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 Battle of The Hollywood

Dormont's historic Hollywood Theater faces an uncertain future after news of a potential sale prompted an immediate public furor.

Three Rivers Champion: Cecile Springer

A self-proclaimed “loudmouth,” Springer says her favorite part of volunteering is meeting other people and persuading them to do what she wants them to do.

Phantom Thread Is, Somehow, Both Unpleasant and Lovely

Reviews of "Phantom Thread," "Call Me By Your Name," "Den of Thieves" and new animated releases, plus local movie news and notes.

Nominate the Best! Pittsburgh Magazine's 2018 Readers' Poll

What is Pittsburgh's best breakfast joint? Dive bar? Yoga studio? Local singer? Meteorologist? It's time to nominate your local favorites in multiple categories.

Amazon Includes Pittsburgh in its Top-20 List for HQ2

The list of 20 was narrowed from 238 proposals Amazon received in October. So which other cities made the cut?

Restaurant Review: or, The Whale

The Downtown restaurant is a captivating, if costly, catch.

Celebrating 5 Pittsburghers Who Built Careers Behind the Bar

Pittsburgh is a city that celebrates its neighborhood bars. In some of those spots, second- and third-generation regulars are pulling up their stools to be served by someone who started pouring drinks decades ago.

Second Chances: Crossroads in the Kitchen

People working to overcome substance abuse problems and ex-offenders discover a welcoming environment in restaurant kitchens.

How to Pamper Yourself in Pittsburgh

Looking to beat the winter doldrums? We round up the best places and experiences for a little personal indulgence.

Miss Pusadee's Garden? We Have Some Good News.

The Tongdee family now operates Burgh Thai in Verona.

The Growing Popularity of Shooting a Clay Pigeon

Skeet shooting is taking off as a favored western Pennsylvania hobby.

Steelers' No. 1 Problem Makes Others Pale in Comparison

Until they solve it, the Steelers are more of a Fantasy League team than they are a Super Bowl team.

New series ‘$1’ to be filmed in Pittsburgh

The mystery thriller is latest to cash in on the city’s filming opportunities.

Andrew McCutchen: Thanks for the Memories

It's hard to overemphasize McCutchen's impact on the Pirates and its fan base.

How to Make a Mt. Washington Wedding Proposal Even Better

A lot of grooms-to-be propose on Mt. Washington. Not many decorate beforehand.
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags


Amazon Includes Pittsburgh in its Top-20 List for HQ2

Amazon Includes Pittsburgh in its Top-20 List for HQ2

The list of 20 was narrowed from 238 proposals Amazon received in October. So which other cities made the cut?

Comments

New series ‘$1’ to be filmed in Pittsburgh

New series ‘$1’ to be filmed in Pittsburgh

The mystery thriller is latest to cash in on the city’s filming opportunities.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Miss Pusadee's Garden? We Have Some Good News.

Miss Pusadee's Garden? We Have Some Good News.

The Tongdee family now operates Burgh Thai in Verona.

Comments

Bitter End’s Chicken Dinner Fundraiser

Bitter End’s Chicken Dinner Fundraiser

Chefs Becca Hegarty and Rick Easton to cook comfort food to help Hegarty’s mother.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
Nominate the Best! Pittsburgh Magazine's 2018 Readers' Poll

Nominate the Best! Pittsburgh Magazine's 2018 Readers' Poll

What is Pittsburgh's best breakfast joint? Dive bar? Yoga studio? Local singer? Meteorologist? It's time to nominate your local favorites in multiple categories.

Comments

Best of the ‘Burgh Gift Guide for 2017

Best of the ‘Burgh Gift Guide for 2017

Here are some of our favorite ‘Burgh-inspired gifts for him, her, kids, foodies and more.

Comments


The Battle of The Hollywood

The Battle of The Hollywood

Dormont's historic Hollywood Theater faces an uncertain future after news of a potential sale prompted an immediate public furor.

Comments

Tequila Cowboy: Fine For Some, Apparently a Bad Idea for Others

Tequila Cowboy: Fine For Some, Apparently a Bad Idea for Others

The bar, which hosted a bizarre incident involving a top Steelers coach, is fine enough for the post-collegiate set.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Steelers' No. 1 Problem Makes Others Pale in Comparison

Steelers' No. 1 Problem Makes Others Pale in Comparison

Until they solve it, the Steelers are more of a Fantasy League team than they are a Super Bowl team.

Comments

Steelers Must Avoid ‘Captain Ahab’ Approach to the Jaguars

Steelers Must Avoid ‘Captain Ahab’ Approach to the Jaguars

The Patriots are to the Steelers what Moby Dick was to Captain Ahab and that kind of obsession can backfire.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
Phantom Thread Is, Somehow, Both Unpleasant and Lovely

Phantom Thread Is, Somehow, Both Unpleasant and Lovely

Reviews of "Phantom Thread," "Call Me By Your Name," "Den of Thieves" and new animated releases, plus local movie news and notes.

Comments

The Post is Quite Good, I, Tonya is Even Better

The Post is Quite Good, I, Tonya is Even Better

Reviews of "The Post," "I, Tonya" and "The Commuter," plus local movie news and notes.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
How to Make a Mt. Washington Wedding Proposal Even Better

How to Make a Mt. Washington Wedding Proposal Even Better

A lot of grooms-to-be propose on Mt. Washington. Not many decorate beforehand.

Comments

These Elaborate Proposals Were Sure to Get a “Yes”

These Elaborate Proposals Were Sure to Get a “Yes”

Thinking of popping the question? Take a note from these grooms-to-be who set the bar high.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
Former Art Institute Housing to Be Converted into Condos

Former Art Institute Housing to Be Converted into Condos

Downtown is booming as plans develop for yet another new apartment building.

Comments

Lesson Learned: How Design Changed a North Allegheny Classroom

Lesson Learned: How Design Changed a North Allegheny Classroom

Frustrated by his sterile white classroom, teacher Greg Geibel earned an A+ from students when he transformed the space into something resembling a modern coffeehouse.

Comments