Double Vision. One Focus.

 

 

“On 4/3/15 I woke up like the picture on the left. I’d had a stroke in my sleep which caused a palsy in the 3rd nerve of my brain, causing my right eye to swing out. I saw two of everything and could only see straight if I closed one eye. It’s taken over a year and a half, 3 surgeries, an ocean of tears, and the desperate need to regain my life to get ME back. I took the pic on the right just after taking my new SoulCycle instructor photos — hence the incredible and very fake lashes. I never imagined having the courage to share the ‘before’ pic, but think it’s important to recognize and celebrate the journey, no matter how painful. Unlike so many stories, this one has a happy ending, one that will hopefully inspire determination and hope!”

-Emma Zaks, Facebook post, November 18, 2016

This is the story of Emma Zaks, a bubbly, energetic, and very popular SoulCycle instructor. Those who ride with Emma watched this healthy and fit 33-year old woman go through an unimaginable two-year journey — becoming increasingly ill with debilitating symptoms, both gastro-intestinal and neurological, that ultimately resulted in a stroke.

On and off the SoulCycle schedule at first, Emma began subbing out her classes for other instructors. Then followed a long absence. She would later return to teach — a patch on one eye and face swollen from the steroids doctors had prescribed for devastating symptoms no one really could explain. An autoimmune disease of some sort was the rumor. As is her nature, Emma remained her upbeat self through it all, or so it appeared, never letting her riders see the pain and fear going on inside.

Luckily, this story has a happy ending. After her illness was finally diagnosed and treated, Emma started posting little bits of her journey on Facebook. So moved and overwhelmed by her strength and bravery, we asked her to tell us what happened from beginning to end. This is her story in her own words…. and her Facebook posts.
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The 31 Days of Fitness 2017!

 
ROW 1: CITY ROW; RUNNING; DANCEBODY; ROW 2: DOGPOUND; PURE YOGA; SWTICH PLAYGROUND; ROW 3: EXHALE CFX; RUMBLE; DEUCE GYM

 
Happy New Year everyone and welcome to The 31 Days of Fitness! Every January your editor embarks on a crazy adventure, and does a different workout or takes a different fitness class everyday all month long. My objective? To show our readers how many different exercise options are out there and that there are no excuses not to get in shape this 2017! The holidays have been fun but it’s time to get our butts back in gear as this new year begins. There is a workout for everyone out there — running, spinning, boxing, rowing, Crossfit, High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), pole dancing, yoga, pilates, and more — and I’m going to sample them all this month! I’m determined to find the workout for you — not just one you’ll do, but one you will actually enjoy!
 

January 31: BODY BY BOB. That’s it folks… the 31 Days of Fitness are officially a wrap! Back in NYC, we went out with a bang on Day 31, with a grand finale featuring none other than super trainer Bob Harper! Yes, “Biggest Loser” fans, THE Bob Harper, and let me tell you something… believe the hype! This guy gets star billing for a reason. He is a super motivator. Sampling some of the flavors of workouts I’ve done so far, with a few I hadn’t tasted yet, Bob whipped up an all-out, full-blast circuit of high intensity moves that kicked my butt after one round. Then he kept me going for 3 more rounds, coaching and inspiring me to drop my time too! Borrowing from Gymnastics, CrossFit, and HIIT workouts, the stations went from the Woodway Curve (cool to run on that self propelled treadmill again after Speedplay on Day 29); to Parallette Shoot Thrus (parallel bars on floor with leg swings to front and back); to the Schwinn Airdyne bike (told you it was back); to Thrusters (barbell squats with overhead press); to Sprawlers (burpees without the push-up); to Kettlebell swings.
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W.O.W! Working Out With Kelly Ripa

 
KELLY RIPA, SOS EDITOR CLAUDIA LEBENTHAL, STACEY GRIFFITH
 
PHOTOGRAPHS AND VIDEOS BY DEBBY HYMOWITZ

 
From daytime television to morning television, Kelly Ripa has been making her presence known on the airwaves since 1990. We first got to know her as Hayley Vaughan on ABC’s “All My Children”, before becoming the co-host of “Live with Regis and Kelly” in 2001. Now the solo host of “Live with Kelly”, Kelly Ripa has proven she’s a force to be reckoned with and not just on the small screen. Packed into a 5’3” frame, this media powerhouse is a whole lot of muscle and endless energy, all of which I’ve witnessed plenty while riding with her over the last few years at SoulCycle.

The bubbly personality we all know and love on television is balanced by a sarcastic wit that fellow riders at SoulCycle experience on a regular basis. There is no diva here; Kelly is just a fresh-faced, funny, and approachable spin mate who didn’t hesitate to say yes when I worked up the nerve to ask if she’d be on Style of Sport. Her only request was that she didn’t have to wear any makeup. ‘How cool’, I thought, ‘How real! How Alicia Keys!’ The daily application of makeup is one part of her job that she is happy to skip when not required.
 

CLICK IMAGE ABOVE TO WATCH US IN ACTION!

 
For this installment of “WOW: Working Out With”, Kelly and I “doubled” at SoulCycle with one of our favorite instructors, Stacey Griffith — a star in her own right whose book, Two Turns from Zero, comes out this March. Anyone who rides with Stacey knows we are a tight knit group. The “double” seems to be a phenomenon unique to SoulCycle where riders just can’t get enough, taking not just one, but two classes in a row.
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The XPT Experience

 

3 DAYS WITH GABBY REECE, LAIRD HAMILTON…

AND KERRI WALSH JENNINGS, TOO!

IT’S THIS SPORTY GIRL’S DREAM COME TRUE!

 

PHOTOGRAPHS & COLLAGES BY KEITH KING

Ever wonder what life is like for Gabrielle Reece and Laird Hamilton? Well, wonder no more. Gabby and Laird, along with Brian MacKenzie, a human performance specialist, have created The XPT Experience, a 3-day turbo-charged immersion into their lives. XPT stands for Extreme Performance Training and for $5000, you get full access to this trio and a roster of the most buzzed about – although you may not have heard about them yet — trainers, coaches, health and wellness experts. The XPT Experience is an action packed program of workouts, lectures, and playtime too, all of which comes from the cutting edge training, nutrition and recovery these professional athletes have integrated into their daily lives.
 

CLICK TO JOIN US IN GORGEOUS PUNTA MITA, MEXICO, APRIL 27-29! 

 
For those who don’t know this Amazonian beauty, Gabby Reece is a former professional beach volleyball player, model, best-selling author, mother, and world-renowned fitness personality, most recently seen as the host of NBC’s Strong. At 6’3 she is a towering presence, and at 47 years old, as gorgeous and fit as ever, enhanced by a big heart and generosity as large. Husband Laird Hamilton is the world famous big wave surfer, who at 53 defies age and gravity, riding massive walls of water for a living and inventing new water sports for the rest of us to enjoy. He is recognized as the creator of Stand Up Paddleboarding. His rock hard physique and hunky good looks are hard to ignore, along with an engaging stream of dialogue that questions many common assumptions on health and fitness, while offering alternative ways of thinking with the latest discoveries in human performance. Read More

 

Beach Bodies

 

JUST A FEW OF THE BEACHBODY AT HOME WORKOUTS: INSANITY, P90X, BRAZIL BUTT LIFT, FIXATE, 21 DAY FIX, FOCUS 25 AND CORE DE FORCE 

 
Whether or not you have actually bought the DVDs, chances are you’ve heard of Shaun T and “Insanity” or Tony Horton and “P90X”. The high energy infomercials on which they’ve been sold are undeniably captivating and have dominated the airwaves at those hours we all seem to be flipping around looking for something to watch. The infomercials and these workouts, as well as the before and after body transformations, have made superstars, or “Super Trainers”, out of these fitness personalities and earned the company that produces these workouts over $1 billion in sales.

Beachbody is the company behind these DVDs and many more, and producer of the most popular at home fitness and weight loss programming that also includes FOCUS T2521 Day FixBrazil Butt Lift, Fixate, and Hip Hop ABS, among others. P90X alone has sold approximately 7 million DVD copies since its inception. Beachbody On Demand launched in March of 2015, giving consumers unlimited streaming access to the entire library of workouts via their computers. Now available online is a wide variety of programs designed for those who want to lose weight, build muscle, learn to dance, start yoga, or simply eat healthier.

Included in the Beachbody On Demand programming there is also a reality show called The 20’s: The Search for the Next Beachbody Super Trainer. Hosted by one of the original reality TV stars, Dan Cortese, who many will remember from MTV Sports, a bunch of trainers are “picked to live in a house…work out together and have their lives taped…” Well, you know how the “Real World” tagline goes. The show pits a group of 10 hot bodied trainers against each other in competition to see who has what it takes to be the next fitness superstar. Viewers will decide the winner via online voting. At stake is a guaranteed product development contract, the chance to be the next Beachbody Super Trainer, and the opportunity to earn millions of dollars in royalties, bonuses and appearance fees.
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Super Sweets

 

 
As hard-charging athletes and hard-working editors, we are always on the quest at STYLE of SPORT for healthy, great-tasting energy snacks to keep us going while satisfying a bit of a sweet tooth too. From the most basic banana to an ice cream bar (yes, you heard right!), here are 9 of the favorite go-to treats that keep us fueled, happy and ready for action around here. Some are more nutritious than others, but if you’re going to indulge a craving here’s how to do it right!

TOP ROW: CLIF BAR NUT BUTTER FILLED. Clif Bars are this editor’s go to fuel before a long race, packed with nutritious whole-grain organic carbohydrates and available in a wide range of great tasting flavors like White Chocolate Macadamia Nut, Peanut Toffee Buzz and Oatmeal Raisin Walnut. New from Clif Bar are their Nut Butter Filled bars in delicious flavors like Coconut Almond Butter and Chocolate Hazlenut Butter. With 230 calories, 27 grams of carbohydrates, 7 grams of protein (depending on the flavor), and 11 grams of healthy fats (the monounsaturated kind that raise the good cholesterol, HDL, and lower the bad, LDL) these bars are new faves around here!

BANANA. Nature’s original snack bar, pre-packaged in a convenient skin for easy portablity, bananas are kind of the perfect food. Loaded with potassium, an essential mineral for cardiovascular health and endurance athletes in particular, and high in fiber, keeping their sugar content low on the glycemic scale for a steady source of energy, they are great tasting, easily digested, and very inexpensive too!

BROOKSIDE CHOCOLATE COVERED SNACKS. Let’s call these healthy Raisinettes and Goobers. As candy goes Brookside Chocolate Covered Snacks are not too bad for you. Available in a variety of different fruits and nuts, they come in single serve 180-210 calorie bags so you can’t overdo it. They are made with dark chocolate, which contains antioxidants and is lower in sugar than other chocolates, and other natural ingredients that when consumed in moderation are not such a big deal. If you’ve got a craving for chocolate, these are a satisfying way to go!
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W.O.W! Al Roker & Deborah Roberts

 

AL ROKER, YOUR EDITOR, AND DEBORAH ROBERTS AT CITYROW

Photography by @Imagista

Al Roker and Deborah Roberts are just like any married couple raising a family, except a little more high profile. He is the jovial weatherman known to more than 30 million viewers as one of the stars of the Today show; and she is the venerable ABC News journalist and 20/20 correspondent, regularly making her own appearances on morning television as a reporter for Good Morning America. With sixteen Emmy Awards between them, Al Roker and Deborah Roberts are the first couple of television news.

Been There, Done That: Family Wisdom For Modern Times by Al Roker and Deborah Roberts is the new book this powerhouse duo have co-authored. Presented in a back and forth, “he said, she said” format, with stories told by each, the book gives an inside look at their daily lives as a couple, as parents, and as a family — that off camera are not much different from our own. In a funny, heartfelt, and honest collection of personal anecdotes, Al and Deborah share the life lessons learned and wisdom gained facing the challenges of a busy professional couple, raising kids in New York City, while focusing on maintaining a successful relationship of their own.

With two distinctive personalities, what makes the book a fun read is Al and Deborah’s different ways of looking at the same thing. This holds true when it comes to fitness. They have opposite body types, and while Deborah, naturally slim, loves working out and running in Central Park, Al, now half the size he once was, will tell you “I hate it.” Regardless he gets it done at 4:45 every morning before he goes on air.
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Keep Calm & Meditate On

 

THE DEN

While you might consider meditation a discipline for only the deeply spiritual or those still stuck in the 70’s, it is now one of the hottest new wellness trends. Meditation studios have been popping up all over the country, many designed with the modern feel of a boutique fitness or yoga studio, and with a variety of class options. Chic, contemporary, and very zen, these drop-in studios offer a new spin on traditional meditation practices.

Tal Rabinowitz, founder and owner of LA’s newest drop-in meditation studio The DEN, started penciling meditation into her daily schedule as an NBC executive. She and several colleagues would try to block off time in their busy days to reflect and unwind. But she wasn’t satisfied, saying, “Sometimes it’s hard on your own. I wanted something better and something regular, before work or after work, kind of like exercise classes.”

That’s when she came up with The DEN. Rabinowitz’s studio is a beautifully designed multi-use space which she says embodies “exactly who I am.” She and her clients can not only take a class, but also lounge, relax and read with a cup of tea. The DEN is unique because of its variety of offerings and evoked feelings of “home.”

While the aesthetics may have changed, the benefits of meditation remain the same, and are perhaps more important than ever. Meditation is proven to reduce tension and anxiety; improve mood and focus; and boost energy and creativity. In this digital era in which we are always connected to the outside, meditation provides an opportunity to unplug and re-focus on the inside. Says Rabinowitz, “We’re all just craving a moment of balance.”

From NYC to LA, here are the new meditation studios that have got even the busiest learning to check out to check in:
 

MNDFL NYC

MNDFL

MNDFL is located in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village. MNDFL’s inventors, spiritual blogger Ellie Burrows and The Buddha Walks Into A Bar author Lodro Rinzler, dreamed of a non-traditional, non-religious space to meditate. The modern studio at MNDFL features exposed brick walls, large greenery and neutral-colored plush cushions. MNDFL offers drop in classes for 30 or 45 minutes of modern guided meditation. When you book your cushion, you chose from a “menu” of meditations catered to your mood or current state; for example, there is MNDFL Breath for relaxation, MNDFL Mamas for expecting mothers, or MNDFL Sleep for insomniacs. When classes aren’t taking place, the studio is open to the public for self-guided practice. 10 East 8th St, New York, NY. Photograph: Stephen Wilson

 
Unplug Meditation Center

UNPLUG 

Founded by Suze Yalof Schwartz, former executive fashion editor at Glamour magazine, LA-based UNPLUG was the first of its kind as a chic, boutique meditation studio. Clients can “drop-in” for 30 or 45-minute guided meditation classes, a format that the The New York Times described as “a Drybar for meditation” UNPLUG’s minimalist aesthetics make it a peaceful and uncluttered place to unwind. The classes focus on mindfulness, breath work, and imagination, and the “drop-in” style allows people to investigate the practice of meditation. UNPLUG offers crafted unique meditation programs for kids and corporate groups, too. 12401 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, Ca.
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