Miracles Fitness Introduces the First Ever Fitness Challenge Race in Stone Harbor, New Jersey

Most of us have run or at least have heard about the Color Runs, Mud Runs, Hot Chocolate Races, etc., but what about a full 5k race with an obstacle course at the end?

Miracles Fitness is starting the first ever Stone Harbor Fitness Challenge 5k. The race is on July 12th, 2014 and starts at 8am. The race course starts at 83rd street right near the Windrift and it costs $35. You can register here.

What’s  unique about this race is that you run the 5k first and then once you are exhausted and think you can’t do anymore you have to complete the nine all encompassing total body challenges set to test your fitness. Some of the challenges include Burpees, Med Ball Slams, Hurdle Jump Overs and more.

Even though the weather in Stone Harbor is always beautiful in the Summer, on the off chance it does rain, the race will still go on rain or shine.

You do not need to be a fitness freak to sign up for this event. Anyone can sign up for this event, you can race/walk it for fun, or at a competitive level. There will also be awards given to the top finishers in all categories.

Nick Elisano Trainer and owner of Miracles Fitness came up with this idea.

“With all the popularity of all the obstacle races we wanted to do something different related to fitness, Elisano explained. With all the  boot camp programs and sports performance programs we thought this would be a great combination for runners and fitness enthusiasts alike.”

This race definitely sounds like it will be one of the best races of the season for Stone Harbor. So if you are around make sure to sign up and enjoy this one of a kind race!

 

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ElliptiGO: It’s a Hybrid Between an Elliptical and a Bike and it Will Make People Stop and Stare as You Ride By

Need a break from running, but tired of the indoor bike or the elliptical at the gym. Well the ElliptiGO is the perfect solution.

I heard about an ElliptiGO from a friend who saw it and I did some research to find out where I could try it. The Harbor Bike Shop in Stone Harbor rents them for one hour for $25.00 plus tax. The only rules are that you cannot ride it on the sidewalk and do not ride the ElliptiGO on the beach. After that you are good to go!

One of the Harbor Bike Shop employees agreed that it is good exercise.

“It’s definitely a workout and it is very easy once you get it started. I rode it once and its pretty similar to the elliptical at the gym, however, you’re using it outside and not in the gym, Donna Olfert, 24, Harbor Bike shop employee said. You get to workout on the elliptical outside with the fresh air and sunshine.”

Make sure to wear comfortable sneakers, workout clothes, and bring a water bottle. Other than that enjoy the ride and have fun!

After my hour test ride I have to say that it is quite the workout. I enjoy working out on the elliptical at the gym; however, I find myself getting bored because I want to be moving and going somewhere or just want to be outside. I tore my ACL and meniscus about four years ago. I am an avid runner, but need to take a few days off for the knee every once in a while, that is when I incorporate the elliptical into my workout routine.

The ElliptiGO is the perfect solution for my elliptical boredom. I love being outdoors, running, biking, surfing, etc. Being able to ride the ELLIPTIGO outdoors was great.  So many people would stop and stare as I rode by. I even had a car slow down and drive along side me and ask me about it. They were curious and asked me about the ElliptiGO as I rode it. What’s it like? Is it easy to ride? Where can I rent one?

Similarities to an elliptical/bike:

  • The pedaling motion is almost identical to an elliptical machine and the upright standing position that you pedal.
  • The front of the ElliptiGO is exactly like a mountain bike with hand breaks and gears for you to use and change as you ride.
  • On an elliptical you can increase the resistance and on the ElliptiGO you have three different gear changes you can use one being the easiest gear and three being the hardest gear. (I started on gear one and quickly changed it to gear three to increase the intensity of my ride.)

Differences to an elliptical/bike:

  • With an ElliptiGO you need to use a lot more balance because you are moving on two wheels, it is almost impossible to remove your hands while using the ElliptiGO without falling. Unlike an elliptical where you can take you arms off and pedal forwards and backwards with ease you cannot on the ElliptiGO.
  • You are also battling the wind, sun glare and traffic.  On an elliptical you are indoors in a controlled environment.
  • The only difficult part was stopping and starting.

For example, to cross traffic if I had to stop my momentum it was a little difficult to start up the momentum again to get across the street quickly. So I had to make sure that when I had to cross traffic that I waited until there was no traffic coming so that I knew I had plenty of time to cross the street without causing traffic problems. Or I tried to make sure to just coast and not stop completely which would help prevent me from having a difficult time crossing the road.

The only downside to the ElliptiGO is if you really enjoyed riding it and wanted to buy one for yourself you can, however, it will cost you about $1,800. So with that I would highly recommend renting them and trying it a few times before you make the investment or find one used if you can, but it is a great workout so have fun!

ElliptiGO a nice change from the everyday elliptical! Photo Credit: Alison Mastrangelo

ElliptiGO a nice change from the everyday elliptical! Photo Credit: Alison Mastrangelo

5 Minutes of Grape Stomping, Surprising Workout at the Annual Stone Harbor Savor September Event

Buckets big enough to hold three people to grape stomp! Photo Credit: Alison Mastrangelo

Buckets big enough to hold three people to grape stomp! Photo Credit: Alison Mastrangelo

There are 36 pounds of grapes in each bucket ready to be stomped! Photo Credit: Alison Mastrangelo

On September 21st, 2013, from noon- 8pm the Stone Harbor Savor September event offered local wine and beer tastings, native cuisine, music and more.

As I walked around I noticed an area dedicated to team grape stomping and as a fitness guru I had to give it a try. I was thinking could grape stomping be the new leg workout?

First I needed to put together a team of three to four people. My team consisted of myself, my  mom and friend Tricia Stump.  Once you get your team together you compete against three other teams and stomp grapes for five minutes straight.

My grape stomping team. Pictured: Alison Mastrangelo, Frances Mastrangelo, Tricia Stump. Photo Credit: Alison Mastrangelo

My grape stomping team. Pictured: Alison Mastrangelo, Frances Mastrangelo, Tricia Stump. Photo Credit: Alison Mastrangelo

According to the volunteers the rules are quite simple.  You can only stomp with your feet not your hands, no shoes allowed, and only three people in a bucket at a time to stomp the grapes. The other person waits on the side and helps get the juice out and rotates into the grape stomping bucket.

Before I jumped into the event I needed to know what my strategy should be, so I asked one of the student volunteers to give me more insight on what was involved.

“I have been told the key to grape stomping is you want to use your feet and scrape the grapes towards the grate that flows the juice out of the container. The combination of scraping, stomping and tipping the bucket helps you get the most juice out,” said Brooke Herzog, 19, volunteer and student from University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Although Herzog was not competing she noticed that some competitors were getting a workout.

“Some of the teams are getting a leg workout and even an arm workout pushing themselves and even lifting themselves off the bucket. It just depends on how much you put into it,” said Herzog.

My team stomping away! Photo Credit: Bill Stump

My team stomping away! Photo Credit: Bill Stump

I must say that grape stomping is sticky, slimy and slippery. However, I did break a sweat. My feet were constantly sliding in the mashed up grapes and I had to keep using my legs and arms to prevent myself from falling in the grape mess. If I continued to stomp grapes for more than five minutes I could definitely see it being a great leg workout.

My team did not win, but we did break a sweat stomping grapes! Photo Credit: Alison Mastrangelo

Experience Stand Up Paddle Boarding Yoga in Stone Harbor’s Back Bay

 

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Warrior 1 pose Photo Credit: Stef Desatnick

Let me first explain that I am an avid surfer and when I read about SUP Yoga in a magazine  I knew I had to try it. I have been paddle boarding before in South Jersey’s back bays, to Florida’s oceans, and have even paddle boarded in Kauai, Hawaii. But I did not know of anywhere close where I could try paddle boarding yoga until now.

 Anjali power yoga has yoga studios all over South Jersey and in Philadelphia. Stef Desatnick, who has been teaching yoga for two years saw a picture of SUP Yoga online and wanted to do it immediately.

“I saw a picture of it and was like I am going to have a business for SUP Yoga and now I do,” said Stef Desatnick, SUP Yoga instructor.

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SUP Instructor Stef doing the camel pose. Photo Credit: Alison Mastrangelo

The classes are an hour long, cost $40 and meet at the 81st marina in Stone Harbor, NJ. You should wear a bathing suit that you feel comfortable moving in and bring a beach towel and flip flops for after the class.

For the beginning portion of the class you paddle around the basin and get use to the paddleboard. Then once you get comfortable the entire class paddles out in the channel where you battle the wind, heat, and current. The key is to make sure you begin paddling against the current so that when you return you have an easy paddle back.

After about a half hour of paddling you return back to the basin to do the  yoga portion of the class. I considered myself an intermediate to advance yoga goer who surfs so I was thinking I would not be that challenged, however, I was wrong.

Performing yoga moves on the water, which is an unstable surface while fighting against the wind, heat and current is VERY difficult. Trying to master the smooth transitions from one yoga move into the next move with out wobbling and falling off your board was hard. A few of the other class members fell in fairly quickly and I felt that as I neared the end of the class I would be one of the few that did not fall in. Once again I was wrong.

During the warrior flow I over did my warrior three stance and fell right in the water! Thankfully the water was warm. After my brief swim I slid back on my board and right back into the yoga flow.

At the end of class everyone agreed they had a great time but were challenged not only physically but mentally as well.

“The hardest thing was conquering your fear and your mind. Once your get over that it is awesome,” said Kate McCormick, from Haddonfield, New Jersey.

“The toughest thing for me was keeping my balance and not compromising the poses,” said Regina Ricci,” from Gloucester Township.

“Trying to find your balance was the hardest thing but once you find your balance its just like regular yoga but in water,” said Natalie Feola, from Gloucester Township.

I have to say that I am definitely impressed by SUP Yoga and will definitely go again! Next time during the warrior three pose I WILL NOT fall in! If you want to try SUP Yoga for yourself you have until the end of September otherwise you will have to wait until next summer.