TRX:The Best Piece of Equipment in Your Gym


If you belong to a gym, then by now you have seen the TRX straps hanging around. You may also notice that the TRX station is almost always being utilized by the trainers and their clients. Simply put, the TRX suspension straps are one of the most effective and functional fitness tools to be developed in years. It allows the entire body to be trained without having to move from machine to machine. The TRX uses gravity and your body weight as resistance. Since you must control movement from an unstable position, you are building your core, flexibility, balance and, of course, strengthening the muscles you are focusing on.

Below are my top three, easy to master, TRX moves. However, if you are curious about the TRX and plan on adding it to your routine, I highly suggest you get at least one personal training session to really perfect the form. While the TRX is extremely safe, you should make sure you are doing it correctly to avoid injury.

TRX Squat row

The Squat and Wide Grip Row

What it works: Legs, Upper back, biceps and shoulders

Stand at angle to the anchor point, with your arms straight and your palms facing down. Your weight should be on your heels. In this picture, my legs are far apart, making it easier. Position your feet closer together if you are more advanced. Lower your butt towards your calves, then push through the heels while you row your arms back . Your elbows should be away from your body. Give your shoulder blades a light squeeze at the top of the motion.

 balance lunge2

The Single Leg Balance Lunge

What it works: Core stability and legs

Start by gripping the handles in a neutral grip (palms faced in). Before you try balancing, just perform a regular reverse lunge while holding onto the straps. Practice keeping your body centered and your knee over your ankle. If you are brand new to exercise and don’t have lower body strength, then this is where you should stay for the time being. Otherwise, perform a reverse lunge, but don’t allow your back foot to make contact with the floor.

 TRX push up

Suspended Chest Press

What it works: Shoulders, chest, triceps and core

Get in a standing push up position with your hands holding onto the straps at chest height. Beginners should have their feet close to where the hands are holding on to the handles, while more advanced people can walk their feet back. As if you were doing a push up, lower your chest towards your hands. Press back up to start. Make sure your core is engaged. If the straps are rubbing against your arms, you can position your hands a bit higher.

For each exercise, perform anywhere from 10-20 reps, depending on your fitness level. Once you master these basic moves, I suggest moving through them quickly to get your heart rate up. Why not burn a few calories while you work on strength?

You can check out the entire TRX flow by going here: TRX Workout

New Finds in the Fridge: Fancy Yogurt and Chia Seeds

As if we needed more options in the yogurt section of the supermarket, there have been a few new products added to the shelves. Yogurt is such a great snack for either pre or post workout. It has carbohydrates to fuel your body before you exercise and protein to build muscles afterward. Are these new products worthy of being added to the snack rotation? Here’s the rundown:

Siggi’s Yogurt


I really wanted to try this stuff after it came highly recommended by one of my clients. Siggi’s is Icelandic strained non-fat yogurt that you can find in organic markets, since the milk they use is hormone free. I’ve also seen it at Gristedes and Fairway. But at $2.50 for a five ounce container, I was hesitant to buy it. What if I loved the stuff? Then I’m stuck buying pricey yogurt for the rest of my life. Well unfortunately for my wallet (but fortunately for my taste buds!) this yogurt rocks. It’s super thick and creamy, has 110 calories and just 11 grams of sugar. It also packs 14 grams of protein so it is really filling. The good news is that it’s often on sale at Fairway. Also, the company sweetly sent me coupons after I raved about them on Twitter. Now if I can just build up the nerve to use them in an NYC supermarket. It’s intimidating to use coupons here. I don’t know why.

Chia Pod

Chia Pod

Gross. Don’t get me wrong, I love chia seeds and chia pudding. I make it myself with almond milk (simple recipe below) and I’ve gotten it at Organic Avenue to the tune of $8.00 a jar. So I was excited to see that Chia pudding had hit the main stream and was making an appearance at the grocery store. Nowadays, everyone is touting chia seeds as a “super food” because they are rich in Omega 3 fatty acids and because of their high fiber content. I could (and probably will) write an entire blog about the wonderful chia seed. Alas, the Chia Pod is pretty vile. I like the texture, but the flavor is off-putting. I tried mango. Maybe if you try a different flavor, you will have a better experience. Anything’s possible. If you want to give it a try, it’s about $2.60 for a six ounce container and comes in a few flavors. A serving is 149 calories, 9 grams of fat, 3 grams of protein and 11 grams of sugar. Good luck with that.

Powerful Yogurt

PYogurt 1

The yogurt for men. The label has a bull on one side and a picture of a man’s abs on the other, so you know it’s serious and for DUDES ONLY. After studying the label, the main difference between this and any other yogurt is that there are 20 grams of protein instead of 17 grams in Greek yogurt, or 14 grams in the aforementioned Siggi’s. There are also 21 grams of sugar in this bad boy! To put that in perspective, there are only 11 grams of sugar in a serving of Entemann’s cookies (don’t ask me how I know this, I just do, OK??) Powerful Yogurt tastes similar to Dannons, so there is nothing special taste-wise. I guess all that sugar must be expensive, because it’s a dollar more than Fage Greek yogurt. If I were a man, I’d save my money and just eat the “girly” stuff.

If you’ve got any special grocery store snack finds, please let me know!

Chia Pudding

1/4 cup chia seeds

2/3 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or water)

1 tsp vanilla extract.

1 tsp or to taste of maple syrup or any sweetener you like

Don’t listen to the interwebs when they tell you not to use a blender when making your chia pudding. You absolutely should blend this mixture in a blender (gently and just for a few seconds) and place mixture in a mason jar. Put in fridge. After about 10 minutes, give the jar a vigorous shake. Otherwise your chia seeds will clump. Still edible, but weird. Let it sit overnight for an awesome breakfast or snack. Add a small amount of granola or slivered almonds for texture.

Sober September, It’s Happening

No AlcoholSeptember is here.  People go back to work, kids go back to school and everyone gets the almost New Years-type feeling that now is the time to get serious about health and weight loss.

Sober September is a month long “detox” I am encouraging my clients to do to get them back on track after a summer of vacations, traveling and BBQ’s. It’s simple: abstain from alcohol and eat only healthy foods for the entire month of September. That’s it. Well, actually there are a few rules of Sober September. Follow them, and you will be looking and feeling your best by October 1st.

Rule #1 Talk about Sober September. You must tell the people close to you that you are doing this. Otherwise, who will hold you accountable when you are faced with a drink or a cheeseburger?

Rule #2 Measure yourself on day one of SS, which is actually Tuesday, Sept 3rd, or at the very least, within the first week of September. Take a waist and hip measurement, and weigh yourself if you have a scale. Repeat on Sept 30th. You can also go by how your clothes feel, but I like to be exact about these things.

Rule #3 No cheating. Under normal circumstances, I do recommend a moderate cheat day once a week. But this is Sober September! So for the next four weeks you must eat clean and abstain for the whole month. If you do cheat, you MUST own up to it. My clients know that they have to admit to any indiscretions. Accountability is key!

I will however, permit wine on the Jewish Holidays. My people have got to have their wine for the New Year!

Rule #4 Exercise. Make it a point to do at least two, 30 minute sessions a week of any weight bearing exercise and 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity, like brisk walking. If you like vigorous activities like running or spinning, then you only need 75 minutes. These are CDC recommendations. You can read more about them here:

Going to give Sober September a try? I want to know about! Please leave a comment below or email me at [email protected] to opt in. I will check on you throughout the month.


The Anywhere, Anytime Workout!

Photo 1

 I love the gym. But sometimes it’s just too nice outside to be indoors. Other times, I have space to fill between my clients. Then there are the occasions when I like to tack on a little mixed body training after a run. Whatever the reason, resistance training does not have to be confined to a gym. You can get a good sweat and have fun outside, without any equipment. Check out my bench workout and give it a try for a high rep, endurance boosting circuit. Repeat for at least 3 sets or as many as you can do for 30 minutes.


10-15 reps

Place your hands a little wider than shoulder distance on the seat of the bench. Get your body into a plank position. Lower yourself towards the bench and press back up to the start position. This is perfect for a beginner as the bench modification makes a regular push-up easier to do. If you are advanced, why don’t you go ahead and do 20-25 reps.

Push up BYB


 Step Ups

20 reps total or 60 seconds

Place your right foot on the bench. Step up and place your left foot on the bench. Step down with your right foot, leaving your left on the seat. Repeat this process with the left and keep going. I like to add a little hop as I switch feet, which is a great idea if you are a runner, as it mimics the movement pattern of running and will enhance your training.

Step up BYB



10-20 reps

Sit on the bench with your hands holding on to the end with your fingers pointed forward. Lift your butt and shift your body a few inches away from the bench. Keeping your elbows tracking straight back, lower your body toward the ground. Pause when you make a 90 degree angle with your elbows. Push back up to the first position. Beginners can bend their knees to make it easier.

Dips BYB


Plyo Jumps (See picture at the top of this post)

10-20 reps

Box jumps, or in this case, bench jumps, help develop explosive power. But they are challenging and should not be anyone’s starter exercise. If you’ve never done anything like this, start with just a basic squat jump or even just squats. Otherwise, if you have a bit of experience with these, start in a quarter squat position, facing the bench. Using your hips and arms, push your feet off the ground to propel yourself onto the bench. Your goal is to land as quietly as possible. Step down and repeat.

Take a look at the entire sequence inthis seven second video by clicking this link:  Blitz Your Body Bench Workout or check me out on Vine (AmyBlitz1), where I have posted this workout and more.

You are NOT Beyonce: The Truth About Cleanse Diets

As the summer winds down, you may be thinking of ways to cleanse yourself of all the vacation food, happy hours and spontaneous ice cream runs that you enjoyed this season. As a trainer, I am always asked about the merits of cleanse diets and detoxes for weight loss and health.

The BluePrint cleanse is hot right now, with it’s options of what type of detox you want.

Hmmm, do I want to Renovate or Excavate? Decisions, decisions.  

After 3 days of this, your wallet will weigh about $200 less

After 3 days of this, your wallet will weigh about $200 less

Unbelievably, the Master Cleanse is still out there, despite the fact that it’s just lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne pepper. Beyonce famously did this one to get in shape for Dream Girls. 


Makes my mouth water just thinking about it

Makes my mouth water just thinking about it

Here’s the deal: a liquid diet will only slow your metabolism, and make you lose muscle and water. So yes, the pounds on the scale will drop, but not because of any great fat loss. Your liver (the organ responsible for really detoxing your body) actually needs protein to do its job. So a week of only drinking juices will only make your body MORE TOXIC as the liver will not be able to do its job properly. Finally ask yourself, have you ever met anyone, EVER, who has kept off the weight they lost during a cleanse? In fact, most people within a few months of being off the cleanse gain back more fat than they had before the cleanse.

I get it, you need structure, a plan, a “jump start” to your healthy new lifestyle. I think that cleanses do help people psychologically get amped up to get healthy. But instead of the cleanse, make your own 10 day detox plan: stay out of the bars and restaurants. Cook your own meals that consist of good protein, veggies, and whole grains. Eat a little bit of fruit and drink a ton of water with lemon. Stay away from processed stuff. After the 10 days, assess how you feel and ask yourself if you can go another 10. Unless you are Beyonce and need to be a size 0 in 3 days, there is no reason to starve yourself.

If you like this post, please feel free to share or leave me a comment.

The Smith Machine: It’s Not Just for Bench Presses!

I love changing up my workout by incorporating the Smith machine once in a while.The Smith is a popular machine at the gym that most people use to work the chest and shoulders. It has a barbell fixed to a rack with a counter balance cable system. That cable system allows you to increase weight on certain exercises safely without a spotter. But Mr. Smith is a popular guy, so if you like to work out circuit-style (which I most certainly do) then you can easily loose your place while you jump over to a different exercise. So, I created a three exercise sequence that uses the Smith machine, so that you can work in a circuit (hello, calorie burn!), and not lose your place.

The Circuit

8-12 reps of each for at least 3 sets. Or if you really want to be a machine-hog, go for AMSAP, As Many Sets As Possible

Smith machine inverted pull up

Chest press

Reverse crunch of bench

Make sure you warm up and that the warm up includes push ups!

1.  The Inverted Pull up

This is my favorite because it strengthens the muscles of the back and can be easily modified for any fitness level. You’re going to have to push the bench over to the side. Set the bar to about hip height. Position your body under the bar, with your hands positioned slightly wider than shoulder distance. Your hands can either face you, or face away. Either way, it’s all go

od. You should do both if you can. If you are intermediate or advanced, get into an inverted plank position with only your heels touching the floor.  Beginners will reap the

benefit of the exercise by having their feet flat on the floor with knees bent. From that start position, pull yourself toward the bar until it touches your chest (or as close as you can get). Lower down with control and repeat.

Inverted pullup

2. The “bench press”


Please note: I prefer push ups and dumb bell presses to work the chest. Those exercises utilize more stabilizing muscles and are a lot more functional. BUT this IS the Smith machine workout so

The Smith “Bench”  is not a true bench press, but is a pretty good substitution. Get the bench back into position in the center of the bar. Put the bar in a place so that when you lay on the bench, you can easily pop it out of the safety. Load the bar with your desired weight. Laying on the bench, position your body so that the bar is over your chest, and place your hands a bit wider than shoulder width apart. Unlock the bar and hold it in place with your arms extended. As you inhale, slowly lower the bar to your chest. Pause, then exhale as you press up to the first position (arms fully extended). The pause is important, as it ensures you are not using momentum.

3. Reverse Crunch on the Bench

You’ll have to lift the bar high for this so that it doesn’t get in your way. Or you can just push the bench back a bit. With your back flat against the bench, grasp the top of it with both hands. Bend your knees to 90 degrees and lift your feet and hips to your chest. With control, and without letting your spine lift off the bench, lower  the hips back down towards the bench. Start the next rep right before your hips touch the bench.

Keep your spine is neutral against the bench as you lower your legs!

Beginners, you can bend your knees to make this easier

Take a brief rest between sets. Don’t forget to let me know how it goes!

A Day in the Park

Yesterday was perfect weather for a run. BUT, I’m trying to limit my running days to just three a week, and Saturday I ran down Park Ave for Summer Streets. Hmmm…what to do? Wait! I have a TRX! And I know how to use it! So I grabbed my gear and headed over to the chin-up bars near W. 85th.

Amy Blog Walking

Wow, was I glad I did! The chin up bar area also has picnic tables and swings, and is a common place to workout. There were a few other guys there doing  exercises and I definitely had to stop and stare. Talk about using your environment and body weight as a “gym”. These guys were repurposing everything around them. Picnic table box jumps, modified back rows with the baby swings, it was really quite impressive. Definitely gave me some ideas for my next park work out. Finally, I saw this guy pick up the picnic table and use the weight for shoulder presses.

AmyBlog Table Life

Thank you, mystery man, for letting me take your photo!

But the best part of the morning was my work out session with Kevin Bacon. Yes, Kevin and I did chin-ups together…well, maybe just one set. I was already done with my workout and about to pack up when Mr. Bacon stops by looking all incognito in his hat and sunglasses and starts doing some chin-ups. Well…maybe I can squeeze out a few more reps and stick around a little longer. Here’s how it went down:

Me: Excuse me?
Kevin Bacon: (just gives a look)
Me: May I jump in and do some chin-ups?
Kevin Bacon: (politely) Yeah, yeah. Sure
Me: Thank you. (proceeds to do pathetic chin-ups due to fatigue)



Amy Blog Kevin Bacon

I feel a little guilty about taking this sneaky photo.

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My first blog post!

Hi friends! I’ve created this blog to share my experience as a personal trainer living and working in NYC, a crazy city where sometimes  just getting from your apartment to your office feels like a workout. I’ll be talking about my favorite exercises, healthy food, fit tips and more. I will also share my own personal work outs and experiences as I try to balance a healthy lifestyle with all that New York has to offer. Please subscribe or leave me a comment.

Here’s a great pic a client took of me to celebrate “Leg Day”. Hey, that’s New York City in the background!Leg Day is the best day