Workout after the (AHHHHHHH!) Fall.

During my last post,  I mentioned that one of the ways I get in some work, if not a complete workout is by carrying my 2 year old 20 lb daughter around the streets and subways of NYC rather than strolling her. The ERGO carrier centers the weight around your hips and thighs, the largest and strongest muscles of the body, and keeps the pressure off the shoulders and upper back. Mostly, I feel comfortable, feel the work, and get to chat with her while we walk around. It’s pretty fun, usually…until last week as I was stepping off a curb, I fell off my very comfortable Dansko clogs and into the street. I went DOWN, hard, while my baby was strapped to me. A mother’s instinct is pretty good, I fell on my right knee and hand, bruising both up quite effectively. My daughter received only a scrape on her finger and a good scare. We both sobbed for awhile, emoting all over the street. It was pretty scary.

Cut to two days later, and I’m in the fitness center at my normal Saturday time, trying to figure out what to do with a purple, yellow and grey knee and sore hand. My Squats and lunges are out of the question! This time I have 20 minutes before my son’s swim lesson, and 25 minutes after I drop him off to get in a workout, thanks to the 14th Street Y’s babysitting program.   Here’s what I did this week.

Elliptical: 20 minutes.
I set the level up to 30, whereas I usually only do 25 max. I didn’t use the arm motion at all ( the bruise on my hand made that hurt a lot) and instead used the stronger resistance of the elliptical to really work the glutes and legs. I concentrated on that pilates scoop (bring the abs in and ‘tuck’ them under the ribcage), and also on clenching any muscles I could to get as much bang for the buck as possible. This was pretty hard, but easy on my knee.  Yay.

(run upstairs to babysitting, grab and change son into swimming attire, drop him to swimming lesson.)


Magic Ring ‘push ups’:I start with the ‘magic ring’, or pilates circle. I place it against the wall and do a push up against the wall. The key is to keep the circle at chest level, keep the body very straight (no sagging in at the lower back), use that pilates scoop, and keep the ring as circular as you can. This gets the pectorals, upper back, triceps and biceps. Very effective.

Stomach series:
This is a series of 5 exercises that really targets every abdominal muscle you have. I could explain, but it’s much better to watch it here. Good Stuff!

I decide to spend the last 10 minutes stretching. I do some Yoga poses, like downward dog, and child’s pose. I am careful with my knee!

Downward dog and child’s pose stretch hamstrings, back, glutes, and feel very restful. It’s a powerful way to end a workout and still feel focused and relaxed. This is good, because my son and I have a lunch and park date. It is Saturday, after all!

Camille Diamond is the Director of Community Engagement and Communications at the 14th Street Y.

The Working Mom’s Workout

I am a Mom who works 14 hours a day when you include getting the kids ready, taking them to school, going to work, picking up the kids, making dinner, giving baths and getting them to sleep. I used to be a personal trainer. I used to not buy excuses from my clients who claimed they didn’t have time to work out. Now, 7 years later, I believe them. Did I mention that I’m basically working 14 hours per day?

Despite this, health and wellness is actually very important to me. I do crazy things like walk my son to school while wearing my 2 year old daughter in an ERGO baby carrier rather than stroll her. I do lunges while my kids are in the bathtub. And once a week, I get about a half hour for a gym workout.

This is how I do it: My 5 year old son has a 30 minute swim lesson every Saturday at the 14th Street Y in New York City. By the time I drop him off for the lesson, I have 25 minutes all to myself. For some, this would be a joke workout. 25 minutes wouldn’t even cover their cardio, and I admit that I used to be one of those pre-kid. It’s also true that 25 minutes won’t give you the kind of solid workout that an hour or more will do for you. However, each week I try to maximize my workout time by doing things in a specific way. Here’s what I did this week:

10 minutes. I warm up, break a sweat, and get my heart rate up to 170.

I sprint to 10 lbs free weights for Standing Squats. I tighten up my glutes and pull in my abs into a pilates scoop (pull the abs in and tuck them under my ribcage for the full effect). 1 set of 15, then 20 tiny pulses in the low squat position. I repeat this 3 times.

Using the large muscles of the glutes and quadriceps keeps my heart rate up and gives the cardio effect, while building (or at least maintaining) the muscle mass in those areas that, as a friend of mine described “keep my a** off my thighs”.

Next are lunges with bicep curls and triceps press, holding a 5 lb weight. Here’s how it goes: The lunge is standing with my back leg on the ball of my foot. I lunge as low as I can, pressing my arms back for the triceps, and into the curl as I rise from the lunge. I do this as many times as my legs can stand it, and then I switch sides.
My heart rate is still up, but not at the 170 it was when I started the squats and lunges. I can now move to chest and shoulders.
Chest and Shoulder presses with a plie’:   Feet apart a little more than Shoulder width. Pull in the abs to the pilates scoop, and as I plie’ down I raise my arms laterally to the shoulders. As I raise up from the plie’, I tighten my inner thighs as if I’m trying to pull my feet together. At the same time, I press my arms together at chest level, activating the pectoral muscles. I go down into the plie again, bring the arms down. As I come up, I bring the arms up vertically, and then down into the plie bringing the arms out again. I repeat this as many times as I can stand it.

Cool down:
Run to the pool and pick up my son before he can accuse me of not being there when the lesson is over. My favorite 5 year old guilt trip: “MOM! When someone’s lesson is over you need to be there!” While he showers and changes, I stretch out my legs, shoulders, chest and back. You can do a lot standing up in the humidity of the locker room!

I remember the days when the only guilt I felt post exercise was maybe that I didn’t do enough. This time, I know I’ve done as much as I possibly can, in every way.

-Camille Diamond is the Director of Community Engagement and Communications at the 14th Street Y.

Welcome from Camille

When I first moved to New York City in 2000, I shared a one bedroom on 23rd and 3rd with a friend I’d met doing a church basement performance of “The Importance of Being Earnest.”  That sounds like about 80% of the young females who move to New York from the Midwest and, like them, I was eager to be a part of the city and find my place here.  Although I was actively auditioning, I also was armed with a certification in fitness and could pay the bills by teaching group exercise classes.

After evaluating how much I had saved to live on in this big city, I pulled out the yellow pages to see where I might be able to teach some fitness classes nearby.  For some reason, this funny little name stuck out:  “The Sol Goldman Y of the Educational Alliance”.  I called.

I spoke to someone.  I was hired.  I taught two classes a week to some fabulous women (and a few men)  many of whom are still taking those classes today.

That was 10 years ago.  As I got more disillusioned with my place in the theatre world, I became more involved with the east village neighborhood and the 14th Street Y (Sol Goldman became the 14th Street Y in 2004). I grew up here as the neighborhood changed. Eventually, I grew into my place as Director of Membership and Community Relations and thought it would be a really great idea to start our 14th Street Y blog.

It’s been a pleasure and a privilege to see the neighborhood change and the Y grow.  What we really want to do with this blog is reflect this neighborhood, this community, this special intersection in New York City where the funk of the east village mixes with the families in progressive schools, the New Parents looking for a wise sage (we’ve got that), The college students, the Teens, the Seniors, and the Young Single Adults looking to be a part of the city and find their place here.

14th and 1st

It’s not a blog until it’s got a reader.  Welcome!

Off-Off Broadway at the Y?


It may seem hard to believe, but while you are sweating through your workout downstairs, right above your head on the second floor edgy, contemporary theater is taking place almost nightly in our 14th Street Y Theatre.

Off-Off Broadway theater, or “indie” theater, is a movement taking place in spaces throughout New York that have fewer than 99 seats.   According to the New York Innovative Theatre Awards, Off-Off Broadway has over 500 theatre companies producing up to 2000 shows a year, with about 40,000 artists participating.

Take the current show in our theater- A Shot Away: Personal Accounts of Military Sexual Trauma, presented by the Red Fern Theatre CompanyA Shot Away is “a docu-drama about sexual assault in the US military; based entirely on interviews with American soldiers who have been sexually assaulted by their “fellow” soldiers.” It has received terrific reviews from top off-off Broadway theater reviewers. Not exactly subject matter you would expect to explore just a few feet away from our preschool art room. The next show, Fairy Tale, is a gender-bending spin on Sleeping Beauty.

For about half of the year, our theatre is rented by indie shows such as these for three week slots.  With our ongoing renovations in the space, we are becoming a premier downtown venue for dance, theater, and music.

Check the slide show in the lobby for info on our current shows, and climb the stairs sometime to the second floor.

For more information on the 14th Street Y Theatre, contact Becky at