Interview with a Fitness Professional

Interview with a Fitness Professional is back! This week we bring you the words of wisdom from one of our favorite fitness professionals, Lynnea Ciccotelli, in Portland, Oregon. Lynnea is co-owner and a Pilates instructor at Circle Studio (also a Hot Bird favorite) in Portland's Pearl District. One session with Lynnea is never enough as her knowledge of the body, especially a runner's body, is invaluable to your success as an athlete.  

Why do you like working with runners?
I love working with runners mainly because I am a runner myself. I find camaraderie among runners, an unspoken understanding. Running takes determination, commitment, loyalty and focus; all things I value and identify with. When I work out a runner on the Pilates equipment, I feel like they carry those same principles into their workout, regardless of their level and, man, are workouts like that fun to teach! I love hearing how Pilates has helped improve people's running, because it certainly has helped mine.

If you could tell a runner one piece of advice, what would it be?
If I could tell a runner just one piece of advice, I would tell them to focus on their posture. When you are running from your core, you're aligned and lifted. Your lungs can then work at full capacity which increases your endurance. There's nothing worse than to see a runner with bad posture looking miserable; I always think to myself, there's a better way! I should start carrying Hot Bird's card...

What is your go-to fitness activity and why? 
Besides running, my go to fitness activity is Pilates (big shock). Pilates helps me identify my imbalances that can effect my quality of movement, specifically my posture. The work I do in Pilates informs all of my other activities and movement; I feel stronger, faster, and taller.

What is your favorite post workout meal?
My favorite post workout meal is wings; the spicier the better. I also really like chocolate milk. My healthy answer would be yogurt or eggs and roasted vegetables; but you asked about my favorite.

When did you start running?
I started running distance for fun when I was in college. I lived in a beautiful mountainous town and loved the scenery on my runs; not to mention it was a great stress management tool. I still love it and consider myself an amateur. I have met some amazing people, made great friends and gone some cool places because of running. One such amazing person is Meghan at Hot Bird Running. She is clearly an expert and helped me shed new light on my form and pushed me out of my comfort zone but within my abilities. I continue working with her on form, strength training and speed work and have in a short time already taken a minute off my mile! Thanks Meghan and Hot Bird!

Interview with a Pilates Instructor and Wellness Lifestyle Consultant

This week's fitness professional is Frances Darnell, a Brooklyn resident and owner of Dynamic Core, her private practice as a Pilates and Wellness Lifestyle Consultant. Fran specializes in prenatal and postpartum fitness and works with women in preparation for pregnancy, through pregnancy, postpartum and beyond. She loves working with women helping them feel empowered in their body. She sees people of all fitness levels to help deepen their connection to their body, rehabilitate the abdominals, balance pelvic strength with Pilates and Yoga for the pelvis, and improve their well being from the inside out. For the past six months, Fran has been working with Jessica during her pregnancy - playing a large role in Jessica's running health as the belly expands and her body changes. Thank you, Fran!

Why do you like working with runners?
I love working with runners because I love helping them tap into their core strength when running. I know from my personal experience how Pilates helped to transform my running. Running puts a lot of impact on your feet, legs and hips. I help my clients unwind tension in their body, increase flexibility, and learn how to engage their abdominals to support themselves on a deeper level. I love supporting my clients in reaching their goals whether they are just discovering their inner athlete, running for cardio or training for their next big race. Pilates is such a supportive practice for running and I love being able to teach my clients tools for feeling better in their body and improving their performance.

If you could tell a runner one piece of advice, what would it be?
Take the time to warm up with dynamic movements before and stretch after running. It is so important to prime your body so that you are able to engage your muscles mindfully and feel more connected with every stride. Also taking the time to stretch and release tension afterwards will keep your body feeling free. In particular make sure to take care of your psoas muscle. The psoas muscle is a deep core muscle that supports your every stride and when you don't take care of it can lead to tension and imbalances in your body. Practice gentle passive stretching and releases - it will make a big difference in your running and how you move through your everday!

What is your go-to fitness activity and why? 
Pilates is my go to fitness activity. I can practice the exercises anywhere I bring my mat. I love how my body feels stretched long and balanced after Pilates. It is also a great way for me to stay conditioned for all of the activities I like to do. I am a big fan of doing cross-training and getting outside to workout whenever I can. I love surfing during the summer. Other fitness activities I do to get a good sweat are to run, cycle, swim and practice some yoga. And I always love to go dancing (especially salsa dancing)!

What is your favorite post workout meal?
After a long run I love brunch food like eggs and roasted potatoes and some greens. When it is hot outside I prefer a filling smoothie. I love putting 4 leaves of Kale in the blender along with 1 cup of frozen berries, a banana, a tbsp of peanut butter and 1 tsp chia seeds with either filtered water or almond milk. It is so filling & refreshing and the greens & chia seeds keep me energized.

When did you start running and why?
I started running when I was in high school to train for field hockey and lacrosse. I ran a little bit in college while I was studying dance. I started running half marathons after I graduated college and was looking for a way to stay in shape and get outdoors. This past year my reason to run has changed. My mom has Alzheimer's disease and I began running with the intention to physically express what I am experiencing emotionally seeing my mom's progression with this disease. I am now a member of the Athletes to End Alzheimer's Team and ran the NYC 1/2 Marathon this year in honor of my mom and to raise funds for the programming that the Alzheimer's Association provides. Running helps me clear my head and to face challenging moments on the road as well as in life.

We Love...Cross Training

Over the next week, we are featuring things, products, races, classes and places we love. Let us know how you love to cross train in the comments section!

Running is our go-to activity however we love checking out classes and cross training activities.  Besides being a vital part of any running schedule, cross training is fun! It makes your muscles and mind work differently.

One of our favorite ways to cross train is to hit some of NYC’s amazing studios and gyms and take classes from instructors who inspire us and make us like a sweaty indoor 60 minute class. We’ve found some kick-ass classes in other cities during our travels as well. Here are a few that we love.

  • Fitness/Cardio Classes
    • Liz Lefrois is our go-to instructor. She teaches at Equinox locations in NYC. She’s fun and offers a challenging class
  • Spin Classes
    • Gregg Cook  is our FAVE instructor. You feel like an athlete in his classes, which we love.
    • Soul Cycle and FlyWheel are fun, sweaty classes
    • Best option - get outside and ride in Central Park or Prospect Park
  • Bar Classes
    • Physique 57 is a fast paced class that leaves you sweaty and tone.
    • Bar Method is a bit slower but still tones and lengthens. Check out their SoHo location.
    • Barre 3, out of Portland, OR, offers online bar classes that we've been doing in our kitchens (subscriptions are $15/month)
  • Pilates
  • Yoga
    • Our go-to is Mala in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn
    • Check out Virayoga in SoHo for alignment based yoga
    • Laughing Lotus in Chelsea is a fun, flow class
    • Shambhala in Prospect Heights has an array of classes