In the November issue of SELF, Ugly Betty star and 2000 Penn grad, Becki Newton, shows off her skills in more ways than one: the fearless actress not only agreed to grace the cover of the magazine but also penned a contributing article.
For her debut piece, Newton takes us through a week of pushing herself to try new things, namely in the body-boosting arena. Her daily challenges range from a gymnastics workout at New York’s Chelsea Piers to kayaking on the Hudson River and finally (looks like she took some of our advice) hit up the dance floor with some booty-shaking salsa lessons.
Here’s a sneak peak of what she had to say about the project:
“Taking myself out of my comfort zone for seven days straight sounded like a daunting, practically impossible task. But a strange and amazing thing happened. The more I dared, the braver I became. I finished my kayaking lesson by paddleboarding for the first time because I saw a board in the water and was curious. One “Why not?” can lead to others. And they can be contagious.”
So try out your own week of “Why Nots,” or at least give this Penn grad’s motivating article a skim.
Where: 3527 Lancaster Avenue
What: All Levels Baptiste Power Vinyasa Yoga – 90 min class
When: afternoon and evening 90-minute classes
Cost: $12 with a student I.D.
Whether you’re looking to beat the heat or just unwind from the end-of-semester stress, there’s nothing like hot yoga to get things moving. And at Power Yoga Works, it’s definitely worth the short hike over to 36th and Lancaster. The studio features one large, bare studio space with two large heaters that bring the room temperature up to 95-100 degrees.
The result? The sauna-like environment loosens your muscles and helps you detoxify your body as you work through the series of limbering vinyasa flows. The instructors are both instructive and inspiring, helping guide you through each position and flow. Don’t worry if you’re a first-time yogi: you can either drop in on a basics class, or try their $90 six week course tailored to beginners. Lastly, they cater to a Penn-heavy crowd, so don’t be surprised to see a few familiar faces at this laid-back locale.
One word of advice: bring a mat, towel and water bottle. And if you’re worried about slipping, definitely try one of the Skidless mat toppers by Yogitoes—they’ll keep you from sliding all over your mat.
Without a doubt, the food trucks around campus were designed for the always-on-the-go Penn student: they’re cheap, appetizing, and you can always grab a quick lunch before sprinting to D.R.L.
Only drawback: the trucks run the gamut from heart healthy to cholesterol minefield. Here are our top three for quality food cart dining. Fast food doesn’t have to be your typical high-cal stand-by.
- Bui’s: Sure, it boasts the “hangover special”, but this zinger is one of the reasons Bui’s slides into the top three. The sausage, egg, and cheese provides the optimal carb and protein pairing to give you enough energy to conquer a massive Van Pelt session, while an electrolyte-filled Gatorade will help you rehydrate.
- Tie: The Fruit Truck and The Fruit Lady: Of course, it’s hard to go wrong with fresh fruit. Our only beef with these two fruit stands is the lack thereof. While fresh fruit provides an incomparable amount of fiber, antioxidants and other nutrients, skimp on protein and you’ll find yourself flagging as your day wears on. BYOP (protein) or just hit up one of these two for an afternoon snack.
- Magic Carpet: It’s no wonder the lines at the two on-campus Magic Carpets are always twenty deep around lunch time. The truck provides quick and easy Middle Eastern food at its best: from to-die-for falafel to pita-wrapped sandwiches, every option is both healthy and vegetarian. But don’t dismiss it as rabbit food—the extensive menu provides a well-balanced slew of spicy, delicious, and filling offerings.
Worst offender? The heart-attack on wheels currently parked at Spruce at 38th. Yes, we’re looking at you, GiGi and Big R’s.
This past week, I got bombarded by inspirational messages from all my non-Penn Tri Delt friends proclaiming “You’re beautiful just the way you are!” or sending email links to the newly created OperationBeautiful.com—a website that aims to share similar messages of body-acceptance.
The nationwide sorority’s annual “Fat Talk Free” Week, from October 19-23, promotes a worthwhile cause—that women shouldn’t suffer as a result of the thin ideal—and yet I was surprised by the relative silence on Penn’s campus. Last year, Penn’s Delta Delta Delta chapter, paired with the Reflections Body Image Program, held an event honoring the week—but sadly did not follow up with a second event this time around.
Even though we’re obviously bummed that Penn missed out on an opportunity for a discussion on the importance of a positive self-image, you should definitely consider embracing this international event.
Just a few stats that all of Penn’s perfectionists out there should consider before beating themselves up, courtesy of endfattalk.org:
- More than 2/3 of women ages 18-25 would rather be mean or stupid than be fat and over 50% would rather be hit by a truck.
- Fashion models are thinner than 98% of women.
- 1 in 4 women have avoided engaging in a physical activity or sport because they feel badly about the way they look.
Here’s to hoping that women on campus can learn to be more comfortable in the skin they are in!
Each time September rolls around, students inevitably flock to Pottruck with the ambitious intentions of “new year, new me” resolutions or in attempt to ward off the dreaded Freshman (or Senior) Fifteen. Instead of waiting and silently cursing that girl who ignores the 25 minute treadmill limit, there are better ways to avoid the Penn rush and still get in your health-boosting cardio. Our favorite?
Take advantage of the lingering summer nights and head down to Old City for one of Cuba Libre’s famous after-dinner dance sessions. Every weekend, when 11:30pm rolls around, the Cuban restaurant pushes back its tables, throws open its front windows and turns the music on.
As long as you go easy on their killer mojitos, the spicy mix of salsas, merengues and bachatas will get your heart rate up, strengthen your legs and core and work your entire body. And unlike your standard bump-and-grind on the Smokes dance floor, these Latin dances require more full-body movement and coordination than your typical Saturday night. In just two hours, you’ll burn over 700 calories and the dancing and pre-Havana vibe will make you forget the intense workout you’re getting at the same time.
And if you’re worried about not knowing the steps—no problem. Cuba Libre caters to newbies, providing free salsa lessons from time to time, so you wont be the only one. Just grab a partner, enjoy their free cover, and salsa the night away.