And the SILVER Goes To…

You may have heard a few things about the 14th Street Y’s commitment to GREEN

One of our favorite organizations is Lower East Side Ecology Center.  We’ve learned a lot from them in the last few years about composting, greening, products and habits to make the Y a better, more eco-friendly place.  Recently, we worked with EcoBiz NYC, a program of Lower East Side Ecology.  Besides just being generally great people to know and to work with, they conducted a survey of our building so we could better know where we stand in our attempts to green our building, and how we can continue to grow in this area.

Eco Biz has a rating system that goes from participation to platinum.  We were delighted to learn that we earned SILVER from EcoBiz, and that we’re just a few points away from achieving GOLD!  EcoBiz also showed us some surprisingly simple and inexpensive ways to get there.

Thank you, EcoBiz!

The BUFF BRIDE’S Trainer

Today our blog features an interview with Jordan Forth, our BUFF BRIDE’s Personal Trainer.  Christen, our Buff Bride has been working with Jordan since March and getting into the best shape of her life for her Fall ’12 wedding.  Christen has been consistently working out in our fitness center with Jordan for  Strength training workouts, combining this with Evening Yoga classes and gym workouts on her own.

The Y:   Hi Jordan, thanks so much for meeting with us today.  To start, we’d like to know how have the workouts have affected her progress?

Jordan:  People when they work out, or in life, tend to play to their strengths.  As a trainer,  I’m someone who motivates her through the things she doesn’t like as much. Consistency with a trainer especially,  always affects the progress, as opposed to her working out on her own.  When you’re with a trainer, you don’t have to think about what you’re doing, someone else does that for you.  And you also have someone who can motivate you, which has a huge impact on progress.  In fact, I always tell people to work out with a partner or with a team, because it keeps you accountable to someone.

The Y:   And takes them to the next level?

Jordan:  Exactly!  It’s very  motivating.  Even me, I’ve been working out since I was about 12 years old.  And if I’m working out with someone else, or a team, I’m always going to push it that much more, not only for myself but for the people who I’m with.  As far as a trainer is concerned, people will push it that much more because they have someone to do it for.

The Y:  Christen’s workouts went for the mix of the strength and endurance workouts combined with Yoga.  How have they complimented one another and affected her progress?

Jordan:   Yoga is great.  I do it and have done it for 13 years.  Flexibility is essential, along with strength, cardio and endurance, those are the keys to fitness.  With most people there are specific things where they need flexibility.  In general, one has to be careful about hyper flexibility, and putting joints at risk by creating hyper flexibility where you don’t need it.  As I mentioned, People work towards their strengths. Christen has done really well balancing the flexibility training from Yoga with the Strength and muscular endurance training with me.   Christen has also been working around her busy schedule.  She’s got a great career, she travels a lot, and she works out when she can and what works with her life.  She needs to reduce stress as much as she needs to build strength, and the yoga and cardio training she’s done outside of the workouts with me have been great for her.

One other thing about Yoga is that it also balances your nervous system, you connect with breathing, focus on body awareness, body mind connection.  Yoga and Strength complement each other tremendously for that.

 Pictured:  Jordan and Christen stretch using the fitness ball, activating core muscles while stretching the legs.

The Y:    How about nutrition and food?    Is that something you talk about?   Is there more of a craving for certain kinds of foods by working out this hard?

Jordan:   For sure, that’s always going to be the case.  The more intense your workouts, the more you’re zapping your body of glycogen stores in your organs and muscles. We have a tendency to crave carbs, which is fantastic but you want to do healthy fuel, less processed, more whole grains and foods.  We talk about nutrition some and use My Fit Pal.  When you live in New York and work in a tough industry, it’s tough to prepare healthy food from whole ingredients.  Overall, we want to have food that is the least processed.

The Y:   Any thoughts from you about what it’s like in general to work with one person and see the change?

Jordan:   Generally, in life and in training, What you get in is what you get out.  Hands down, no matter what you do.  Trainers are a medium, and  a trainer can only encourage you and provide you with the information and motivation needed to guide you through.  Sometimes a trainer’s work can be frustrating because the client isn’t putting in the work, and not getting the results that they want.  But when they Do put in that work, and they do get the results, I’m ecstatic the rest of the day.  It’s only frustrating when I want it more for the person than they do.  When I see someone who’s gung ho and dedicated, it makes me smile and excited in general.  That’s huge for me.  Being able to help people move better–When it boils down, that is why I do this.  I want help people move better.  The more they can do that, the more they can move through life’s challenges.

For more information about Personal Training at the Y, contact  Information is also available on our website.

Sustainable Summer

As you probably know, the Y has made a lot of changes in the last few years to increase our awareness of our carbon footprint and become a more sustainable place.  To name a few, our catalogs are printed on 100% recycled FSC certified paper with soy based inks, we put renewed energy into our recycling program to make sure you can recycle cans, bottles, paper and food in our building, we have a CSA that anyone can join, and our Afterschool program began composting their snack cups and leftovers.

Summer is one of our favorite times because it’s the growing season!  If you haven’t joined a CSA like ours, (mountain view farms provide shareholders with fresh veggies right from the fields every week), be sure and take advantage of the rich and varied farmers markets in our city.  In our neighborhood alone we have so many options!  It’s a great way to not only support local farmers but to also acquaint yourself with what’s fresh right now.   When you know what is available locally and seasonally you’re more likely to enjoy the freshness of what you’re eating.  It also helps us understand better what it takes for non-local, non-seasonal food to get to us.  For starters…lots of gasoline!

Here’s a few pictures of how the Y is helping our community eat sustainably this summer.  Take advantage while you can!

These blueberries are part of the SUSTAINABLE SNACK that our New Country Day Campers get to eat.  Fresh fruit from a local farm!

Here’s a picture of the CSA share from last week.  What would you cook with these fresh vegetables?  They come with recipes to show you how! 



It’s  the  first week of Summer Camp at the 14th Street Y!

At the Y, we’re very proud of our three award winning camps.  Our Toddler camps began on Monday, and it’s already been an amazing week.  On Thursday, both New Town Day Camp (ages 3.5-5) and New Country Day Camp (K-8th grade) begin.

All of our  camps fill summer days with sun, water play, new friends, activity and memories that last a lifetime- from the first class without a caregiver to the first ride to big kid camp on bus.

We can’t wait to hear more about it, and we’ll be sharing their stories here!


WHAT WE FIND THERE Reflections from Scholars and Others By Karen Loew


The question of what features make a city fit for a scholar prods us all to think about what we need or want in our city, our neighborhood, even our community center. What makes a place fit for me?

Related to another LABA project about the busy intersection at the Y’s front door – a short documentary called “Intersection: Babel” – we asked a variety of Y-goers how they feel about this urban crossroads. Taking off from the Baylonian Talmud text, we extrapolated: Does this intersection provide what it should? What about the surrounding neighborhood?

Some people (especially those under age 8) had less to say about the intersection, but were eager to talk about the Y. And Roberta Mendelson was born two blocks away, but chose to sing the praises of all of New York City.

Tractate Sanhedrin Folio 17b reads, “It has been taught: A scholar should not reside in a city where the following ten things are not found…” This frame elevates our petty likes and dislikes. People have needs, and different kinds of people – whether scholars, children, athletes or elders – have different needs.

I need beauty, love and fellow-feeling. The intersection of 14th Street and First Avenue is not the best place to look for it!

Keyanna McBryde, 8 From Baychester, Bronx At the Y: I’m in the afterschool program

What do you think about the intersection? There’s a lot of busy stuff, a lot of stores, a lot of places to buy stuff, like Dunkin’ Donuts. Usually when we’re walking, we see the Icee truck, and the ice cream.

Do you ever get to buy that stuff? Not really. Only with my mom.

What’s your favorite? Vanilla with sprinkles. From the ice cream truck.

Have you noticed homeless people? Yeah. They have boxes… sometimes people will donate to them and give them money. It’s kind of sad.

What do you like about coming here after school? They have cooking, my favorite class. And we get to have activities. It’s like a little break off from school.


Jose Flores, 29 From East New York, Brooklyn At the Y: I am a security officer, and also work out in the fitness center.

What do you think about the intersection? It’s horrible. If you’re walking, you’ve got the right of way all the time. If you’re in a car, forget it. You can never make a turn, go forward. The lights are too short. The turning signals are way off. It’s just horrible. It’s an accident waiting to happen, that’s for sure. I’ve seen accidents once or twice in there. A truck and a car.

It’s uglier than most intersections. I agree, it’s one of the worst ones that I’ve seen. And I’ve seen some horrible ones.

What would you add or subtract? Definitely no more distractions on that corner. You don’t need no more distractions, there’s enough. There’s the bus, there’s the McDonald’s, there’s the train…

How else would you simplify it? I would make no turning signals. Just straight. There’s too much traffic. No lefts at all.

Ella Mahoney, 7 From the East Village At the Y: I’m in the afterschool program.


What do you like about the neighborhood? Pretty much nothing. It annoys me.

What do you dislike about the neighborhood? It’s too noisy.

What would you change? Get rid of cars.

What else do you want to say? About the Y – that the Y has different sections. Like the gym, and the 4th floor, and the roof. It’s also cool because they have a theater.



Roberta Mendelson, 65 From Rockland County At the Y: I’m here to see the play “March.” My daughter Michal is stage manager.

I was born at Beth Israel Hospital, which used to be Manhattan General.

Any thoughts about this intersection?

The one thing I will tell you is that I avoid New York City in the summer as much as possible. I don’t like the way New York smells in the summer. The funny thing is, when I grew up in Brooklyn, that never bothered me, I was never aware of it, I was never aware of that breath of air that embraces you when you go near a subway station. It’s like from another planet.

And yet there’s no place like it. It’s still home, it’s always home. When I see Gray’s Papaya, even though I don’t particularly care for the hot dogs, it’s just something that says New York to me.

We just came back from spending six months in Florida. It’s not home. It doesn’t have the edge that New York has. … Last week we saw Porgy and Bess. Next week we’re seeing Evita. Not even London, not even Paris…New York is the city.

Clarissa Fara, 7 ½ From the East Village At the Y: I’m in the afterschool program.

How do you like the neighborhood? I really like it. I get to live really close to my best friend. (Ella) I just like living there. I’ve moved a lot. I’ve changed schools all my life.

Do you think you’re going to stay in one place now? Yeah. Because I go to Hunter. My parents said I’m going to stay there because it goes all the way up to high school.

What do you like about coming to the Y? That I can be with my friends, and run around.

The Latest from our BUFF BRIDE

  This is Christen!  Christen is getting into her best shape ever for her autumn 2012 wedding by working out with our Personal Trainer Jordan , 14th Street Y Yoga classes, and by eating enough healthy food to fuel her work and progress.  We’ve posted Christen’s most recent workout here.  Try it the next time you’re in our fitness center!


-Elliptical: Intervals 10-15 minutes;

1.5 min work phase (heart rate up to 176) / 2 min recovery phase (heart rate at 151-164)

-12 Side Lunge to Balance on BOSU (Right)/Lateral Crawl 5 paces out /6 Plank Rotations/Lateral Crawl 5 paces back

Repeat Circuit on the left, beginning with side Lunges to Balance on BOSU


 This is a Bosu!


20-24 Squat to alternating press and rotation

12-15 Assisted Pull-ups (using the machine in the fitness center)

12-15 Standing Cable Press

15-20 Sumo Squat Deadlift



30 total Plank with hand taps on step:  (Start in a plank. Keeping your body rigid (hips and shoulders level) reach to your side as far as possible with your left hand while balancing on your right elbow and feet. Bring your left arm back in to the plank position. Repeat with the right hand and continue. To make this easier, position your feet further apart.)

15 Swiss Ball Straight Leg Bridge to Glute Bridge

30 total Ball Twist


Various Stretch:

We like the routine in the stretch link!


Stay tuned next week for Christen’s next workout!



Balance and Strength with the BUFF BRIDE!

 This is Christen, our BUFF BRIDE!


Welcome to our BUFF BRIDE’s latest workout! Personal Trainer Jordan has been mixing strength with lots of balance and coordination exercises recently, which is going nicely with Christen’s regular Monday and Wednesday evening Yoga Classes here at the Y.  We’ve put in links to explain the exercises that may need some explanation.  Try it today and let us know how it’s working for you!


5 min warm up on the elliptical

Dynamic Stretches:

3 sets of 20 reps performed as a circuit;

  • Overhead Knees (crossing the body),
  • Toy Soldiers, (Standing opposite arm/leg ext)

Balance and Coordination:

Core and Cool-down:

Interview with the BUFF BRIDE

 Have you met Christen?

Christen, one of our vibrant young members is getting married this autumn.  She’s been delightful in letting us blog about her workouts at the Y- aiming to be in the best shape of her life for her  wedding. I recently sat down with Christen to ask her how the BUFF BRIDE program is working for her.

The Y-  Hi Christen.  Thanks for speaking with us today

Buff Bride- Sure!

Y-So first let me ask you how you’re feeling so far?

BB- I’d say I’m feeling good about it.

Y- I’m glad to hear that.  How many times are you working out per week. Is it twice?

BB-Twice a week, yes.  Right now it’s Wednesday and Friday mornings.

Y- You know, one of the things I was most impressed with was the assessment.  I really- it’s been a long time since I’ve done personal training myself. But I was so impressed with Jordan‘s attention to what your body can do, that he wanted first to find out about it.  Where he could most help you be more balanced and fluid.  Had you experienced that before?

BB- I have had personal training before, yes.

Y-was it as much focused on balance and alignment before?

BB-Jordan is really good about really making sure I’m aligned and  balanced and stable.  It’s great.

Y-What changes have you noticed so far from the workouts? Anything different?

BB- I mostly feel better. My general mood is better.  Making a point to work out 3 or 4 times a week makes me feel, I don’t know, just better.  I don’t know how else to describe it, but I feel I’m in a groove and happier.

Y- Do you find that in your life it helps to have a discipline about something?

BB-Yes!  I work best when I’m in a routine.  This forces me to go to the gym at least twice per week, and then make a plan to go at least two more times a week on my own.  This really fits my life.

Y-Excellent.   Would you say that having the appointment, knowing that someone is waiting for you help your routine at all? I keep thinking that if I had a buddy at Yoga I’d show up more.

BB-Yes, definately…working out with my friends for Yoga at the Y  helps a lot.  We’ve actually been doing that for almost two years.  I find that I’m not nearly as motivated if my friends can’t go.

Y-which yoga classes do you go to now?

BB-We love the Monday and Wednesday night yoga classes with Laura.

Y- What do you like best about Laura’s  classes?

BB-Monday is definitely easier.  I like that it eases you into the week and is an hour.  It’s good on a Monday because you can relax and unwind after a busy start of the week.  Wednesday is more intense and a challenge on a day when you’re ready for that….and of course it’s longer too.

Y–Yeah, sure…I’d actually forgotten that!  But wait, aren’t you working out Monday morning and then doing yoga at night?

BB- (laughs) I haven’t actually done that yet.  Ideally I’d like to but it hasn’t worked out yet.

Y-I don’t know…that seems pretty intense to me, to do both.   It would be for me.

BB- yeah…I’m figuring how to get that 3rd  strength training in per week and still make it to yoga.  Last week I did the 3rd strength routine at night and skipped a yoga.

Y-It’s always a work in progress to figure how these things fit into a busy life.

BB-yeah, true.

Y- Are you reading the blog at all?

BB-I do!  And my friends always let me know when there’s a new one.  They love it.

Y-Good.  I actually tried your workout myself.  The circuits, the yoga warm up.  By the time I got to the elliptical my muscles were so wiped. I was tired!  How did you do that?

BB- We’ve been starting with the elliptical lately.  It helps wake you up. It also helps having Jordan there.  He pays attention to what’s happening so I don’t have to switch the levels myself.

Y-Hmm.  Maybe that was my problem.  I was NOT smooth.  But even two days after I was sore.  I work out fairly regularly and this was a challenge.  So one other thing, what’s the most challenging thing about this?  Is there something particularly difficult about the experience?

BB-The biggest challenge is waking up and getting into the routine of this.  It’s a change, the timing.  But I like the morning, once I’m up and on my way I really enjoy it.  I don’t have any excuses.

Y- would you say the best part is actually having that routine, having the lifestyle?

BB-Yes, I am a very disciplined person.  once I get comfortable with a routine I can function well within it.

Y- I think maybe that’s the best part about a sustainability, you know, not just for the earth but for your body and life.  It’s really about getting into a system that works for you.

BB- right

Y-I’m so glad it’s working for you, Christen.  I could have called and found out that you hated this.

BB- (laughs) No, it’s definitely good for me, I need someone there.  Having him there makes a big difference.  So glad I have the opportunity!

Y-We’re glad you’re doing it.  You know, there are times when I’m working out myself and I really want to get into shape, and the thing that trips me up is the eating part.  The nutrition part.


Y-I was reading a blog from a fitness queen with amazing abs, and she was saying that it’s so easy to eat well, just eat as many fruits and vegetables as possible, eat 6 small means, low fat when you can, and the rest falls into place!  I thought, is it really that simple?  Are you finding that to be so?

BB-(laughs)  Again, it’s about  routines that I find work for me.  I get used to my go to meals,  my banana and oatmeal in the morning, things like that.  Um, I don’t know.  I was on Jenny Craig for awhile and now I’m finding how it works on my own.  I’m doing ‘my fitness pal’, which has helped track what I’m eating.  But once I’m in a routine of bringing the right snacks from home, I find I’m in a pretty good place.  At least for the weekdays.

Y-What trips you up?  Is it weekends?

BB-Yes!  weekends and going out to dinner with my friends.

Y-Christen, I think that everyone who reads this will agree with you.  It’s the social aspect, the few drinks, the dinners with friends.

BB-Yes, even minimal social drinking.  I try to make it a point to only drink one day per week.  If I’m strict with that I can allow myself a splurge on the weekend.  I can afford the calories.

Y- So overall, do you think that this plan is sustainable?  Is it a marathon and not a sprint?

BB-It is.  Morning is the time I workout now.  I am making the time to do it, and it feels like something I can go forward with.

Y-I’m really glad to hear that.  One of the things we wanted to do with this was provide inspiration for our members by seeing someone make a plan and stick to it.  So on that note, can I come by and take pictures of your workouts sometime soon, and share them on the blog?

BB-Sure!  We workout at 6AM.

Y-6AM? Okay!  I’ll take the early shift and be there, and I promise not to hover!

BUFF BRIDE works out!

Have you met Christen yet?

Christen, a member of the 14th Street Y is getting married this fall. Besides wanting to look her best for the wedding, Christen wants to have a sustainable, healthy plan for exercise and eating that she can feel good about her whole life. She has graciously agreed to let us blog about her workouts so that you can join her on this healthy journey, and get some great workouts and ideas for your own program.

Jordan, one of our top personal trainers worked out with Christen last week with this one hour workout:

15 minutes interval training on the elliptical. -4 min warm up in heart rate zone 1.
-1 1/2 min in zone 2
-2 1/2 min in zone 1
-Performed 2 sets on this interval
-2 min cool down

Strength Circuit:-Squat to press on BOSU upside down – 10lb dumbbells/20 reps
-Step up to Balance and curl (using bench) 10lb dumbbells’s/20 reps; right leg
-Alternating Dumbbell Chest Press on Swiss Ball – 15lbs/20 reps
-Step up to Balance and curl (using bench) 10lb DB’s/20 reps; left leg
-Seated Swiss Ball Band Rows – Blue Band/25 reps/ Hold last rep in contraction for 10 Seconds
-Seated Ball Dumbbell Scaption (Arm lift 45 degrees from body) 3lbs/15 reps

*Each repetition is to be performed in slow controlled fashion; 2 to 3 second concentric contraction (positive), 1-2 second pause and 3-4 second eccentric contraction (negative)

Cool Down/FlexibilityBasic Swiss Ball Stretches

Additional Recommended class or training through the week:
-Flexibility, balance and relaxation: at least 1-2 times a week: Yoga, Qi Gung, Tai Chi -Cardiovascular endurance and efficiency: at least 2 times a week.

-Resistance Training: 3 times a week.

Questions about this workout? Leave a comment here! We hope you’ll try it and let us know what you think.

Try our BUFF BRIDE Workout!

Our Buff Bride Christen worked with Jordan last week with exercises that addressed strength, balance and core.  Here’s what she did this week. 

Warm Up:Opposite Arm/leg reach: Balance on all fours in a kneeling position, and slowly reach out opposite arm and leg. This stretches and strengthens the lower back, engages the core and warms up the arms and legs.

Prone Cobra: Lying on your stomach, slowly raise both arms and legs while engaging your core. Again, strengthening and stretching your back and engaging your core.

Exercises in Circuit (two times through):

Dumbbell Squat to Press: Christen used 8 lbs in each hand, and 15 reps for each set. For all these exercises, choose the weight that allows you to do 15 reps, working to fatigue.

Dumbbell Chest Press: Christen used 15 lbs in each hand, 15 reps for each set.

Machine lat Row: Christen used 25 lbs, 15 reps each set.

Dumbbell Step-Up (right side) 8lbs in each hand, 15 reps per set
Dumbbell Step-UP (left side) 8lbs in each hand, 15 reps per set

After working through this circuit 2 times, Christen moved to the elliptical trainer for her cool down.

Elliptical workout:Warm up for 3-5 minutes keeping Heart rate in the 151-164 zone
Then push for 1-2 minutes with Heart rate in the 170-176 zone
Recover back to 151-164 for 3-5 minutes
Repeat 3x, then cool down for 2-3 minutes.

Try it and let us know what you think!