How To Stay Fit in NYC

I’m a big fan of the gym. I’m also a big fan of running, so being able to find time to do either of those things has been a bit of a struggle when trying to balance a job, time with friends, schlepping back and forth from Brooklyn on the subway everyday and having some alone time as well.

Obviously it’s not hard to stay active when you live in a city that never sleeps. And when theres always something to do, you just kind of get a workout in without thinking about it. But when it boils down to it, some of us want to hit the gym or get a good run in anyway, so here’s some tips on how to do that.

1. Walk whenever you can, but not to an extreme.

Walking is great for burning calories and getting your heart rate up, especially if you’re dragging around groceries or your giant purse loaded with everything you need to survive in NYC. (See my post 5 Things to Never Leave Your Apartment Without) So walk when you can. Get off a stop early on the train when it’s only a few extra blocks to your destination. Walk to a store that’s a little farther from home instead of the one right around the corner. But remember not to over-do it. New York can get super hot in the summer, as I’ve learned. And with all the tall buildings and tons of people, there really isn’t much air flow here so be careful not to give yourself a heat stroke from too much walking. At the end of the day, cardio is the best way to burn fat, so walking is a great way to stay in shape.

2. Find cool places to workout that isn’t the gym.

I never minded running on a treadmill in order to get a run in. And the gym can have other equipment that’s nice to use once in a while. But that can get boring. Or, in my case, your gym can get super over crowded and have tons of broken treadmills that make it almost impossible to even find one to use. So, what my sister and I love to do is find other fun places to go for a walk or a run that gets us out of our boring gym routine and into the New York air (despite how dirty it may be at times.)

My current top 3 recommendations for outdoor places to run/walk are:

  • Chelsea Piers: This is super beautiful to run/walk at when it’s closer to sunset. The views are amazing and it’s less crowed than it would be in the daytime (plus a little cooler cause you get a nice breeze off the water). It’s a great path that’s safe and has tons of space so you don’t have to worry about getting stuck behind slow pedestrians. Highly, highly recommend. I love it here.
  • Maria Hernandez Park: This park has recently become one of our favorite places to walk or run. It was actually recommended to us by a friend that lives in our neighborhood. The setup is much like an outdoor track and even has markers to let you know that 1 lap= 1/3 mile, so that’s pretty cool. The part I enjoy the most is that it’s always full of people hanging out, playing sports on the basketball and volleyball courts, kids playing on playgrounds and tons of other runners. Definitely worth checking out if you live or work nearby.
  • Central Park: I haven’t had a chance to go for a run in Central Park but it doesn’t take much convincing that this is, no doubt, a beautiful park. And based on the countless movies and shows where people go for a run here, it’s a hit among all New Yorkers. I for sure can’t wait to get some miles in here and give my official feedback on it.

3. Turn everyday tasks into a workout

Carrying your groceries home, lugging laundry to the laundromat or even just walking a little farther to the next subway station can turn a mundane task into some form of exercise. We so often just skip the gym or say we’ll go tomorrow and feel guilty about it when instead, we can use everyday tasks as a way of burning calories. Again, make this something you do consciously but not to an extreme. Don’t ever force yourself beyond your physical limits just because you feel bad about not making it to the gym on a very busy Wednesday. Celebrate the victory of walking a few extra blocks to the train stop or carrying a few heavy bags of groceries home. I know for me, sometimes the constant pressure to swipe that little membership card weighs on me and I feel bad for not putting in effort. But in different ways, I am putting in the effort. And sometimes nontraditional forms of exercise can be so much more fun than walking on a treadmill and staring at a cement wall. So don’t discount the simple ways you can get in a workout when you’re just too busy to make it to the gym. Any effort (no matter how small) is better than no effort at all.

I hope this post gave you some ideas on how you’ll stay fit in NYC or any other big city. Feel free to share this with a friend, or leave me a comment and let me know your tricks on how you stay in shape. I’d love to hear them!

Thanks for reading!

5 Things to Never Leave Your Apartment Without

When you move from a small town in upstate New York to one of the biggest cities in the world, you have no choice but to learn fairly quickly,immediately, how to survive in such a place. It didn’t take me long to figure out what I absolutely could not leave my apartment without unless I was wishing ill will upon myself. So here’s the 5 things I never leave without, no matter how heavy my bag may get. Trust me, your shoulder may ache, but your little NY heart will thank you.

#1- Umbrella

I can’t tell you how many times (ok, I will tell you. Literally EVERY time) I’ve looked at the weather, saw that there was no rain in the forecast, and left my umbrella sitting on the shelf in my closet. New York does this funny thing where it just decides to be unpredictable and a day that is meant to be sunny and 89, can turn into a rainy mess within an hour. And that hour always happens to be the one where I need to walk home from the train station. In order to avoid taking an unwanted outdoor shower, I carry my umbrella with me everyday. I don’t care if there’s not a cloud in sight, that baby is going in my bag. Plus, here in New York we’re weird and we use our umbrellas not only when it rains, but when it’s too sunny, too windy, or even when it’s snowing. So toss it in there, it can’t hurt to be prepared.

#2- Your Metrocard

If you’re like me and you’re poor af, you don’t have money to drop on cabs or Uber everyday. So you take the subway, which requires that good ol’ Metrocard we know and love. That dumb, flimsy piece of yellow and blue laminated paper (or whatever it’s made of, I have no idea) is your lifeline. Nothing is more annoying than realizing halfway to the train that you forgot it, or even worse, getting all the way there and having to stand in a long ass line to get a single ride ticket or a new Metrocard. Not to mention the $1 fee for the new card and then whatever amount you need to add after that. Save yourself the trouble and choose a safe place to always keep it. After you swipe it through, make sure it goes right back to where it was (I keep mine in it’s own slot in my wallet. Don’t just throw it in your bag. That just increases your chances of losing it).

#3- GUM (or some kind of breath freshener)

You never know who you’ll meet on the streets of New York; a celebrity, your boss, a future partner, or maybe someone who’s skeptical of the dental hygiene of New Yorkers. Keeping gum or any kind of breath freshener with you assures that if by some chance you meet someone worthy of conversation, they won’t smell that Chipotle rice bowl you just had for lunch. ‘Nuff said on that subject.

*Pro-tip: One of the most long lasting flavors of gum is Trident. I learned this from a friend at work and after my own testing, found it to be pretty damn true.

#4- Your favorite pair of headphones

Mine happen to be the plain Apple headphones you get with a new IPhone. I’ve added some Earhoox to mine because it helps keep them in place while I run. For some reason my ears just don’t hold earbuds as well as other peoples’. Headphones can make or break it for you in the city because we do a lot of waiting around. Waiting in lines, waiting for trains, sitting/ standing on trains, trust me, it gets boring. Most of us listen to music or podcasts while we do this waiting. Plus it’s also helpful to talk on the phone to people with them, so grab a pair that has a microphone. When your hands are full, it’s much easier to talk hands free than with a phone shoved up to your face. Oh and the best part about headphones is that they’re the universal sign for “Don’t talk to me” or “I’m not hearing a word you’re saying”.

Buy the Earhoox here, I love mine: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01MXMTELG/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

#5- A positive attitude

Okay, okay, I know I’m getting a little cliché here, but this is just as important as the other four things. New York is a busy place and you can’t let little hang ups ruin your day. So always leave with a positive attitude in order to make it in the Big Apple. Sometimes things can get a little hectic or overwhelming, I admit to letting stress get to me once in a while. But we have to step back and look at the bigger picture sometimes. I’m living in an amazing city, one that I’ve dreamed of living in for so long. At the end of the day, I get to see things some people will only ever see in photographs. I get to walk these streets and call them home. So chill, just take in the sights and the experiences. They are what shape us as people, after all.