Schlepping to a New You

Undisputed center of the universe: The Astor Place Cube
photo: Holly Northrop/

In times of great struggle and hardship, we like to focus on any possible positive side-effects, especially those that appeal to our vanity. Now that the strike has robbed us of our morning nap on the Q train and reduced us to backpack-wearing, water bottle-toting speed walkers with chapped lips and cracked skin, we are hoping it at least means we're getting skinny.

We called Frank Balzano, a trainer at Crunch Gym, to find out whether our new regime will make up for the fact that we've never visited a Crunch, or any other exercise institution. Balzano was hesitant to make generalizations about how many calories people are burning. "Obviously, it's going to look pretty different for someone who's in shape and someone who's overweight," he said. "There's a lot of factors to figure out. That's why they pay us the big bucks." But he offered an estimated average, which matched up with a little Internet research.

The average walker is going about four miles an hour, burning about 350 calories an hour. The average biker is going about 15 miles an hour, burning about 500 calories an hour. The average cab rider burns about 100 calories an hour.

We took on a math challenge, which was pretty scary, and figured out what this means for people who are trekking from Brooklyn, Queens, and uptown to the center of our universe—the cube at Astor Place.

Fort Greene
From BAM: 3.3 miles
Walking: 288.75 calories burned
Biking: 165 calories burned

Park Slope
From Grand Army Plaza: 4.14 miles
Walking: 362.25 calories burned
Biking: 207 calories burned

From Kellogg's Diner: 2.4 miles
Walking: 210 calories burned
Biking: 120 calories burned

Carroll Gardens/Cobble Hill
From Cobble Hill Cinema: 3.14 miles
Walking: 274.75 calories burned
Biking: 157 calories burned

From the Apollo: 5.91 miles
Walking: 517.125 calories burned
Biking: 295.5 calories burned

From the Broadway N/W subway stop: 4.1 miles
Walking: 358.75 calories burned
Biking: 205 calories burned

If all these numbers just sound like numbers to you, Frank was kind enough to simplify things and speculate that in five business days, New Yorkers might lose about two pounds by walking to and from work, or about three pounds by biking. If you take a car, it's obviously not looking as good.

Before hanging up, we asked Frank where he lives. Brooklyn. Did he walk to work? "No, I drove," he said.

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