Thrive: Smooth Moves While Getting Lost in the Music

FASTER Pittsburghʼs Hip Hop Cardio promises to get your workout into a groove.




photos by john altdorfer

 

An ongoing delusion that one day my hips magically will unlock has brought me to FASTER Pittsburgh in Robinson Township, where I’ve managed to squeeze into one of the few open spots for the Kam Jamz Hip Hop Cardio Class. 

As it turns out, “Kam” is my instructor, Kamela Niskach, who warmly insists that a complete lack of dexterity shouldn’t prevent me, or anyone else, from signing up.    

“I encourage no skill level at all,” she says before ticking off a survival guide for beginners: Keep an open mind. Have fun. Keep moving. Get lost in the music. Make it an experience.
 


 

I don’t doubt I’m going to be making the next 60 minutes an experience, both for myself and those around me.

​Niskach laughs off my skill assessment, her face lighting up with an effervescent smile. “We can chat after class,” she says. “If you don’t die first.”

We both enjoy the joke, heading into the gym where about two dozen girls and two guys are waiting. “Happy Fricking Monday!” Niskach's voice booms. “This is going to be a little athletic… you know what that means! OK, warm it up!”

Which we all begin to do; relatively easy moves that segue into the real deal.

Walk up four, back four, jumping jacks center… four, three, two, and out, clap clap…. Left knee, one, two, pull! Knee pull! Knee pull! Put your arms up… yeah! Alright! Alright! Pop, pop, squat! Pop, pop, squat! Squat huge! Do it again! Do it again!

Within about 15 minutes, my brain begins to flatline. System overload. Niskach goes right, I go left. Niskach goes down, I pop up. A woman who looks old enough to be my mother is grooving her heart out, and the gal in front of me pops, locks and drops like a backup dancer for J-Lo. I do notice that those who can follow her clear instructions are sweating profusely.
 


 

I try to follow along, another fail. Criss cross your foot! Step, high knee, boom, boom! Raise the roof… yeah! Glancing in the mirror, it’s as bad as I think it looks. By the time Niskach & Co. pop a handstand and kick into an aerial split, all I can do is laugh.   

“You did great!” she insists afterwards. 

I tell her she’s lying. “Come back and give it another shot!” she says. “The routines are all very similar ... You’ll pick it up!”
 


 

Verdict: Niskach's infectious personality ensures you can’t help but have fun with this one … even if you lack any smooth moves.

Faster Pittsburgh  •  4898 Campbells Run Road, Robinson Township; 412/489-6036, performfaster.com.
Drop-ins/$10 or $80/10 classes. There are no membership fees.
 

Eat This Month

Turmeric
Turmeric, a spice used frequently in Indian dishes, originates from the curcuma longa plant. It produces curcumin, shown to have anti-inflammatory benefits, antioxidant and anti-cancer properties, says registered dietitian Rita M. Singer of Connected Health. Combined, turmeric and curcumin are believed to alleviate inflammation caused by arthritis as well as support the liver, colon and cellular health. Recommended daily serving for adults is between 250-500 mg, to be taken with black pepper for absorption.
 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Best of the 'Burgh 2017

Best of the 'Burgh 2017

Host an event in Pittsburgh’s urban sustainable homestead. Join a club for mushroom hunters. Tour a coal mine. Listen to some banjo music. We list our new favorite experiences, food, drink, personalities, stores, items and activities in the ’Burgh.
Daytripping: The ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’

Daytripping: The ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’

Fourteen years ago this month, the mighty Kinzua Viaduct met its match.
Restaurant Review: The Café Carnegie

Restaurant Review: The Café Carnegie

The restaurant, run by Dinette’s Sonja J. Finn, boosts the dining experience at the Carnegie museums in Oakland.
Thrive: Smooth Moves While Getting Lost in the Music

Thrive: Smooth Moves While Getting Lost in the Music

FASTER Pittsburghʼs Hip Hop Cardio promises to get your workout into a groove.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

See The Tiny House with Room to Grow

See The Tiny House with Room to Grow

The housing company Module, a Pittsburgh start-up, creates an alternative housing model that grows in size as you grow in income.
Watch: Pittsburgh Penguins Video Tribute to Marc-André Fleury

Watch: Pittsburgh Penguins Video Tribute to Marc-André Fleury

With a tear in our eye, we bid the “Flower” Au Revoir.
Finally, a Faster Way From Pittsburgh to Oakland and Beyond

Finally, a Faster Way From Pittsburgh to Oakland and Beyond

A proposed route for new electric buses will connect 30,000 people throughout 24 neighborhoods.
Extras Wanted: Cate Blanchett Shooting Movie in Pittsburgh

Extras Wanted: Cate Blanchett Shooting Movie in Pittsburgh

“Where’d You Go, Bernadette,” a movie based on the best-selling comedic novel, will begin filming in the ‘Burgh next month.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Best of the 'Burgh 2017

Best of the 'Burgh 2017

Host an event in Pittsburgh’s urban sustainable homestead. Join a club for mushroom hunters. Tour a coal mine. Listen to some banjo music. We list our new favorite experiences, food, drink, personalities, stores, items and activities in the ’Burgh.
Daytripping: The ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’

Daytripping: The ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’

Fourteen years ago this month, the mighty Kinzua Viaduct met its match.
Restaurant Review: The Café Carnegie

Restaurant Review: The Café Carnegie

The restaurant, run by Dinette’s Sonja J. Finn, boosts the dining experience at the Carnegie museums in Oakland.
Thrive: Smooth Moves While Getting Lost in the Music

Thrive: Smooth Moves While Getting Lost in the Music

FASTER Pittsburghʼs Hip Hop Cardio promises to get your workout into a groove.
Curling in Pittsburgh: ‘It's Basically Golf and Chess on Ice’

Curling in Pittsburgh: ‘It's Basically Golf and Chess on Ice’

On the eve of its largest annual event, the Pittsburgh Curling Club has plans to increase Pittsburgh’s appreciation for its intricate sport.
Top Ten Things to Do in Pittsburgh in June

Top Ten Things to Do in Pittsburgh in June

This month's best bets in the ’Burgh.
Edit Module
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


See The Tiny House with Room to Grow

See The Tiny House with Room to Grow

The housing company Module, a Pittsburgh start-up, creates an alternative housing model that grows in size as you grow in income.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Pusadee's Garden Will Close at End of Year (But Not Forever)

Pusadee's Garden Will Close at End of Year (But Not Forever)

Look for some big changes at the Upper Lawrenceville restaurant, which is expected to shutter for at least a year.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
Best Places for Kids on Rainy Days in Pittsburgh

Best Places for Kids on Rainy Days in Pittsburgh

Read on for some under-the-radar ideas on how you and the kids can survive a rainy day this summer.

Comments


High-Wire Acts at Carnegie Science Center

High-Wire Acts at Carnegie Science Center

The North Shore landmark's new ropes course is a draw for adults and youths alike.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
History Can Wait Until Penguins Are Done Making It

History Can Wait Until Penguins Are Done Making It

The desire for more a year ago helped fuel the Penguins’ quest to repeat this season. Should their thirst for yet another Cup prove as unquenchable next season, there’s no limit to what they might yet achieve. Even a Three-peat.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Make the Cut with Jonathan Moran Woodworks

Make the Cut with Jonathan Moran Woodworks

The Strip District-based woodworker's cutting boards can be custom made with the wood of your choice.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
Buckle Up ... Again, as Cars 3 Hits Theaters

Buckle Up ... Again, as Cars 3 Hits Theaters

Reviews of "Cars 3" and "47 Meters Down," plus local movie news and notes.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Enchanting Summery Trends to Illuminate Your Wedding Palette

Enchanting Summery Trends to Illuminate Your Wedding Palette

You’ll definitely want to pin these new summer wedding trends to your Pinterest board.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
Blooming: Pittsburgh Botanic Garden Hosts Town & Country Tour

Blooming: Pittsburgh Botanic Garden Hosts Town & Country Tour

From a forest of Japanese maples to a rocky urban sanctuary, the annual tour covers 14 very different gardens across the East End.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
Visit Thiel College for a Summer BBQ

Visit Thiel College for a Summer BBQ

On three days this summer, the college will host visit days for prospective students.

Comments

Edit Module