Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

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 TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

The Latest

Kraft Heinz Squeezes Out New Ketchup with Vintage Taste

Can a recipe from 1896 still taste as good?

Tour It: Historic Wilkinsburg Mansion Gets a Makeover

The Junior League of Pittsburgh's Show House is a 112-year-old mansion featuring 28 rooms decorated by a different local design professionals.

Today’s Home Relocating North Hills Furniture Store

Owner Jeff Lenchner says a Discount Tire store will open in place of the store’s current location along McKnight Road in Ross Township.

Is Gabby Barrett the Next Carrie Underwood?

The 18-year-old singer from Munhall wowed the “American Idol” judges once again.

17 Vintage Photos of the Steel City of Old

Take a trip back to a very different Pittsburgh.

These Creative Couples Transformed the Traditional Guestbook

Find out why these couples ditched the traditional guestbook and instead chose a drum head, a giant wooden letter and a dictionary for their guests to sign.

PIT Turns to CMU to Make Airport Smartest in the World

The airport authority will use minds at CMU to discover ways to make it easier for passengers to get from the terminal’s parking lots to their seat on the plane.

Celebrate August Wilson's Birthday With a King and a Block Party

The ninth play in the 10-part Pittsburgh Cycle will open outside at the August Wilson House.

First Look: Soju in Garfield

Simon Chough’s Korean restaurant is six years in the making.

I Feel Pretty Isn't What You're Expecting (And That's Okay)

Reviews of "I Feel Pretty" and "Super Troopers 2," plus a rundown of events at the Pittsburgh Underground Film Festival.

Get Your Clark Bars While You Can – They May Soon Be Gone

Production of Pittsburgh native candy bar may halt if the current producer cannot find a new buyer.

Coughlin's Law Wants To Be Your Mount Washington Destination

Notes on the busy new bar and restaurant near Grandview Avenue.

The 2018 Return of the Burgh-y Mother's Day Gift Guide

It's back! From the dog mom to the working mom, we've got you covered with these locally made must-haves.

Patriot Games Can’t Diminish Harrison’s Place in Steelers History

James Harrison intimidated opposing players in a way not seen since the days of Jack Lambert and Mean Joe Greene.

Bruno Sammartino Dies; Wrestling's Longtime Champ Was 82

The Italian-born star died surrounded by family in his adopted home of Pittsburgh.
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags


Kraft Heinz Squeezes Out New Ketchup with Vintage Taste

Kraft Heinz Squeezes Out New Ketchup with Vintage Taste

Can a recipe from 1896 still taste as good?

Comments

Is Gabby Barrett the Next Carrie Underwood?

Is Gabby Barrett the Next Carrie Underwood?

The 18-year-old singer from Munhall wowed the “American Idol” judges once again.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
First Look: Soju in Garfield

First Look: Soju in Garfield

Simon Chough’s Korean restaurant is six years in the making.

Comments

New Chefs Coming to Smallman Galley

New Chefs Coming to Smallman Galley

Smallman Galley will rotate its third class of chef/owners this June … but this time there’s a twist.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
The 2018 Return of the Burgh-y Mother's Day Gift Guide

The 2018 Return of the Burgh-y Mother's Day Gift Guide

It's back! From the dog mom to the working mom, we've got you covered with these locally made must-haves.

Comments

The 5 Best Places to People Watch in Pittsburgh

The 5 Best Places to People Watch in Pittsburgh

A coffee shop, an iconic landmark, an airport and beyond — these are the best places to practice the art of people watching.

Comments


Coughlin's Law Wants To Be Your Mount Washington Destination

Coughlin's Law Wants To Be Your Mount Washington Destination

Notes on the busy new bar and restaurant near Grandview Avenue.

Comments

Smallman Galley Goes 3D With Its New Cocktail Menu

Smallman Galley Goes 3D With Its New Cocktail Menu

The bar team at the Strip District restaurant incubator continues its flights of fancy with Flashback Flavors.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Patriot Games Can’t Diminish Harrison’s Place in Steelers History

Patriot Games Can’t Diminish Harrison’s Place in Steelers History

James Harrison intimidated opposing players in a way not seen since the days of Jack Lambert and Mean Joe Greene.

Comments

Penguins Seeking 3-Peat With The Swagger of a Champion

Penguins Seeking 3-Peat With The Swagger of a Champion

The power play, star power and goaltending are among the primary weapons the Penguins have at their disposal in their quest for another championship. But so, too, is an unshakable belief they can hoist Lord Stanley's Cup three times in a row.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
I Feel Pretty Isn't What You're Expecting (And That's Okay)

I Feel Pretty Isn't What You're Expecting (And That's Okay)

Reviews of "I Feel Pretty" and "Super Troopers 2," plus a rundown of events at the Pittsburgh Underground Film Festival.

Comments

Despite The Rock, Rampage Is a Wild Misfire

Despite The Rock, Rampage Is a Wild Misfire

A review of "Rampage," plus an update on the former Friends of the Hollywood Theater and other local movie news.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
These Creative Couples Transformed the Traditional Guestbook

These Creative Couples Transformed the Traditional Guestbook

Find out why these couples ditched the traditional guestbook and instead chose a drum head, a giant wooden letter and a dictionary for their guests to sign.

Comments

The Best Ways to Reuse and Repurpose Wedding Decor

The Best Ways to Reuse and Repurpose Wedding Decor

From new decor in the home to donations to charity, check out these ways to repurpose leftover wedding decor.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
Tour It: Historic Wilkinsburg Mansion Gets a Makeover

Tour It: Historic Wilkinsburg Mansion Gets a Makeover

The Junior League of Pittsburgh's Show House is a 112-year-old mansion featuring 28 rooms decorated by a different local design professionals.

Comments

Today’s Home Relocating North Hills Furniture Store

Today’s Home Relocating North Hills Furniture Store

Owner Jeff Lenchner says a Discount Tire store will open in place of the store’s current location along McKnight Road in Ross Township.

Comments