New York: Fitness

I’m just back from a fabulous five days in New York, where I celebrated my 30th Birthday. New York is my favourite city in the world, so I knew exactly where I wanted to be to see in my thirties.

I’ve been to the Big Apple twice before, once in 2003 with my College and again in 2005 with my University. However this trip was a bit different as I travelled with my husband, it meant we could plan our own days without having to stick to an itinerary. I quizzed my friends, family, Twitter followers and other bloggers for tips and recommendations on where to go and what to do whilst in New York, and made plans for a busy five days!

I’ll recap the highlights and share some photos from my New York trip including sightseeing, shopping, fitness and food. 

Soul Cycle was top of my must-do list. This chain of boutique spinning studios revolutionized indoor cycling and taken the world of fitness by storm. Soul Cycle classes have a cult following in New York, having quickly expanded to 18 studios in and around Manhattan. They aim to offer an almost ‘spiritual’ experience alongside your class spin class. As I’m working on a project to bring a similar concept to the UK, I was keen to check out Soul Cycle and see what the hype is all about. 

We booked into a 7.30am class on Saturday morning at the Upper East side studio, and arrived bright and early to collect our cleated cycle shoes and browse the Soul Shop. Soul Cycle sell a range of Nike and Lululemon gear which has been re-branded with their trademark skull logo. 

The spin bikes were customised to Soul Cycle colours and the walls of the dark studio were covered in motivational slogans. The scent of the grapefruit candles on the instructors podium filled the air as we cycled to a soundtrack of Beyonce, Rihanna, Nicki Minaj with a little Tina Turner thrown in to the mix. Our instructor Sabine kept the energy up in the room as we climbed hills and sprinted flat-roads on the spin bikes. 

I loved the class, as did Glen- it was his first experience of spinning. I’d loved to have had the chance to visit the other cycling studios in the city, like Flywheel, CYC, Swerve and Revolve, but we had such a packed schedule for the short-break! 

Sweaty after class!

On the morning of my Birthday, I had booked a running tour of New York with City Running Tours who Emma had recommended. Myself and Glen were the only people booked onto the tour which meant that we had our tour-guide Gill to ourselves! 

Gill lead us on a 4 mile route around Times Square and surrounding streets and avenues. We would stop occasionally at points of interest to learn about the history of the city. Our tour took us through the theatre district, Bryant Park, Grand Central Station, the Rockefeller Centre, the United Nations Headquarters plus an apartment complex known as Tudor City. Our tour guide was very knowledgeable and it was great exploring the city on foot rather than a tour-bus. We kept a pace of 8:30-9:00 minute/miles (fast for me, but very slow for Glen)!

Bryant Park

Times Square

We learned an interesting fact about Grand Central station- when the ceiling was restored in the 1990s it was hidden under a layer of black grime, thought to be from coal and diesel smoke. It turned out to actually be stained with tar and nicotine from cigarette smoke, and one patch of the ceiling was left completely black to show the colour of the ceiling before the restoration. The ceiling tile was left black as a reminder of how much work was done. 

Inside Grand Central Station

We ended the tour back at Times Square, and headed off to put in some more miles around Central Park.

It turned out that the New York Women’s Half Marathon was taking place in Central Park that morning. I wished I had known about the race in advance so I could have signed up- it would have been a lovely way to celebrate my birthday! Around 7000 women were running two laps of the park, so I ran in the opposite direction to the crowds, cheering them on and admiring their lycra! 

New York Women’s Half-Marathon in Central Park

Central Park was a gorgeous place to run- I explored the ponds, Conservatory Garden, bridges and statues. I also ran around the 1.5m running track which encircles the Reservoir in the centre of the park- this offered beautiful views of the Manhattan skyline and brought me to 9 miles total for the day. I’m pleased I was able to stay on track with my half-marathon training even on holiday! 

Central Park

As well as running and spinning, we did a ton of walking in New York. We walked around 15-20 miles each day and my feet were absolutely throbbing each evening!

Coming up soon- my recaps of our New York sightseeing, shopping and food! 

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