Active Beach days and Surf Fit Summer

Happy Summer! It’s the perfect time to enjoy the outdoors with amazing weather, sunny skies and plenty of recreational activities to choose from. Become one with the sea as you escape to the beach. There’s nothing like the fresh ocean air to stimulate your senses and nourish your mind, body and soul.

Join me every weekend to play! Surfing is one of the most challenging activities out there. Not only do you need good core strength and balance, mobility is a key element as well.  It’s a skill which takes time to learn, but the process can be accelerated by getting into shape specific for this activity.

I developed Surf Fit this summer as a way to help people have fun outdoors while getting into shape for surfing.  Strength, mobility and posture is the main focus of this program.  All too often, I don’t see people properly warm up which increases chances of injury.  Due to the technologically advanced world we live in these days, poor posture contributes to a variety of aches and pains. This can be further exacerbated in activities, especially surfing.  You need good extension of the spine to pop up as well as range of motion in your lower body. If your job requires sitting for hours, you will be extremely tight and out of alignment. If you do nothing to offset these issues, your limitations may lead you down a dark path.

Learn how to take care of your body with me every weekend at Beach 67th in  Far Rockaway. We start with a 15-20 minute warmup before we hit the waves.  One hour complimentary board rental provided by Breakwater Surf Co. Don’t miss out as classes will be held until the end of August.  All details can be found at:

Make it an all day beach day. Bring your lunch, snacks and beverages. We can do a stretch/yoga session after, play volleyball or whatever your heart desires.



Clamshell for Glute and Hip Strengthening

The clamshell with a mini band is a great exercise to strengthen your hips, glutes and thighs while stabilizing your pelvis. Your glutes are made of three muscles, the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and glutues minimus. While the glute maximus is the largest muscle in the body where most of the work is targeted, it’s just as important to strengthen the smaller muscles of the glutes. Without the right balance, other muscles will have to eventually overcompensate leading to pain and injury in your knees and lower back.

A study published in the Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy found that the clamshell exercise is one of the best for hip strengthening, to help with injury treatment and prevention. The clamshell exercise focuses on strengthening the gluteus medius which is responsible for stabilizing your pelvis.  It will also help to build strength in the inner and outer thighs, core and lower back to create a better balance in your hip and leg muscles.

Squats and lunges are necessary for basic lower body strength but the smaller muscles must not be neglected if you want to avoid knee or back pain in any of your activities.

Make sure you can perform this exercise without the band first.

Start by lying on your side with knees stacked and bent at a 45 degree angle.

Rest your head on your lower arm. Bring the top arm in front to steady yourself.

Keep your hips stacked and make sure you’re not rolling backwards.

Engage your abs to stabilize your spine and pelvis. Keep your feet together as you raise the top knee as much as possible without moving the bottom leg. Squeeze your glute at the top and lower back to start. Do 3 sets of 15-20 reps.

The band will add more resistance and muscle activation so make sure you work up to this progression.

Did you know that weak hips can create issues in your ankles, foot, knees and back? Don’t become a statistic and start incorporating this exercise into your regular fitness routine.  Not only will you decrease your chances of injury, you’ll increase the mobility in your hips.  A healthy body is always a happier one.

Future of Fitness

As you may know, I have recently partnered up with FORTË, a technology company that has revolutionized the fitness industry by providing access to boutique studio classes coached by leading experts worldwide. Think Netflix, but for premiere boutique fitness classes.

Their cutting-edge technology enables me to live stream selected classes to their platform. A FORTË subscription gives you access to this curated, fully immersive, social, data-driven, interactive, real time, unedited, and unparalleled fitness experience with unlimited live and on-demand content.

Now with FORTË, you never have to miss a workout with ME, or wonder what a class that you missed was like. Share our workouts with your friends and family who may not have the pleasure of living in this wonderful city.

FORTË is offering, for only three months, early adopters a special subscription price of $99 for one year as they continue to release features.  FORTË and I would like to show you our gratitude by giving all of you an exclusive deal of $50 for a one year subscription if you join now using promo code: CindyLaiFitness

There will be a 30-day complimentary access period for all new users to the platform prior to any billing going into effect, with a hassle-free cancellation policy. You can sign up to access my live and on-demand classes on FORTË  at

Following this exclusive offer, FORTË subscriptions will either run users $39 monthly or $288 for an annual subscription which equates to $24 monthly.

I am excited to be redefining the future of fitness with FORTË, making my workouts accessible, available when you are traveling or just busy with life.

It is health that is true wealth!

Cindy Lai Fitness + Team FORTË


Sayulita Fitness and Yoga Retreat



Retreat to Paradise in charming Sayulita, a seaside town on the west coast of Mexico.  Not far from Puerto Vallarta, Amor Boutique hotel is a luxury boutique resort perfect for your fitness retreat. Exercise, surf, and play in the sun while you recharge your batteries in this magical place.  Located right on the beach in the heart of Sayulita with exquisite ocean views, you’ll start the day off with fitness or yoga. Surfing and SUP will be included and there will be free time during the day do as you please before the evening activities.

Sayulita is a hidden gem with beautiful beaches, great surf breaks, and a very relaxed vibe which is hard not to fall in love with.  From fresh tacos, amazing margaritas to beautiful sunsets, you won’t want to leave!

Janalyn Rose and I are excited to created a memorable experience for you which will encompass fitness, wellness, and plenty of fun times in this great little surf town.  Join us on May 25-29 next year for 5 days as we take you through an adventure you’ll never forget!


What’s included:

(Oceanfront Villa )

Shared Room $1800 pp

Private Room $2200 pp

Breakfast, snacks, dinner (Vegetarian options available)

Daily fitness and/or yoga activities

(Some examples – Sunset yoga, Beach Body Partner Workout, Restorative yoga, Cultural Boot camp tour, etc.)

One Surf Lesson

One SUP Lesson

Surfboards at the hotel from 8a-8p

SUP at hotel

Nutrition Workshop

Salsa Lesson

Fitness photography with professional photographer – details tba

Not included:



Massage (there will be options available at the hotel)

Earlybird discount for payment by 12/1 is as follows. Regular pricing will resume after.  50% is due by 12/15/2016 and balance by 3/1/2016. There are no refunds.  Any cancellations before x days will result in credit towards the next retreat.

$1500 Shared Room

$1900 Private Room

More details to follow.

For all inquiries, please email

We can’t wait to help you plan an incredible and active adventure in beautiful little Sayulita next year!


Cindy Lai and Janalyn Rose

Sunset Yoga in Sayulita

Why strength training is important for running

Become a better, faster, and a stronger runner by incorporating strength training into your program.  Exercises specific for this activity will increase the ability of your tendons, ligaments, muscles and bones to withstand the impact of running. You will improve performance, decrease chances of injury and recover faster.  I will focus on bodyweight exercises which can be done easily in the comfort of your own home or outdoors.

Bodyweight routines can help build the strength necessary to prevent future overuse injuries.  Running injuries are commonly caused by weak hips which is problematic for runners who sit most of the day. Hip and glute strength is crucial in stabilizing the muscles used for running.  Core strength is essential in maintaining your posture as you fatigue. When the muscles around your knees are strong, you are less likely to become imbalanced. A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research in August 1995  showed that runners who added three days of resistance training exercises to their weekly program increased their leg strength and enhanced their endurance.

CORE AND ARM SERIES  Build a strong and balanced foundation with your deeper abdominal muscles.  Upper body strength also plays an important role in preventing chronic neck, back and shoulder pain.

Basic Plank – Start with elbows underneath shoulders and either knees or feet on the floor.  Hold for 15-20 seconds for 2-3 sets and slowly work your way up each week.

Side Plank – with elbow underneath shoulder and opposite hand on hip, find the modification which suits you best. Hold for 15-20 seconds for 2-3 sets.

Superman – lying face down, keep arms shoulder width apart and legs hip width apart.  Squeeze your lower abdomen into the floor as you lift arms and legs simultaneously off the floor. Hold for a second, then release.  Do 2-3 sets of 10 repetitions

Prone “Y” raises – lying face down, keep forehead on the floor as point your thumbs up. Squeeze shoulder blades as you lift hands about two inches off the floor. Do 2-3 sets of 10 repetitions.

Prone lat pull back – lying face down, lift the arms off the floor as you engage lower abdominals. Bend elbows back towards ribcage and squeeze shoulder blades. Keep head neutral and chest lifted. Return to start. Do 2-3 sets of 10 repetitions.

Pushup – Place hands underneath shoulders with either knees or feet on the floor. Keep your back straight as you descend. Go as low as possible before you push yourself back up. Narrow your hands to increase difficulty.  Do 2-3 sets of 10-15 repetitions.

Baby Cobra – open up your chest and strengthen your upper middle back.  Lying face down, keep your hands by your chest. Draw shoulders up, back and down as you squeeze shoulders blades back gently. Hold for a second and release.  Repeat 3 more times.

LEG SERIES is meant to build strength in the lower region, especially glutes and hips which are often weak and can lead to all types of knee and hip instability and injuries.

Basic Squat – start with feet about hip width apart and toes pointed out slightly. Keep your back upright as descend keeping weight in the heels and pushing your knees out. Drive yourself back up by squeezing your glutes. Do 2-3 sets of 10-12 repetitions.

Reverse Lunges – start with hands on hips and feet hip width apart. Draw a straight line back with one foot and stay on the ball of that foot.  Keep your hips square as you bend the back leg about ninety degrees.  Return to start and switch legs.  Do 2- 3 sets of 10-20 repetitions

Single Leg Squats – strengthens the glute medius, the primary stabilizer of the hip.  When this muscle is weak, it can contribute to low back, knee and hip pain.  Find a bench and walk your feet a few inches in front of the bench. Lift one leg off the floor as you slowly descend on the opposite leg.  Stand up on both legs and switch.  Once you become stronger, try to lower and lift off the same leg. Do 2-3 sets of 10 reps alternating legs.

Ease into these exercises and slowly work your way up.  Two to three times a week is sufficient for fitness gains.  Cross train with the exercises to counteract the wear and tear on your joints. Some statistics puts the annual injury rate of runners as high as 85 percent. Do you really want to be sidelined? Prevent your chances of imbalances and injuries and become a faster, stronger and more powerful runner by starting today.

Cindy Lai Fitness

NASM-CPT / Holistic Health Coach

How to exercise in the humidity

If you like to exercise outdoors in the heat and humidity, you should take the necessary measures in order to do so safely. This way you can avoid getting dizzy or nauseous as you allow your body to acclimate to the weather. Exercising in hot weather will increase your body temperature.  Sweating is your body’s way of cooling down.  This natural cooling system may fail if you are exposed to the rising temperatures for too long.  Furthermore, the humidity doesn’t allow your sweat to evaporate quickly. This can send your body temperature even higher which can even result in a heat exhaustion or a heat stroke.

First order of business –  hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Drink at least 8-10 glasses of water a day if not more.  Stay away from sugary sports drinks and opt for coconut water filled with electrolytes and potassium instead.  Eating fruits and veggies with higher water content, such as pineapple, watermelon, tomatoes, and cucumbers not only help you replenish fluids, they offer health benefits as well.

Avoid the hottest part of the day if possible.  It’s ideal to exercise early in the morning or in the evening after work.

Wear light colored and comfortable clothing so you have good air circulation. Avoid dark colors and heavy clothing which absorb heat.

Allow your body 10 to 14 days to acclimate to the heat and humidity. No matter what fitness level you are, you will feel sluggish and lethargic in the beginning.  I’ve seen this time and time again with my students and clients.  I’ve experienced this myself as well.  It takes time to adjust so scale back your efforts temporarily.  Be mindful of what your body is telling you.

Listen to your body.  If you want to continue exercising in these weather conditions, it is important respect it and give it the attention it needs.  This way you won’t have to worry about fainting, muscle cramps, dizziness on top of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Be smart and be safe. Enjoy your outdoor workouts and come play with us in Central Park on Tuesdays and Thursday evening at 7p if you’re in the area.

Have a great week!

Cindy Lai


Health & Fitness Coach



Core Exercises to Strengthen Your Abs

Core exercises are important for daily life function as well as for fitness performance.  Strengthening the core involves the front and back muscles of the trunk as well as the muscles around the pelvis.  This helps stabilize the spine and is also where your power is generated from in order to carry out any movement.  The stronger you are in your core, the better your chances are in moving efficiently and safely in any physical activity.  Here are four core exercises which can be done in the comfort of your home or outdoors that will also help you strengthen your abs.

1/ V-up (modified)

Start on your back with your legs straight and arms over your head. Engaging your abs, sit up as you bring your arms towards you ankles and simultaneously tuck the knees in towards your chest.  Keep your back straight and shoulders back as you come up into a modified “V.” Slowly lower yourself back to the ground into the start position.  If this is challenging, you can do the same movement alternating with single leg.  For the more advanced version, keep the legs entirely straight throughout the movement. Do 3 sets of 10-20 repetitions.



This can be done with elbows or hands underneath shoulders.  The elbow version is normally the easier version while the hands require more wrist strength.  Keep shoulders, hips and ankles aligned. Pull your navel to your spine as you hold yourself up. Do 3 sets for time of anywhere from 30-60 seconds or less depending on your level of fitness.

Core exercises


3/Side Plank  combo with twist

This move engages the obliques as well as the transverse abdominis, also part of your core. Start with hands directly underneath shoulders. Modified version would start with elbows instead. Stack one leg on top of the other or bring the top leg directly in front of the other leg.  Make sure you are aligned as you lift your hips off the floor and reach up with the opposite arm. Think about stacking your shoulders. Scoop your belly in as you rotate in with your top arm and reach underneath your armpit on the opposite side. Rotate back to the top, lower the hips down and repeat.  This is a more advanced movement and you should be able to execute a regular side plank and the twist separately before putting the two moves together. Do 3 sets of 10-15 repetitions on each side.

4/Extended plank walkout

From standing position, walk your hands down to the floor and into a plank/pushup position. Hold for a second, and walk back towards your feet.  If you have the strength you can walk your hands out further than the regular plank hold. This requires a lot more effort on your core. Make sure you keep your abs tight and don’t let your hips drop. Keep tension in your fingers as you reach back with your toes.

The core, which is connected to your inner and outer abdominals, back, hips, pelvis and glutes is essential in helping you establish a strong foundation for functional movement. Crunches and situps do not have the same effect since those type of movements isolate the muscles instead of having them work in conjunction. You entire body depends on a strong core so make sure you don’t neglect it!

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Cindy Lai

Why Kettlebells are effective


Kettlebell training is a multi-functional, versatile and practical method of exercise suitable for everyone from the sedentary individual to the elite athlete.  Any time you’ve had to pick up groceries, move heavy boxes, carry a child, take your luggage off the carousel or walk the dog, you’re basically working with a moving weight which does not stay still in motion.

Kettlebells are designed with a displaced center of gravity.  This means that you need to work harder to recruit your stabilizer muscles (ie, back and core muscles).  You can also work targeted muscles through a wider range of motion which dumbbells and barbells lack. Kettlebells strengthens joints, tendons, and ligaments. It improves posture and is very helpful in rehabilitating shoulders, knees and back pain through mobility and strength movements.

There are so many benefits with this type of functional training. Think of it as “one-stop shopping.”  Strength, cardio, balance, agility, coordination, mobility, and alignment are all addressed when using these cast iron weights.  Since you are working harder to recruit more muscles, you will increase fat burning by revving up your metabolism and building a lean physique over time. When done correctly, exercises such as kettlebell swings, turkish getups, renegade rows, etc. can help you strengthen your body collectively from head to toe.

The best thing is, you don’t need a gym and kettlebells are compact and cost effective.  When you’re short for time, this training is a great way to get an efficient and quick workout with maximum results.  It’s important to learn the right techniques from a certified instructor and not a youtube video in order to prevent injuries.  Kettlebell training is a skill which takes time to learn. The most effective exercises are not meant to operate in the same manner as conventional weight training.  Do your research and find a qualified instructor. Most of all, have fun! You may never look at fitness the same again.

If you need futher assistance, I also do online personal training sessions as well as my weekly outdoor Kettlebell Boot camp in the west village Saturday mornings at 10a.


Have a great week!

Cindy Lai Fitness


Kettlebell Concepts L1 & 2 Instructor, Group Instructor

Crossfit L1 Instructor





Short, simple, effective, fat-burning home workouts to help you stay healthy and lean


You don’t need to exercise for hours in order to get results, especially if you incorporate HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). Running on the treadmill or the elliptical for an extended period of time won’t give you the same benefits as interval training. That’s because cardio mainly works your heart. The latter requires much more effort as you use several muscle groups at once in addition to raising your heart rate.

Interval training is more effective in building strength and endurance while getting you into shape. Your body gets used to cardio very quickly so it’s important to mix it up. Also working out for a shorter period of time means you can go all out and expend more energy. This helps with an increase in metabolism, fat loss and lean muscle mass. Below are some quick workouts you can do at home:

  1. Tabata burpees = 4 minutes
    • 8 rounds of 20 seconds of work/10 seconds rest
    • Don’t be fooled as these 4 minutes will be tough and challenging. Set a pace for the first round and try to maintain that number every round.
  2. Ascending/Descending ladder 1-2-3-4-5-4-3-2-1
    • Broad jumps & Pushups
    • Start with 1 broad jump followed by 1 push-up. Then 2,2 in this fashion going up the ladder until you get to 5, then reverse the order.
  3. 6-minute EMOM (Every minute on the minute)
    • 5 squat jumps & 5 wall walkups
    • The goal is to be able to complete the movements above within the minute with at least 20 seconds of rest before proceeding to the next round. Adjust the numbers if it’s not feasible for you.
  4. 10-minute AMRAP (as many rounds as possible)
    • 5 Burpees
    • 10 Pushups
    • 20 Forward lunges

The best thing about these workouts is that you don’t need a gym. If you’re pressed for time, you can easily do these fat burning exercises at home or outdoors. Use what you have. Your body is the most valuable equipment you will own. There is no reason why you can’t make time for your health. Being healthy is a lifestyle. Schedule it in and plan ahead of time.

Incorporating interval training several times a week can get you into shape effectively, build lean muscle mass, help you tone up and burn fat. Skip the long cardio sessions and aim for practical instead if time is of the essence. Either way, you should always spice things up to avoid plateau and continue making progress. All you need is a few minutes.

Everything is possible!

Cindy Lai, NASM- CPT
Cindy Lai Fitness