Archives for category: exercise

IMG_7435Around the start of the year, a trainer in New York made headlines when he announced that he’d be offering nude workout classes in his fitness studio. Naturally we contacted him and asked if we could try one of his classes — we’re always looking for new and interesting things to do in the nude! But the response we got was noncommittal and he managed to duck actually scheduling a session with us for the longest time. Then when he finally did schedule one — through some British PR firm, oddly — they cancelled on us at the eleventh hour.

IMG_7741Sadly, our guess is that the whole announcement was just a publicity stunt — we can find no evidence that he’s ever actually gone through with these classes (there don’t seem to be any reviews online, for instance, and no articles covering anything but the initial announcement, and no mention of these classes on his website, nor any mention on his Facebook page after the January press blitz).

But even if this particular trainer was just trying to get attention, that doesn’t mean the idea isn’t a good one.

IMG_7416IMG_7423After all, who wouldn’t prefer to work out in the nude if it were an option? No annoying seam pressing into your tailbone during stretches; no sweat collecting in your workout gear; no difficulty seeing the alignment of muscles so you can check your form. Sure, there are some exercises you wouldn’t want to do naked — jumping rope comes to mind — but there are plenty more that you would.

IMG_8199So we decided to take the idea and run with it. One of our members is a personal trainer, and she stepped in to lead the class; and in place of a gym, we booked the terrific little exercise studio we’ve used in the past for naked yoga. That, plus invitations extended to half a dozen of the most open-minded fitness buffs we know, and we were ready for our inaugural workout.

IMG_7223IMG_7324IMG_7343And it was wonderful — everything we could’ve wished. One of our participants (pictured above) had this to say about it: “What made this nude fitness class so refreshing and beautiful was that everyone participating shared the same mindset that nudity doesn’t need to be sexual. I worried much less about what I look like than I do just going to a regular gym. I was able to focus more on my form because I could clearly see what the instructor’s body was doing and see and feel my own body better. Plus, it’s very convenient to not have to bring workout clothes with you!”

IMG_7479We kicked things off with squats and pushups —

IMG_7457— then moved on to lunges and work with resistance bands —

IMG_7526IMG_7586IMG_7653— ab work and balance poses —

IMG_7642IMG_7705— some extra work for thighs and glutes —

IMG_7965IMG_8021— all interspersed with rest breaks in child’s pose, stretches, and the occasional dance interlude.

IMG_8182IMG_7608We all emerged from the session energized, if a tiny bit sore (only in the best way, of course), and determined to do it again soon.

Only next time? We want to do it outdoors on a warm day in the middle of Central Park. (Don’t worry, we’ll bring g-strings to keep it all legal.)

IMG_7685IMG_7549IMG_7513Would you like to join us? Drop us email at toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com. We’ll gladly welcome any open-minded, body-positive women in the New York area.

IMG_7718Hell, we’ll even welcome Harry Hanson, if he wants some pointers on what this whole nude workout thing is all about.

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IMG_6531For our second annual private lesson with the incomparable Willow of Naked In Motion (purveyors of nude yoga to New York, Boston, and Parts Unknown), we decided to turn the lights down low and practice our asanas to the illumination of a dozen flickering candles.

IMG_6516IMG_6513cIMG_6524This was a boon for the room’s tranquility; less so for the event’s photography. (We did try taking a photo or two with the flash turned on, but that shattered the serenity and we quickly turned it off again. The only bright sparks we displayed from then on were the divine internal variety. Namaste.)

IMG_6508This lesson combined yoga and a bit of pilates, with some extra attention given to pelvic floor muscles and other areas of interest to participants.

IMG_6533IMG_6532After the lesson, we found repose in child’s pose…

IMG_6514…as well as strawberries and Oreos. Ancient, meet modern.

IMG_6470Then it was time to head out into the cold once more.

IMG_6479But we headed out more centered, more relaxed, and in better shape. What more could you ask of an evening’s recreation?

Our thanks to Willow, who was patient, encouraging, and supportive and reminded us that it’s good both to push our bodies and to enjoy them. She helped us do both, and we left with big smiles on our faces.

If you get a chance to participate in a session with Willow, we give it our highest recommendation.

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IMG_0352Most of our trips to the park are characterized by an extreme lack of physical exercise. Oh, we have some fit people in the group — some very fit people, in fact. Our pole dancing adventure revealed that. But fitness isn’t what we do when we get together.

But when we saw Tim here, working out with a TRX rig in the park we’d chosen as the site for our latest exercise in courageous sloth…

IMG_0416…we had to give it a try ourselves.

IMG_0372IMG_0380Speaking of sloth (or Sloth, I guess, with the all Jesuitical implications that capital letter confers), we also shared the park with artist Alana Jade Ramnarine, who was working on one of her Seven Deadly Sins pieces, which have been cropping up around lower Manhattan. This one was Sloth.

IMG_0175IMG_0291IMG_0319Now, how being dead counts as being slothful, I don’t know — it seems like adding insult to injury to call the poor woman a sinner on top of everything else she’s suffering in that picture. But maybe it’s the man who’s being called slothful. Since he’s just standing there and all. Didn’t protect her, isn’t avenging her. Maybe? Anyway, it’s a gorgeous piece of art, and an excellent book.

IMG_0210The rest of the afternoon passed in sun-dappled splendor.

IMG_0436IMG_0234IMG_0194There’s nothing quite like coming to a little green patch in the center of a towering metropolis and undressing to lounge about in the grass.

IMG_0252IMG_0269IMG_0292IMG_0394IMG_0391If you’ve never had the pleasure yourself…the exhilaration of taking off that layer and just enjoying, in the open air, being the woman you are underneath…well, the summer’s not over yet. Write to us at toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com and we’ll give you the chance to experience it.

If you’re thinking about it, finger hovering over the Send button…just do it.

Don’t keep us in suspense. 🙂

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IMG_9444So — before we headed through Central Park to join the annual NYC Underwear Run, we met up by the boat pond, just to relax on the grass and carry out a suitable pre-run ritual. (Otherwise known as nibbling sea salt lemon ginger cookies and reading Chinua Achebe.)

IMG_9359IMG_9663IMG_9602No major developments to report this time. It’s one of the nicest and most serene spots in Central Park, and we found we were left alone not only when enjoying the late afternoon breezes under the branches of the lawn’s great oaks (are they really oaks? we’re city girls, we don’t know from trees)

IMG_9438IMG_9439IMG_9679…but also when strolling by the pond, past unfazed fellow recreation-seekers.

IMG_9624IMG_9637IMG_9639Our reading  material included (as usual) a mix of the high and the low — the advance copies we got from Hard Case Crime of Max Allan Collins’ latest, Quarry In the Black, got a workout,

IMG_9651IMG_9737as did Stephen King and Buffy the Vampire Slayer:

IMG_9821IMG_9799And The Mating Mind got passed around a bit.

IMG_9529IMG_9510IMG_9556As we always like to see, our numbers included a mix of old-timers and first-timers.

IMG_9779IMG_9758IMG_9796If you are a curious first-timer in the making — an NY-loving, body-positive woman who knows it’s legal for women to go topless outdoors but maybe is still working up the nerve to try it for herself — we remind you that we’ve still got  a month of summer left (well, almost two months, technically; but a month of balmy August days), and we invite you to reach out to us. An email to toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com will get you in on the fun. The winter will be here all too soon, and with it the need to fold up the beach towels and get dressed again.

IMG_9871IMG_9867IMG_9847IMG_9851Before we enter the season of gloves and hot chocolate, before the leaves turn red and gold, while the mercury is still straining to escape its narrow glass channel…won’t you join us?

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IMG_0069There’s an event each year called the NYC Underwear Run; it’s a 1.7-mile footrace held in Central Park the Friday before the annual Triathlon wipes out all the city’s serious runners. Are we serious runners? Bite your tongue. But two of our members decided that a casual 1.7-mile jog in their underwear would be a pleasant way to spend a summer evening, and the rest of us came along to cheer them on.

IMG_0015First, we had to get to the starting line, which called for a topless walk through the park — not 1.7 miles, but a decent warm-up for the race.

IMG_9979IMG_9961IMG_9973(And a decent cool-down too, thanks to some judiciously purchased Snow Cones.)

IMG_0013IMG_0094Along the way, we got some curious looks, like this one from a man who asked “Why don’t you have shirts on?”

IMG_0009To which we answered “Why do you have a shirt on?” And explained, for the umpteenth time, the law in New York, equal rights, gender equality, etc., etc., etc.

Eventually we got to Cherry Hill and checked our runners in.

IMG_0032Interestingly, although everyone in the 500-person race was in their underwear — that’s the whole point of the event, isn’t it? — an official came over to us to say women aren’t allowed to run the race topless. That didn’t seem right to us; women have the legal right to go topless anywhere in the park that men can, and there were men all around with nothing on but tighty-whities. A discussion ensued on the finer points of the law. We would eventually have prevailed — we were right — but in the end our two runners did put sports bras on, not because they were told to, just because, well, running. Comfort. You know how it is.

But the rest of us stayed topless and enjoyed the event from the spectator area that way, and plenty of other people seemed to enjoy it as well. We posed for photos with runners,

IMG_0092and with one of New York’s OG topless celebs:

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IMG_0086And then retired to a nearby hillside to enjoy twilight in the grass. A bottle of wine might have circulated among us. (If that weren’t against park rules, we mean. It might have, but we’re quite sure it didn’t.) And then out we went to the subway, heads held high.

IMG_0027Oh, wait, we’re telling this story backwards — before heading to the race we spent a couple of hours hanging out near the miniature boat pond! But that’s a story for another post…

 

IMG_6252You may have noticed a rather paltry number of books in our recent book club photos. No real reason for this, beyond the self-evident one that it’s hard to read when you’re playing with a puppy or walking a street fair (or performing Shakespeare). But we did get back to basics on our first visit this year to our favorite rooftop sundeck. (Which has been freshly painted blue and white for the season — yay, new colors!)

Before we could catch up on the latest from Max Allan Collins and Erle Stanley Gardner, or old favorites by Tad Williams and Deborah Harkness, or even work by non-pulp types such as Alison Bechdel and Elizabeth Benedict, we had to doff our garb–

IMG_6000IMG_5848IMG_5821–and also welcome a group of seven undergrads from Purdue who’d contacted us to say they were visiting NYC as part of a queer history tour that would take them to New York, Paris and Berlin, and could they meet with us while they were in town?

IMG_5948cIMG_6019IMG_5990Of course we said yes. And what an amazing group they were! Engaged and curious and passionate and intelligent and concerned and whip-smart. And so young! The world, we must say, is in better hands than we feared if these students are representative. (Sadly, they’re not. But if they were!) You can check out their blog about their travels here, and you won’t be sorry that you did.

Then it was on to our books, supplemented by our usual heady mix of edibles and submersion.

IMG_6178IMG_6074IMG_6187IMG_5879To this mix we added a bit of physical exercise, although of the moderate variety, trying to outdo each other by holding forearm planks (don’t ask why…it seemed like the thing to do…).

IMG_6162IMG_613420160530_141306The afternoon flew by, chased by the threat of rainstorms at its heels, and never have minutes felt more fleeting or more precious. The summer hasn’t even begun yet — but we can never have enough, and these were hours to be savored.

So we savored them.

Kudos to the unflappable pizza deliveryman, undaunted by the dozen or more naked people he walked in on, and to our visiting guests, and to our hosts whose roof we used. And kudos to you, too, our readers. Remember: if you’re a bold, body-positive woman in the New York area, you can join us sometime yourself. Just email toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com and that might be you in the inflatable pool, or planking on the fake grass, or reading in the sun, without a care or a stitch.

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IMG_1969Eighty degrees. Who cares that the calendar says it’s still spring, not summer? It was eighty degrees this Monday, and sunny af (as the kids say), and we’ve got the incipient tans to prove it. All over. Well, almost. But almost. And, man oh man, did it feel good.

IMG_1538Is there a better feeling than that first time you peel your clothes off outdoors under the hot sun after a long, cold winter? You wouldn’t know it from looking at the smiles on our faces this Monday when we headed out to Washington Square Park.

IMG_1588IMG_1863IMG_1817More than a dozen of us showed up to share book recommendations (Tom Robbins, Elizabeth Kostova, Mary McCarthy, Tiffany ReiszCharles Ardai)…

IMG_1561IMG_1509IMG_1596…white chocolate macadamia nut cookies, cucumber water, and warm hugs for old friends. All of which are better enjoyed topless. But then, what isn’t?

IMG_1492Behind us, an impressive group of acroyoga practitioners practiced…

IMG_1442IMG_1579IMG_2035…while before us a bubble man did his thing:

IMG_1713IMG_1714IMG_1715And world-famous body painter Andy Golub recruited a few of us to aid in his chromatic pursuits.

IMG_1791IMG_1848IMG_2051But most of our time was spent simply luxuriating, and it was blissful.

IMG_1879Would you like to join us next time? If you’re a bold, body-positive woman in the New York area (or would like to think of yourself as one), send us a note at toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com. We’d love to meet you, and to show you just how good it can feel to ditch that top.

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