle for Survival, the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Institute’s annual fundraiser. This was my first year participating, but I didn’t anticipate too many problems. I a top student in my spin class, after all.

Aside from running, spin is my favorite workout activity. It is hard as hell, but I actually feel like I’m working muscles. I can feel different muscle groups tightening and stretching with each spin of the wheel. The added benefit is what I feel in my abs. What you don’t realize until your class is over is that you’ve actually had a pretty decent ab workout in the process. Positions 2 and 3 and especially hovering require a lot of balance that you can only get through an engaged core. It’s awesome.

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What I Learned

No two spin instructors are made alike. Nor should they be. However, I’d gotten used to a certain routine at my regular spin classes. Namely, I got used to putting in work. Because the instructors had to switch out every hour, I guess they didn’t want to go too hard on us. It’s not that I didn’t sweat, I just didn’t feel like I was working very hard.

If you’re new to spin, be sure to ask your instructor how they conduct the class. What are the different levels of resistance that they use? Some go one to four, some go one to 10, some just go soft, medium hard. It is on the student to gauge how hard they’re working, but don’t get caught thinking you’re in a 1-4 class when you’re really in a 1-10 and leave not feeling fulfilled.

Also remember that bike adjustments are essential. I am short with short legs, so my bike seat doesn’t need to sit exponentially high off the ground. I don’t have to clips, so I have to make sure my sneakers are secure in the toe cage. And always, always, always have a towel and water. Even if you’re not working that hard, you’re in a confined space with a bunch of people steaming with body heat. It’s gonna get hot.


I love spin, so this was great for me. I hadn’t been in a few weeks, but I have worked out on the stationary bike at the gym. I didn’t train for it because we were divided into half-hour intervals. Still, I’d recommend it to anyone. It’s a great activity for an even greater cause. So get spinning!

Photos courtesy of my Workout Nanny

I Did It: Climb to the Top

2 Mar

climb-1Editor’s note: “I Did It” is a feature post running on I’m Skinny, Now What where I will tackle a new workout or diet for a week and give you my opinion. Wish me luck, because I don’t like changing my routine.

Before the Race

A couple of months ago, my workout nanny sent me an email about a race to the top of Rockefeller Center benefiting multiple sclerosis research. All I saw was “stairs, lots and lots of stairs.” Sixty-six flights of stairs, to be exact. She got super excited about it and kept sending me discounts for registration. The details on whether she said she actually signed up are muddy (I say she did, she says she didn’t), but eventually I signed up. She did not.


How does one prepare for a stair-climbing challenge? Had I taken the race more seriously, I would have gone here, here or even here. I didn’t. The winter doldrums got to me. I’d half-ass some workouts at the gyms with 20-30 minutes of cardio and some squats. Or I’d make full use of my workout DVDs so I wouldn’t have to deal with this.


As the date for the race neared, my training remained non-existent. When I told my boss about the race, he snapped me back into my senses with a couple of questions.

Boss: Have you trained at all?

Me: I run. I work out at the gym and do squats.

Boss: But have you tried like going up 20 flights of stairs?

Me:  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

The day before the race, like all races, nerves started to settle in. I climbed the stairs from a very deep subway platform and got winded. That’s just a subway platform! I’d be climbing 66 freaking flights of steps! What the hell did I get myself into?

Race day

I get to Rockefeller center nervous and pissy—nervous because race day; pissy because I had to get up at 5:45 a.m. and I’m not a morning person. As with any race, there’s an overexcited guy on a mic trying to get the racers at least a tenth as excited as he is. I wanted to throw my shoe at him. My workout nanny came for support and also tried to allay my nerves. I just wanted it to be over. As my 7:20 heat line filled, the nerves started to dissipate. When we got to the third floor to begin the race, I barely felt a flutter in my stomach. When I got the cue to go, the nerves were gone.

I ran up the first six flights…like a BOSS! Then I hit the wall. For those unfamiliar, a wall is when you’ve exhausted your extra energy and are forced to move at a passable pace. By floor 13, my thighs were burning. By floor 18, I was grateful for the water station because my chest was feeling tight. By 35, I was praying that my 15-year streak sans asthma attack would continue. By 45, I’d accepted my fate as woman taking sips of air with supertight thigh muscles. By 53, the only sound you could hear were people trying to breathe. By 60, I knew we only had nine more flights. Then all of a sudden I was on top of Rockefeller Center looking at downtown Manhattan. I finished in 18 minutes, 42 seconds.

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What I learned

  1. I can climb 66 flights of stairs in 18 minutes and 42 seconds! What?!?! On the registration site, it says the average participant makes it up in about 30-45 minutes. I was shocked.
  2. Being short of breath is the pits. I haven’t had an asthma attack since college, but the familiar sensation that comes before one hits isn’t pleasant. The water stations helped, but I would have appreciated a few more of them. I talked with a coworker who reminded me that stairwell runs aren’t the same as regular races. There’s dust, lack of air circulation and a confined space. When running outside, those factors are minimal. He said I’ll be a little wheezy for a couple days. Great.
  3. Read the fine print. I’ve done a few charity races before, but this was the first time where I had to raise a minimum to participate. I was nearly turned away at the check-in counter because I was short. I made up the difference, but it didn’t help my sour mood seeing as how it wasn’t 7 a.m. yet.
  4. Size means nothing. There was a big, fit guy in front of me whom I ended up lapping. I was proud of myself for lapping a quite few people. Nothing boosts the ego quite like passing up some of your fellow racers.
  5. The only good thing about an early morning race is the post-race pancakes. Yum!



You really never know what you’re capable of until you try. Sixty-six flights is A LOT. It’s not something a logical person would consider for a Sunday morning activity. But when challenged to do so, it’s amazing to me how willing and ready I was to accept. I would definitely do it again. However, I’ll read the fine print next time so as not to harass friends and family to donate at the last minute. Speaking of, thanks to Ingrid, Willa, Quiana and Beth for helping a sister out! If you’d like, you can still donate here.

The Skinny Best

29 Dec

It has been an exciting year here at I’m Skinny, Now What? We’ve hit more than 100 posts, celebrated an anniversary and delved deeper into the weight-loss journey. As the year comes to a close, here are some of the 2014’s top posts based on number of hits.

What I learned:

Prince Fielder

prince_fielderThe Body Issue post may have done well because there was a naked man at the center of the post. I’d like to think it had something to do with the writing, though. Body shaming is a big issue to me. In short: I’m not here for it. No one should be made to feel less than because they’re not your idea of perfection. We are all flawed works in progress. Prince Fielder is an amazing athlete who can do incredible things on the baseball field. He doesn’t look like Derek Jeter or (insert your favorite hot baseball player here). He looks like a stocky man with muscular thighs that can swing a bat and knock a baseball out of the park. He’s awesome. It ends there.

Street Harassment

This post got a boost from advertising, but also from touching on an important issue to women: street harassment. Every woman has had to deal with unwanted advances from men. Every woman has their go-to deflection technique. And every woman has had to explain to men that this is a real problem, not just some stranger on the street saying hello. Some day we’ll get to the  point where women telling men this is a problem is enough and not just seeing a video to prove it.


arial_4One of the first posts of the year had me seeing the world upside down. And it was ridiculous fun. I haven’t had a chance to do it again, but I’ve got to set aside some time. If you’re in New York, I suggest you make a date with Kiebpoli, because she has the patience of Job and is an excellent instructor. There are all levels of participants: from newbies like myself to people preparing for their first circus performance. Don’t be afraid of heights. You’re not going up that high when you start. But prepare for lots of upper-body strain. And a lot of fun.

BET Awards

nicki4To be honest, I do a lot of recapping in my professional life. I contribute to our entertainment site’s live blog of Oscar, Tony and Grammy coverage, so adding my two cents to the BET Awards was nothing new. It was different, however, to try to incorporate some Skinny Now elements. But that was just some added fun. My favorite moment of the night was Nicki Minaj’s shade/no shade moment with Iggy Azalea. In that moment, the queen conquered.

The End of Cuffing Season

Winter chills came a little early this year, pushing everyone’s cuffing-season plans into overdrive. With just a few days left until Christmas it’s safe to say that if you haven’t found your cuddle buddy for the next few months, it’s time to invest in a space heater and a large blanket. But if you’ve found that special someone to make the cold nights not so lonely, remember that you can’t spend all your time in bed. Some fun kitchen activities will help you refuel for what’s to come.

Honorable mention: The Ugly Truth

IMG_0737Even though this wasn’t posted in 2014, it gained some traction and actually got a few more hits than the cuffing season post. You guys really like my story about being dirty, funky and icky. Thanks peeps.

Next year, let’s keep this party going. Tell your friends about the site. If there’s something you’d like to see covered here, I’m welcome to suggestions. I’m Skinny, Now What? is about helping you along on your journey. We will continue to laugh, think and press forward as we strive to reach our goals. Thank you all for your support, and good luck in the new year.

I Did It: Your Own Way Race

29 Sep
It was like the decline of man.

It was like the decline of man.

“I Did It” is a feature on I’m Skinny, Now What? where I will tackle a new workout or diet and give you my opinion. Wish me luck, because I don’t like changing my routine.

I subscribe to the Well+Good email newsletters. It’s a great site that gives me tips on what new fitness studios are opening up, what’s in my favorite celebs fridge, etc. Last week, one of the newsletters pointed to a race happening the upcoming Saturday. It’s called Race the City (Your Own Way). Runners, roller bladers, cyclists, even drivers can participate.

It’s set up like a scavenger hunt. Instead of picking up clues at each location, you’re snapping selfies and posting them on Twitter or Instagram with a hashtag so the organizers can follow you. Nine locations were designated between 110th Street and Lower Manhattan. Participants didn’t find out the locations until race day. For those of you unfamiliar with New York, trust that it’s a pretty big distance, especially by foot.

So, race day comes and I get my map. It looked a little something like this.

Double-you Tee Eff!

What did I just get myself into? Still, I told myself I’d give it a shot, and it would make an interesting blog post. (I don’t just do this for me, I do it for you, too!)

At 8 a.m., the race started. My strategy was to head west to the Intrepid, go north, loop around and come back to Paragon Sports, which was the start and finish line. The beginning was fine because I was back in my element on the West Side. Getting to Strawberry Fields in Central Park wasn’t too bad, either. Traversing Central Park was a little tricky because the Global Citizen Festival would be held there that night, so barricades were everywhere.

Running to the the East Side was where things started going downhill. I’m a West Side girl. The East Side is foreign territory. That’s when Google Maps became my friend. I got to Gracie Mansion and thought, “This could be the end.” The city was starting to wake up, I’d been running for 2 hours and was in desperate need of hydration.

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#yow #graciemansion @paragonsports

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I’ve never run longer than an hour and a half. From that point on, it was a trudge to the finish. All along, I questioned my sanity. It was getting hotter. Every 17-ounce bottle of water seemed to disappear with the quickness. Every hill looked like a monster; every bus looked like an angel.

“Just hop on the bus, no one will know,” my subconscious whispered to me. But I’m no cheater, so onward I trudged.

After South Ferry, things got a little easier. I couldn’t run anymore because my knee was not prepared for the day’s mileage. But, walking from South Ferry to City Hall to the Arch and back to the store went by faster than anything else. Five and a half hours later, I was done. Yay?

What I learned

1. Bottles of water are much more expensive on the Upper East Side. I paid almost $2 for a 17-ounce bottle. It costs 75 cents at the bodega on the corner from me.
2. I have got to work on my hills. I’ve been running for a while, but I have been lax in doing hills. This race showed me I’ve got work to do.
3. Because I’ve been running for so long, certain injuries shouldn’t surprise me. No one warned me about the damage a sports bra can do. Ow!!
4. Last but not least: Read instructions carefully. And when you’re still confused, ask questions. I have a problem in that I’m kind of a know-it-all. If instructions seem simple enough, I’ll figure out the hard stuff. I didn’t understand how there was only one prize for all participants, especially if cyclists and roller bladers were in the same pool as the foot racers. Turns out you’re supposed to take “Your Own Way” literally. I could have taken the subway or the bus to all over the city. I could have even hailed a cab. Son of a …!

I ran/walked about 20 miles in five-and-a-half hours! I wasn’t so much angry when I found that out as I was upset that I didn’t know the rules. Plus, I was exhausted and in desperate need of an ice bath. So I just took my smelly behind, my $25 gift card and my new cup home.


I’d do it again, because I got to see parts of the city I’d never seen before. But if I decide to participate next year, I’m riding a bike because this year’s winner was a cyclist.