FHITspiration Amy Knepper

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With the TCS New York City Marathon around the corner, thousands of runners are lacing up their sneakers and preparing to embark on this impressive feat of endurance. Among this group of athletes is Amy Knepper, an avid runner and frequent FHIXer who created a charity to support Mount Sinai Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Keep reading to learn what inspired Amy to create TEAM ANDI and the role FHIXes play in her marathon training.

Describe your first FHIXperience.

It was invigorating! I liked reading on the whiteboard what was expected of me so I could mentally prepare and physically plan out the next 50 minutes.  I also really liked that there were 2 instructors.

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What brought you to Fhitting Room and who was leading the class?

My friend Eve Schenk is an avid FR athlete.  She was always raving about it so I tried it with her.  We took Daury’s class; his personality had me smiling throughout the entire 50 minutes.  I appreciated his workout instructions, which were honest, candid, to the point, and safe.

How did you feel before, during, and after your first FHIX? 

I loved it…until the FHIX at the end that really pushed me and made me love it even more.

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Tell us about the charity you’re running for. What inspired you to start TEAM ANDI and what are your goals for the charity?

My daughter Andi was born 3 months premature.  She lived in an incubator at Mount Sinai Hospital’s Neo-Intensive Care Unit for the first 11 weeks of her life.  Not being able to live with her, bond with her, experience her first bath, her first diaper change, and be able to sleep next to her was a heartache I feel no parent should experience.

I took my passion for running and formed TEAM ANDI.  We run and raise funds to build private family suites within the NICU for families to live with their at-risk newborns.  We already have 1 room and are almost done with our second.  It’s also extremely inspiring for all of our runners that Mount Sinai’s NICU sits at mile 23 of the TCS NYC course.  To run past those little athletes who are fighting for survival gives us an extra burst of inspiration to push through those final 3.2 miles of the race.

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What has the process for starting and running Team Andi been like?

I love knowing that future families with premature newborns will be able to bond from the start as a family unit from the sweat, running high, time commitment, passion, and heart of TEAM ANDI athletes.

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You’re quite the runner! How has Fhitting Room helped you train for marathons?

Cross training is very important.  You need to have strong, durable muscles to complete and compete in a marathon.  To only run is not how you train for a marathon.  Running alone will make you more injury prone and bored.  You need to work your entire body.

What moves have you learned that most beneFHIT your training?

I like the efficient warm up–I use some of those 2 minute exercises pre-run, and the rowing machine is critical to working out muscles you need for running.

How do you work Fhitting Room into your training schedule?

I only run 3 times a week.  Sometimes only 2… The other days I do FR, Spin or Barre classes or rest.

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What role does HIT training play in helping you prepare for long runs?

I work muscles in HIT that I wouldn’t typically strengthen.  I’m also forced to do some exercises I might not otherwise enjoy or choose to do, which is good.  You never know when you might need those not always used muscles to compensate for a tired muscle or an injury (which you hope never happens, but is realistic).

Who are your favorite FHITpros and what draws you to them?

Daury, Dara, Mat and Dennys, I always leave with a great sweat and they correct my form when needed.

Do you have any favorite Fhitting Room moves?

I like the Ski erg which is bizarre since it has nothing to do with leg strength.

What about least favorites?

THOSE EVIL BIKES.

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How will you celebrate after completing the New York City Marathon?

We host a TEAM ANDI party with lots of toasts and food to refuel while we wear our medals proudly.   All TEAM ANDI runners celebrate together with friends and family.  My kids, Eli and Andi, are my biggest fans, I love getting that first sweaty cold snuggle in the park from them post finish line as they fight over who gets to wear mommy’s medal first.

Do you have any other races on the horizon?

I just completed Chicago last Sunday, and I’m signed up to run Boston in April 2018, , which will be my 20th marathon.

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FHITSPIRATION: KIRA HERSCH

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At first glance, Kira Hersch is a normal NYC (superFHIT) mom. Upon closer examination, however, a few things stand out: her waist length hair (that she wears in two long braids that resemble battle ropes), her love for gangster rap and sneakers, and the fact that her pregnancy with her son Clark caused her to go into heart failure.

Kira was a total spin addict before she got pregnant. She knew she wanted to continue her fitness regimen throughout her pregnancy, so she didn’t slow down once she got the good news. As she got further along things started to get difficult. She found herself out of breath earlier on in class and she started to have trouble taking full, complete breaths.  Soon, her morning commute to Grand Central was extremely difficult and she struggled to walk even a single subway block. At first, doctors assured her that some changes were expected during pregnancy; but eventually, they realized that someone in such great shape shouldn’t be having such difficulty breathing.

A few weeks prior to her son’s due date and after several tests, Kira was diagnosed with Peripartum Cardiomyopathy.  Peripartum Cardiomyopathy, or PPCM, is a rare form of heart failure that can happen to pregnant women between the last month of their pregnancy and several months after delivery. Essentially, the heart cannot contract forcefully enough to adequately pump blood to vital organs. Often PPCM goes undetected as the common signs and symptoms mimic those typical of late stage pregnancy.

After the birth of her son and understanding the severity of her condition, Kira was determined to exercise not only to get back in shape after having a child, but to strengthen her heart. In those first days of exercise, she felt like there was an elephant sitting on her chest when she was simply pushing a stroller around the city. But Kira was determined not to let the diagnosis of PPCM stop her from achieving her goals, so she took her son for a walk in his stroller every day… right past Fhitting Room.

Eventually, Kira walked into a class and her life changed forever.

We caught up with Kira (after class, of course, because we definitely couldn’t keep up with her during the FHIX) and asked her about how she dealt with everything that was thrown her way.

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Peripartum Cardiomyopathy (PPCM) is so rarely spoken about. How were you finally able to arrive at the diagnosis, and what helped you through the process afterwards?

I am very fortunate to have had a fantastic team of Cardiologists who ultimately discovered the weakening of my heart. Had it not been for their comprehensive testing, I can’t even imagine what the potential outcome could have been.  Many people have asked me if I was scared after receiving the diagnosis, and of course, I was terrified.  Becoming a new mother with a serious diagnosis was overwhelming, I never expected my recovery after delivery to be in the Cardiac Critical Unit.  I can’t help but laugh, as I had this elaborate “birth plan” and I can assure you, it didn’t come anywhere close to what I experienced.  What significantly helped me after my diagnosis was to take life day by day.  I didn’t let the fear of the future unknowns overwhelm me.  I simply set tiny goals for each day and every day that I had a good day and felt ok was a huge victory for me.  I had a little mantra in my mind that I would just keep telling myself which was, “I can and I will get through this, getting better is the only way.”  I wouldn’t let any negative thoughts enter my mind, and I simply focused on what I needed to do to get better.  I was on multiple medications after my delivery for my heart, and there were a lot of less than favorable side effects. While I could not control that, I knew I could control exercising to make my heart stronger.  So each day I set a little goal, just to be able to walk a little longer, or a little faster.  I remember barely being able to push my son in his stroller without being out of breath. So eventually when I was able to take a Fhitting Room class and really push myself, it was a huge personal victory for me.

Who instructed the first class you took at Fhitting Room, and what inspired you to keep coming back?

Simon was my first instructor at the old location on Lexington.  I’ll never forget those first classes. Simon was friendly, welcoming and I never felt intimidated by the class or the program. As he always said: “everything is scalable!”.  I think Simon has probably seen the most of my progress over the years, he’s the reason why I completed my first box jump a couple years ago, and the reason why now I can jump on those 26’ boxes without fear.  I’ve been inspired to come back to Fhitting Room because I absolutely love the class, the FHITpros, the music, and the FHITfriends I have met along the way.  I love the community feel, and I’ve met so many wonderful people from the instructors to other FHIXers in class. Fhitting Room has offered me a class where I can really see my strength progress over the years. I remember when I used to swing kettlebells from the top rack, and now it gives me such a feeling of accomplishment to pull those kettlebells from the bottom rack!

What makes the biggest impression on you during a class? (music, programming, etc.?)

The FHITpros by far make the biggest impression on me during a class.  For the longest time I have been a part of the “Sunday Funday” 4pm class at 67th with Daury and Simon.  I love the energy that Daury and Simon have and I find myself laughing so much through class, and I love that.  Not only am I getting a great workout, but I am having fun while doing it and it doesn’t get much better than that.  I love the encouragement too. Simon, Daury, and Troy have all been known to see right when I am losing steam and to offer me some words that keep me going stronger.  And of course the music, Daury knows my love for Kanye, so there have been many times where I am fading and then he puts that Yeezy fire on for me and somehow I find some energy left in the tank.

How has Fhitting Room helped you in your post-partum transformation?

The Fhitting Room has honestly been such a happy place for me.  In my post-partum transformation and of course in my recovery from PPCM, I can confidently say that the fantastic programming of Fhitting Room has helped me to become the strongest that I have ever been in my life at 36 years old!  I am able to lift things I never thought possible and my great cardiovascular health was just confirmed at my recent Stress Echo test!  So while dropping the baby weight fast was a nice little bonus, I am mostly proud of my physical strength, and especially my heart’s strength.  My transformation is one of the most significant things in my life that I am proud of and I hope that my story can continue to inspire others.  I often speak to other women who are pregnant or post- partum and I take great pride in sharing the importance of healthy and safe exercise as I strongly believe that exercise played a major role in why I am here today to share my story.  My story and transformation has ignited this passion of mine to reach more women to inspire them to begin their fitness journeys and I am working on turning this into something even greater.

One of the benchmarks for people who have experienced heart problems is the stress echo. Can you tell us about your experience with yours?

The stress echocardiogram is a test that I have just about yearly to monitor how my heart is pumping under stress and recovery.  One of the most important features of the test is measuring my Left Ventricle ejection fraction, which sees how well my heart is pumping out blood with each contraction. To give you an idea, when I was diagnosed with PPCM my Ejection Fraction was in the low 20%, and now I am fully recovered to a low normal of 55% where normal is anywhere from 55-70%.   The test involves a treadmill and then the sonogram of my heart.  Among my Cardiologists it has now become a joke, each time I take a test I see how long I can stay on the treadmill before reaching my maximum heart rate.  I can say that this time I lasted over 12 minutes, putting me in the 95% percentile for the test!

What you went through with your first pregnancy was scary, are you considering having more children after your experience?

After my diagnosis there were a lot of unknowns.  My husband Rory and I are very grateful for the child that we have and that I had survived the diagnosis and we are comfortable with that.  Initially we were told that future children might not be a possibility and it would depend on my outcomes.  Of course, no one wants to have that possible choice taken away from them and it was certainly something we struggled with.  We are very fortunate to say that because of my faster than expected complete recovery from PPCM, my medicines being discontinued so fast, and the continual showing of improvement in my heart strength and function, that we have been cleared by my doctors to have more children.  So stay tuned, maybe there will be another future little FHIXer, so send us all of the good strong heart vibes :)

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14,410 Feet: FHITspiration Ben M.

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When we first met Ben Milakofsky, we were wondering why a former West Wing staffer from the Obama administration would be interested in working at Fhitting Room. Needless to say, we were intrigued and wanted to meet him. Now that Ben has been a part of our FHITfam for over 6 months, we are excited to share in his own words his most FHITspirational achievement – climbing Mt. Rainier. Read on to hear how Ben first found Fhitting Room and how getting his FHIX prepared him for one of the biggest physical challenges of his life.

The height of the fiercest mountain in the lower 48. An episodically active composite volcano.

14,410 feet.

The peak of Mt. Rainier. Columbia Crest to be specific.

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Out of my reach during my first summit attempt in May 2016, I knew I would go back the following year.

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And I don’t get there without Fhitting Room and their lunges, squats, thrusters, box jumps, rowers, assault bikes, and yes – burpees!

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In August of 2016, I reached out to a friend living in NYC. I was traveling from DC to NYC for a wedding and I asked her for a running route as we were both training for the Chicago marathon. The humidity was in full effect and temperatures were expected to reach 97 degrees. Not exactly ideal conditions for an 18-mile run when you don’t know the water fountain locations or which bridges, highways, and parks to visit.

My friend is a long time Fhixer, a Boston marathon qualifier, and a stellar athlete. She countered my running plan, suggesting a challenging HIIT workout at Fhitting Room. My weekly routine included HIIT classes, Yasso 800’s, a few intermediate runs, a local spinning studio, and one long run each week. HIIT is my favorite I thought – why not give Fhitting Room a try?

I was nursing a headache and searching for a good sweat. Although, I wasn’t feeling my best, I naively felt ready for this. Within 15 minutes I was panting on the floor wondering how I was supposed to do banded pull-ups for 60 seconds straight as part of a circuit.

“WHAT IS THIS?!” I thought.

Of course, I was hooked and took my second intro class a few weeks later during a follow up trip at the end of the month.

Fast forward a few months.

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My position in DC was coming to an end and I found myself emailing info@fhittingroom.com. After an incredible adventure that included stops in the White House and the U.S. Department of the Interior (and a quick trip to Baghdad), I was relocating to NYC to be closer to family. That much was certain. Everything else felt up in the air. But I was going back to Rainier in July.

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Facing an extended break, I was hoping Fhitting Room would allow me to work a few shifts a week in exchange for the ability to take classes. I didn’t know who would read the note but I honestly told them: “I can’t think of a better fitness studio to support given how much I loved the classes I took.”  They were curious, the timing was great as they prepared to open a third location, and invited me to visit for a conversation. They wanted to know why I was interested in them. In my mind, it was simple.

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Training at sea level isn’t ideal training conditions for mountaineering. There are vertical inside stairwells, but you can’t really use your ice axe and crampons on NYC stairs. How else was I going to prepare my core, quads, hamstrings, and calves for this? Hiking in Shenandoah last time wasn’t enough. Climbing a mountain is technical and it is not hiking. Running stairs with a 44lb vest for short sprints wasn’t going to be enough either. Spinning and running – nope. My workout plan needed to adjust if I was going to summit. I remembered my time on the floor last August and thought I found my anchor.

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Unfortunately, I had an unexpected surgery in mid-April and I would only have two months to truly train for the climb. Again, it is NOT a hike. People die annually on this mountain and I would need to give it my all. Over the next two months, I would take 25 Fhitting Room classes and have now taken over 40 classes since I moved to NYC at the end of winter. I could feel myself getting stronger and mountain ready throughout training. With each set of lunges and squats, I could set my sights on Rainier’s upper mountain. Over time, I could feel my body composition changing. As the FHITpros suggested a distance on the rower and calories on the assault bike, I saw those numbers as a minimum instead of a goal. With May rolling into June and then July, I found myself adding extensions to my box jumps to make the height more challenging. My body was evolving and the incredible trainers at Fhitting Room were helping me prepare to achieve my goal. The FHITpros corrected my form, encouraged my push, and motivated me throughout each class.

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Often, I would double and triple my workout by adding in other studio classes. My Sunday routine became a quadruple workout for endurance. But I would always go to Fhitting Room first as it was the most challenging and most rewarding. There were days where I would walk stairs with a 44lb vest for hours, but only after Fhitting Room. I needed to build endurance but the right kind of endurance.

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I was finally going back. A few days in Seattle including my first hike at Mt. Si, I was heading back to the mountain. Following gear check, we had our safety training day. You learn how to climb the mountain including proper breathing and walking techniques. They also teach you how to correctly use your ax and crampons. This includes the self-arrest technique should you or someone on your rope team fall. Finally, on Wednesday, July 26 we set off to climb the mountain.

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We spent the morning climbing and gaining 4700 vertical feet before arriving at Camp Muir – the half way point – and an elevation of approximately 10,188 feet. Our group of 18 arrived in early afternoon, mostly smiling and some nursing some wicked mountaineering boot blisters. I went with preventative medicine and wrapped duct tape around my heels. A quick 3:30pm dinner was followed by a short rest. The guides woke us up for breakfast at 10 p.m. and we would depart by 11.

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Unlike last time when I never saw the mountain until I drove to the airport, the views were spectacular and the weather was largely cooperative. You could see Mt. Adams, Mt. St. Helens, and even Mt. Hood in Oregon during the day. At night, the sky was stunningly beautiful. I wanted to gaze at the stars for hours, but the task at hand would require my full attention.

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We climbed through Cathedral Gap which is largely rockfall and traversed over to Ingraham Flats. After a short break for food and water, we headed to a brutal and vertical section of the upper mountain that is aptly named Disappointment Clever. It is largely exposed rock and they pull your rope team in close. We would scramble in silence with our feet and legs pounding. There are very narrow sections and I forgot to walk the proper way. A few times, I pulled on the person in front of me making their climb a little harder.   Finally, we reached the top of the cleaver which is approximately 12,300 feet. Half way to the summit and it was now about 2 a.m.

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A few team members decided to head back down. We were told to make a final decision. We had several hours left but if we continued we had to go all the way to the summit. Get food and water and decide quickly. I faced this decision last year at high break which is approximately 13,500 feet and the final resting location before the summit. Choosing to head down 90 minutes before reaching the summit in 2016 remains one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made. Going up is optional but coming down is mandatory. It sounds obvious but it’s a nearly impossible decision to make while you are sucking wind on the mountain. Breathing gets particularly difficult on the upper mountain above 10,000 feet.

Admonished by our lead guide for pulling on the rope, I had doubts of whether I should continue. I felt great but then again I was pulling. That wasn’t good and I asked what I should do. His response, “You got this, Ben. You should keep going.” Relieved but a little unsure, I thought for another minute. I wasn’t ready to come down. I felt good. My legs and core were fresh from training. Let’s do this!

14,410 feet.

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The guides are constantly evaluating the conditions on the mountain. You climb at night to minimize risk. This time of year, large crevasse’ open and sometimes you can’t safely cross with a ladder. These deep fractures in the ice field are dangerous. The decision had been made to traverse half way across the mountain, switch to a different glacier and climb up the Emmons Glacier route. This would mean losing 300 vertical feet which we would have to regain (and also have to address on the way down). We added another 45 minutes to our ascent climb but we eventually made it to the final break for water and food. Throughout the night climb and its most solitary moments, I focused on what I had accomplished these past 8 weeks. I had graduated to new weights of kettlebells for dead lifts, swings, and lunges. Finally, I could handle a modified wall stand and my distance on the rower had achieved new heights.

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It was about an hour away and I was utterly exhausted. Climbing can be lonely and quiet for long stretches other than important instructions from the guide. Given the conditions on the mountain, we were roped in near each other, which was different than last time, and we casually talked to pass the time. But I couldn’t talk any more. 3 seconds of breathing in followed by 1 second of pushing out really hard. 3 seconds of breathing in and PUSH. At this altitude, you need to discharge the CO2 and get oxygen to your body. It’s now frigid and the wind is picking up to 25-30mph.

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We departed for the final part of our summit ascent and it was extremely vertical. I muttered curse words and took big, deep breaths. We finally reached the base of the summit at 5:30am just as the sun was up. It is cold and windy up there! “Congratulations – you officially summited,” they said. Technically it wasn’t the final peak but it was optional to go the final stretch. I tried to move and fell back down. I contemplated staying there when someone correctly said, “you are 50 vertical feet (about ten minutes) from the summit. Get your ass up there.”

Ok. OK. I listened. Slowly I clawed my way to Columbia Crest by 5:45am. I just summited but I was only half way…coming down is mandatory.

14,410 feet.

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I honestly wouldn’t have gotten there this year without Fhitting Room. I will always appreciate the opportunity they gave me while knowing I wouldn’t stay forever. I may have another full time job now working as the Chief of Staff at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum, but I love this team (and FHITfam!). You can find me at the front desk on Saturdays. I will probably be complaining about the awful walk down that mountain for months.

 

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FHITspiration: Sammi Farber

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Meet Sammi.

Sammi first caught our attention with an emotionally charged and courageous post on her Instagram feed back on January 27th, 2017. She spoke of a difficult breakup that triggered a downward spiral in her life and how she recently discovered Fhitting Room, which helped her rediscover her light, her soul and her heart. We reached out to see if she’d contribute to a FHITspiration post about the emotional beneFHITs she discovered at Fhitting Room, and in return we received a truly moving account written by a woman in the midst of a serious struggle with an eating disorder who was brave enough to share her battle in an effort to help others.

Sammi is currently in rehabilitation, and as her FHITfamily, we are in her corner 100%. We are sharing her story, in her words, about her struggle during her battle, not after recovery. Sammi specifically asked for her story to be shared now while she seeks recovery.

Our goal in sharing Sammi’s own words during this difficult time is to help anyone else who may have issues. In that spirit, Sammi provided us with the names of two incredible organizations that offer resources for anyone facing similar challenges, and while we love our frequent FHIXers, we do not recommend 100 FHIXes in under 100 days for anyone.
http://theprojectheal.org/
http://nationaleatingdisorders.org/

Sammi’s Story (in her words):

I have spent pretty much my whole life battling with something called Body Dysmorphic Disorder. When people ask what that means, I tell them it’s like living in a fun house, like the ones at amusement parks, where every mirror gives you a warped image of yourself. That’s what I see every time I look at a mirror, photo or video of myself. Though I wish I could say I see the image that makes you super tall and slim, that’s not the case. The topic of eating disorders tends to be unspoken until after recovery. I guess people want to hear the happy ending or the “success story”, rather than the process, before knowing the outcome. It’s kind of like jumping on a diet that’s advertised everywhere. You’re much more likely to sign up when you see a before and after photo rather than just the before. But, to me, the process and the struggle, is what’s most relatable and where I’m at currently. The process doesn’t have to be a dark and twisted journey full of shame. I look at my struggle as a positive journey to finding the best person I can be. Everyone’s journey is unique, and this is just a small glimpse into mine and how Fhitting Room has been so much more than just a boutique work out class; Fhitting Room has been a support system and has played a very important role in starting my road to recovery. 

Last year, during my final year studying at The Culinary Institute of America, I went through a horrible break up. It felt like the end of the world, which I’m sure many have experienced, and if you haven’t, well, you haven’t lived, but anyway, this sent me on a downward spiral. My self-worth was questionable before, but now it was really non-existent. I began to feel out of control, and the only thing I could control was my diet and exercise routine. I began to work out like a maniac, going to the school gym three times a day, doing strictly cardio for hours. I also started a diet, which eliminated processed foods, but when I saw how easy it was to eliminate certain food groups, I eventually restricted myself from many foods. As you can imagine, going to CIA, food was my life and now it turned into my enemy. Everything was “bad” and would make me “fat” through my lens. Some days I would stick to my restrictions and other days I would binge. My weight was a constant yo-yo, along with my diet. This eventually led me to develop an eating disorder called Orthorexia. The general definition for this is someone who shows symptoms of obsessive behavior in pursuit of a healthy diet, which is exactly what I did. I eliminated just about everything, which lead me to a diet that consisted solely of raw fruits and vegetables, and I forced myself to workout after just about every meal.

After graduation last July, I jumped into my new career as food and beverage manager at the Waldorf Astoria, which lead me to my life in the city. I had a job that consumed 12-14 hours of every day. Work took over and my scale went up. This brought me to December 3rd, my birthday, and my worst binge experience which made me realize how badly I needed to get myself together, and there I was back at square one. I jumped back into a raw plant based diet knowing restriction “worked” for me, but for some reason the weight wasn’t coming off as quickly as it had before. Knowing my current #cardiolife wasn’t helping me achieve my goal, I was desperate to find a new workout routine. I needed something with structure that would hold me accountable. I tried a personal trainer and various studios for about two weeks, but nothing stuck, or I should say nothing “fhit.” I joined a fitness group on Facebook one morning and wrote a post asking for recommendations on classes in the city, thinking someone had to know something that I didn’t. About an hour later a girl messaged me telling me I had to try a place called the Fhitting Room. I did a quick Google search, saw a video of people doing all these crazy moves like box jumps, jungle gym mountain climbers and burpees and thought I would die, so naturally I booked class for later that day.

Walking into my first class I had no idea what to actually expect, sure I had seen the video but I remember looking at the board and feeling like it might as well have been a foreign language. My first class was with Daury and Simon. I don’t remember much from the class itself, but one thing that stuck with me was when the class ended, Daury came up to me and asked me how I felt and told me I did a great job. That’s something I love about Fhitting Room classes.  First timers get reassured that everyone starts somewhere. The FHITpros are there and aware if it’s your first time, and they make you as comfortable as possible, keep you safe and motivate you. Something must have clicked because I was back for round two the next day. One thing I do remember from that first class was telling Daury I had a problem with burpees because of my wrist and couldn’t do them; confession time, the only problem I had was that I hated burpees (sorry D), but I’m pretty sure he caught on because the next week when I was still doing squat thrusts he said, “you’re doing burpees today, no more excuses.” I think that’s one of the craziest parts of progress, a single burpee used to be my worst nightmare, now I can do 60 during a FHIX and don’t think twice about it because of the strength I’ve built.

In the past, I never really stuck to a workout routine for long. I was always looking for the newest “belly blaster” or “beach bod in 30 days” type of quick fix. Over 200 classes later, I now know that it’s not about a “quick fix.” Fhitting Room has helped me realize that. I completed my first hundred classes in under a hundred days, and I decided that was going to be my “thing.” I respond well to goal setting and decided I would set a goal for myself to complete every hundred classes in under a hundred days. I know this sounds a little crazy to some people, but to me, coming to Fhitting Room is not just an insane workout. I’m not going to lie, up until recently, I would say 95% of the reason I would double-up was because I felt I ate too much that day; my workouts used to be all about the calories I felt I needed to burn. But now, it’s a little different. I still have a long road ahead of me, but this place has become like a sanctuary for me. I go to all three studios and have taken class with just about every FHITpro. I truly believe I speak for just about every Fhitting Room go-er when I say the FHITpros keep us coming back. And for me, honestly, it’s not just the FHITpros who I come to see, it’s every single person. It’s the trainers, the managers, the faces that greet me when I walk in and most importantly the people I take class with. Other FHIXers are a constant source of motivation throughout class. The people who work at Fhitting Room are some of the most genuine, funny, welcoming people I have ever encountered. Now, I would say 95% of the reason I go to Fhitting Room is the people, but I’d being doing a disservice if I didn’t recognize the results the workout produces. For someone who suffers from body dysmorphia, I don’t really see much of a change when I look in the mirror; however, looking at pictures and comparing myself from the day before I started class to now is mind boggling. I obviously fixate on weight and the number I see on my scale, that’s something I battle every day, but at least now I am building muscle that I never had before, which is an indescribable feeling. I know I am so much stronger now than I was in December, but my results are not just physical. I am a much stronger person in general. Even though I still struggle with thoughts of numbers on my scale, I can confidently say, going to Fhitting Room is part of my daily routine because it makes me genuinely happy. I used to wake up and jump on a treadmill and hate life for hours; now I can’t tell you the last time I was on one of those – my guess is somewhere around 200 days ago. 

Fhitting Room genuinely changed, and is still in the process of changing, my life. When people get to know me they are sometimes taken back by how open I am about body dysmorphia and my eating disorder. I used to keep it to myself and was ashamed of it like so many others, but with the support of so many at Fhitting Room, I have come to the realization that there isn’t enough light shed on the subject, especially in the fitness industry. Usually when you hear someone’s story, it’s their recovery story, after the fact, and they have overcome all the obstacles. Well that’s not the case with me, I am not recovered, I am on the road to recovery and a major part of the reason I have taken so many steps forward is solely because of this place and these people. Some of my instructors know what I am going through and others have no idea, but that’s the best part, I feel the same love, acceptance and support from each one of them. I know that every day, especially if it’s a bad day, I get to spend at least an hour at this place that brings me so much happiness with crazy instructors bouncing off the walls to music blasting, distracting me just enough so I don’t realize just how intense this workout is until it’s over and I’m lying on the floor counting my blessings that I made it. That’s when I walk out of class and the endorphins kick in and I’m reminded why I’ll be back for my next FHIX soon. I often joke with people and say I am in an exclusive relationship with Fhitting Room, but it isn’t much of a joke at all when I think about it. This place has my heart and is helping me get my life back and for that, I couldn’t be more grateful. #foreverliveFHIT.

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Entrepreneurial FHIXers

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We’re so lucky to have an amazing family of FHIXers. They work hard every day, both in the studio and outside of it. It’s no surprise that some of  our FHIXers have used their drive and creativity to build their own businesses. We tracked down some of these FHITrepenuers to get a rundown on what they do outside of the studio, what they love about getting their FHIX, and how they juggle it all.

Lindsay DeFalco, Camp Specialists

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1. Tell us about your business and how you founded it.

I was introduced to the concept of Camp Specialists in fall 2015 while trying to select the perfect place for my own children to attend sleep away camp.  It became immediately apparent to my husband and me that we needed some guidance to help find the best environment for our children and to determine which directors we would trust to serve as our stand-ins and role models for seven weeks. This is where the role of Camp Specialists comes into play. I didn’t start the Company, but I was an instant believer in the business, quickly became an informal ambassador and was then asked to join the team. As a Camp Specialist, I offer a free referral service that helps research, locate and select the best camp for a family. I decided to make this my career because as a life-long camper, I am passionate about the camp experience and the overall benefits it provides to children such as fostering independence, breaking through walls to get them out of their comfort zone, instilling confidence, teaching decision making and taking a much needed break from electronics and social media. To learn more about my services or to start the camp process for your children, email me at lindsaydefalco@campspecialists.com.

2. Has taking classes at Fhitting Room helped you overcome any obstacles that are also applicable to owning your own business?

At Fhitting Room I have been pushed to do things that I never could have imagined doing physically without quitting on myself.  The trainers are very focused on teaching and expanding FHIXers’ knowledge on a daily basis. Over the past few years I have had to deal with a number of major injuries. Through every class they have shown me how critical it is to treat each client as an individual and ensure that their needs are met to stay safe and fit at the same time. Similar to how no two FHIXers are the same physically, no two families have the same needs for their children. Similar to the trainers at TFR, I tap into my knowledge and experience in the camp world and treat each family as a unique client. I spend a great amount of time listening to their needs, concerns and fears and provide them with the options that I think are best (e.g., traditional camps, specialty camps, shorter session camps, etc).

3.  Running your own business must make your schedule crazy. How do you work getting a regular FHIX into your life, and how important is it for you to do so?

I find that my work schedule varies daily, so to have a place with so many options as to where and when to get my FHIX is a huge benefit to me. Working out has been a huge part of my life for as long as I can remember. In the past I used it as a way to clear my head and stay fit. As a mother of 7-year-old identical twin girls, I now look at fitness as a way to ensure that I remain healthy and strong and can be a present and active part of their lives for a long time.

4.  What’s your biggest FHIT achievement?

I think my biggest FHIT achievement is the improvement of my form and overall distance of my rowing. When I first started working out at The Fhitting Room, I had never been on a rower before and definitely did not have the right technique. Fast forward 4 years, tons of classes and many trainers later, I can easily reach 15 calories and 275 meters during that same minute. I truly feel empowered.

Ceceil Mendal, Little Moon Essentials

Facebook: Little Moon Essentials

Instagram: @littlemoonessentials

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1. Tell us about your business and how you founded it.

Little Moon Essentials is a natural bath & body care brand that prides itself in its handmade products which are carefully sourced and formulated with 100% pure and organic ingredients. All of our products are filled with unique essential oils and are also cruelty-free, planet friendly and handmade by our team in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. The first product, the seedling that started it all, was created because it solved a problem that is experienced by many of our customers: Eczema. The bath salt was a complete success and this seedling grew into a colorful line of aromatherapeutic bath salts with multiple benefits, followed by mists, body rubs and remedies, lotions, massage oils and more! Eventually Little Moon Essentials became the go-to brand for 100% natural bath and body care products. The rest is history.

2. Has taking classes at Fhitting Room helped you overcome any obstacles that are also applicable to owning your own business?

Taking class at Fhitting Room has helped me understand that everything in life takes time. Whether it is dealing with something in your personal life or business related, time is key! When I started taking classes at Fhitting Room I noticed that the lightest kettle bell was a challenge for me and I thought to myself “there is no chance I will ever be able to workout with the green bell.” Only 6 months (and a lot of sore days) later, I noticed I was swinging a light grey bell! The same applies to our business, if you give enough attention to the details and take good care to follow the necessary steps to hand make our formulas and products, it will lead you to great success.

3. Running your own business must make your schedule crazy. How do you work getting a regular FHIX into your life, and how important is it for you to do so?

I consider my dose of FHIX as my therapy.  I am constantly thinking of what is next on my list of things to do. So before I allow the list and stress to build up and take control, I find time for a FHIX to release all of my stress before I start my day. There is nothing a FHIX can’t FIX and there’s nothing like starting a day stress-free!

4. What’s your biggest FHIT achievement?

My biggest FHIT achievement would definitely be completing the final FHIX and stretch in it’s entirety! The first 6 months I was not able to finish the full FHIX without shortening the count or stopping half way to let my partner complete the FHIX for us. Now, the only way I feel accomplished is getting through the full FHIX and completing the recommended rounds necessary to get my full FHIT session. Knowing I finished the class and gave it my all is an achievement I carry with me throughout the day.

Sam Rosen, MakeSpace

MakeSpace:

Twitter: @MakeSpace

Instagram: @MakeSpace

Twitter: @SIR (Sam Rosen)

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1. Tell us about your business and how you founded it.

MakeSpace is a full-service, technology-enabled storage company serving tens of thousands of customers in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Washington D.C. We’ve rethought “self-storage,” a $30 billion market in the United States, from the ground up to provide a better experience at a better price. To start, a customer makes a reservation online or over the phone. Then we send a moving team to pick up the customer’s items and load them into our truck. When the items get to our warehouse, we create an online photo catalog of our customer’s belongings so that he/she never forgets what’s in storage. Customers can easily schedule delivery of some or all of their items stored in our secure storage facility. Think of us like the Amazon of storage and those other self-storage facilities are Borders. We place massive warehouses outside of major city centers, handle pickup and drop-off, and pass along the cost savings of less expensive real estate to our customers in the form of better prices and service.

I started the company in January 2013. The idea came to me just a few weeks prior in late 2012 when Hurricane Sandy destroyed my ex girlfriend’s apartment and I helped her put all of her possessions into a self-storage unit. I hated that I couldn’t remember what was in the unit as soon as we boxed it up, and it was outrageously expensive. Though it rarely happens this way, I had pitched an investor that I’ve known for a while on my “napkin idea.” He told me if I could convince his partners, he would make me the first Entrepreneur in Residence at his firm, Upfront Ventures, the rest is history (in the making).

2. Has taking classes at Fhitting Room helped you overcome any obstacles that are also applicable to owning your own business?

A peaceful mind and healthy body are the two most important things for me to be successful in my career. When those two things are sound I don’t feel like any obstacles stand in my way.

I’m someone who is competitive by nature, and Fhitting Room has kept me sharp thanks to the workouts being challenging yet scalable based on how I’m feeling.  Also, I love being pushed by others in the class, and due to smaller class sizes, I also feel like I’ve really become a part of the community. Having a whole group of amazingly friendly, energetic, like minded people (especially instructors!) outside of my day-to-day world is really important to me.

3. Running your own business must make your schedule crazy. How do you work getting a regular FHIX into your life, and how important is it for you to do so?

Working out, and in particular getting in at least 2 sessions a week at the Fhitting Room, is a must for when I’m in NYC. I ditched a gym membership years ago. I spend most of my time between NYC, LA, and SF, and getting my FHIX is absolutely my favorite routine amongst the workouts I do in all of those cities (except outdoor rock climbing!).

There are a few secrets for me to get a regular FHIX into my schedule. First, it’s literally penciled in on my Google Calendar. This sets my own expectation and that of others; I don’t let other things get booked at that same time. Second, I often invite friends who want to meet up to come try it and grab a light breakfast after. A workout at Fhitting room beats drinks any day for me and is a healthy way to start my morning. Also, knowing that I’ll be meeting someone at the gym means I’m far less likely to skip even if I’m out late the prior evening .

4. What’s your favorite move at that we do at Fhitting Room?

Anything involving box jumps. I’ve got hops for a guy with average height, so I like challenging myself to get up on something that the tall people are working with — I’m looking at you, Mark.

Gina Cavallo, EKG Project

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1. Tell us about your business and how you founded it.

My best friend and I founded EKG project about 3 years ago; the idea came from us walking back from a fitness class and really craving something sweet that would not sabotage all the work we did in the gym. We realized that it was tough to find desserts that were super clean even in the city that has it all. The EKG project evolved into a line of packaged Paleo Donuts, Cookies, and Biscotti – all non-GMO, made with organic ingredients and are gluten, soy and dairy free. Additionally, we hire all of our EKG employees from Father’s Heart Ministries in the East Village; giving jobs to those who need them most – transitioning from homelessness, prison, addiction or hardship.

2. Has taking classes at Fhitting Room helped you overcome any obstacles that are also applicable to owning your own business?

I think when you own a business with your best friend, you sometimes focus so much on the business; you forget that you were best friends first before business partners. Fhitting Room is part of our “bestie” time together – especially on days when there are partner workouts. We both push each other to step up our fitness game in class, whether it is who can do the highest box jump or swing the heaviest kettle bell.

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3. Running your own business must make your schedule crazy. How do you work getting a regular FHIX into your life, and how important is it for you to do so?

It is so important to get your FHIX – especially when you own a bakery. It is also just necessary to maintaining balance when you own your own business because there are very, very few days off.

We are also both on completely different schedules; but we both make it priority- whether it’s a 6am class, squeezing it in at lunch or late night until the gym closes. We try to live a truly Paleo lifestyle all around whenever possible; it is more than just eating clean, it’s taking care of the body you were given, being active, getting enough rest and finding time for fun.

4.     What’s your biggest FHIT achievement?

Surviving Eric’s FHIXtreme class, hands down.

Chloe Burch, Neely and Chloe

Facebook: Neely & Chloe

Instagram: @neelyandchloe

Twitter: @neelyandchloe

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1. Tell us about your business and how you founded it.

A year and a half ago, my sister, Neely, and I discovered a hole in the market for women’s accessories that were both aspirational and attainable. One year later–this past September– we launched Neely & Chloe, a direct to consumer line of women’s handbags and shoes. We are focused on quality and customer experience, delivering a high quality product at a reasonable price point- all under $300! Our silhouettes are clean and classic with almost no branding– when you walk out of our doors, the product should be more about you than it is about us!

2. Has taking classes at Fhitting Room helped you overcome any obstacles that are also applicable to owning your own business.

There have been times both at  Fhitting Room as well as my business where I find myself frustrated and losing motivation to push things to the next level. Taking classes at Fhitting Room has showed me that by continuing to push yourself and focusing on your long term goals, you can definitely get past the day to day challenges.

3. Running your own business must make your schedule crazy. How do you work getting a regular FHIX into your life, and how important is it for you to do so?

A regular FHIX is definitely a priority to me. I like to work out every day and I try to go to Fhitting Room at least twice a week. Running your own business can make it hard to prioritize your personal needs over work, but finding time for yourself is what makes it possible to keep moving forward.

4.     What’s your biggest FHIT achievement?

I think in general, I just feel stronger going to Fhitting Room. I don’t do weights on my own, so honestly even walking through the door at Fhitting room feels like an accomplishment!  If I had to pick one accomplishment, it would be adding the 6″ box to box jumps. I didn’t think I could do it since I am only 5′ 3″ but Daury convinced me I could!

James Corbett, James Corbett Studio

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1. Tell us about your business and how you founded it.

At James Corbett Studio, we make happy happen through beautiful hair and results driven beauty products.  Superb cuts and hair color to make you stronger and more beautiful.

I founded it with a desire to create a warm, empowering, supportive community that was about producing a quality product much like the feeling I get from Fhitting Room.

2. Has taking classes at Fhitting Room helped you overcome any obstacles that are also applicable to owning your own business?

Sometimes you stumble and sometimes you slam dunk it, but just keep working at it, push forward and in the end you will come out better, stronger and more FHIT. Just like a Fhitting room class, this is the same mantra for running your own business,

3. Running your own business must make your schedule crazy. How do you work getting a regular FHIX into your life, and how important is it for you to do so?

I have learned to block out at least one or two days where I start later so I can get my FHIX at Fhitting Room. I have to schedule it like I would a client.  It is important because as they say on planes, in case of an emergency, you need to put your oxygen mask before assisting others.  I am better able to give to my clients if I make sure to do some self-care.  It also physically gives me the stamina to stand on my feet all day! When I get my FHIX in, the endorphins put me in a better position to juggle the many tasks that owning JCS throws my way daily.

4. What’s your biggest FHIT achievement?

Every class is a FHIT achievement; I personally challenge myself to reach new fitness goals.  In addition I am usually one of the oldest people in class (gasp) so it is an achievement to keep up with those younger than I!

Veronique Mazard, Jean Mahie

vero-in-jewelry

1. Tell us about your business and how you founded it.

My mother and grandfather are the founders of the business, and I have been running it for the past 20 years.  It is a very small jewelry/sculpture manufacturing company with 3 employees: my mother and my brother (my grandfather passed away a long time ago) who physically make the jewelry themselves: no factories, no molds, etc., and I do the rest. We are exclusive at Neiman Marcus, so I deal with that account but also have private clients.  I am also a graduate gemologist, I so help choose stones in addition to managing the marketing, sales and accounting for the business..

2. Has taking classes at Fhitting Room helped you overcome any obstacles that are also applicable to owning your own business?

Going to Fhitting Room and exercising keeps me sane so that helps me in running a business when I get annoying requests from sales people and/or when things don’t go accordingly to plan.  Better to keep calm when those things happen and take it out on the assault bike!

3. Running your own business must make your schedule crazy. How do you work getting a regular FHIX into your life, and how important is it for you to do so?

It’s very important for me to be able to exercise everyday, and I make it a priority after my kids are squared away, so most days I drop off my kids at school and head straight to Fhitting Room.  Since Neiman’s is based in Dallas (different time zone) and is a retail business, I rarely get a call or an email before 10am so have plenty of time in the morning to get my FHIX in!

4. What’s your biggest FHIT achievement? Or if nothing comes to mind, what’s your favorite move at that we do at Fhitting Room?

This Sunday I will be taking my 400th class at the Fhitting Room, I think that’s a pretty cool achievement!

Chris Almazan, Deliciously Fit

Facebook: Get Deliciously Fit

Instagram: @getdeliciouslyfit

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1. Tell us about your business and how you founded it.

I opened my restaurant deliciouslyfit meal prep three years ago. We weigh and measure all of our meals to fit anyone’s fitness goals. I started deliciouslyfit because people asked me how I got in the best shape of my life when I competed in my first men’s physique show. So my following grew from there and now we feed celebrities such as Kevin hart when he is in NYC.

2. Running your own business must make your schedule crazy. How do you work getting a regular FHIX into your life, and how important is it for you to do so?

My schedule is crazy so I take Fhitting Room as I way to efficiently maximize my fat burning goals.

3. Has taking classes at Fhitting Room helped you overcome any obstacles that are also applicable to owning your own business?

I feed many top athletes and coaches in NYC so it’s nice to take Fhitting Room with them when I have time. The atmosphere at Fhitting Room really makes me want to push myself and inspire others to work hard.

4. What’s your favorite move at that we do at Fhitting Room?

My favorite move at Fhitting Room is the pull-up Burpee!

Fhitting Room clients can take $50 off your first Deliciously Fit order. Use the code: fhitting50 at checkout. 

Log onto the Deliciously Fit website: https://www.getdeliciouslyfit.com, choose your meals and use the promo code at check out to redeem.

*Promo code applies to first orders over $80.

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FHITspiration: Noelle Fischer

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Meet Noelle, this 6AM FHIXer loves to start her day with a hard HITting class before heading to work. In her post, she shares how she first found Fhitting Room, thanks to her FHIT sister, Danielle, and why each class is therapeutic for her.

What brought you to Fhitting Room?

After a breakup, I found myself back at the gym “working out.” My routine was not terribly motivating, and I had the wrong goal: to look good for other people.

My older sister, Danielle, who is a huge influence in my life, constantly tried to give me advice on the advantages of a clean lifestyle and finding the right workout (which meant weekly reminders of how awesome Fhitting Room is) and also sticking to it!

As any younger sister would do, I ignored all advice and kept my normal gym routine, eating habits, drinking and yes, even smoking.

Never to be proved wrong, Danielle bought me the intro package and challenged me NOT to like the class.

Were you an athlete before (HS, college, recreationally)?

Ah, reliving my glory days…playing sports was a big part of my childhood, whether it was elementary gymnastic classes, tennis camp, varsity soccer, track & field or volleyball. I was active all year round, always participating in some sort of competitive game.

What keeps you coming back to Fhitting Room?

I love so many things about Fhitting Room! I’ll start with the ever-evolving programs. When I heard the program changed every day, it was almost hard to believe. Coming from a luxury gym where I took classes that never changed, I was not optimistic about having a unique experience…closing in on 400 classes later, not one has been the same!

Then there’s the instructors and all of the FHIT family. The compassion, dedication, motivation and energy they provide in and out of class are so inspiring.

Tell us about your job and your life outside Fhitting Room. How does getting your FHIX affect your life besides as an outlet for exercise?

I currently work at Macy’s as the Director of Storewide/Sitewide & New Business Initiatives within the Project Management/Marketing Operation Department. I’ve been with the company since 2011 and can honestly say my most successful years have been when I’ve started my mornings at Fhitting Room. Outside of my professional life I love to love explore the city, especially new restaurants! I also manage my cat’s Instagram account @thekittythecat J

You’re usually a 6AM regular. What keeps you motivated? Has your motivation changed?

Starting off my mornings at the studio is so therapeutic! I am able to start off the day focusing on myself, which really keeps me charged throughout the day. People get so consumed with going to work and either going out after or going straight home that there is little time in the day where it is solely about you. 6AM allows me to begin the day feeling positive and motivated. Oh, and my team definitely notices the days when I don’t start the morning off with a FHIX. J

People see you and are inspired by your performance in each class. How does that make you feel?

Definitely flattered! But I feel like everyone who takes the class is an inspiration. Being in this type of environment provides a healthy competition that encourages you to push yourself and be pushed by others around you. I am a product of the trainers; they push me to challenge myself, and I even got the nod to join the FHIXtreme classes.

Who are your favorite instructor combinations?

Not a fair question! Each instructor brings something unique and fun to class to keep everyone motivated!

What are your favorite and least favorite moves in class?

I have a love-hate relationship with most of the moves. I still remember when the Assault Bikes were introduced to the Flatiron location; those give a serious workout but man, am I winded afterwards! My favorite moves are new ones! I love when the instructors introduce movements for the first time; it gives me a new challenge!

What have you noticed is your biggest improvement?

Commitment & Confidence.

I am committed to a healthier lifestyle.

I have altered my eating habits, reduced dairy and gluten in my diet.

I have not had a cigarette since September 6, 2015.

I incorporate exercise daily, even if that is taking one day off at the gym and taking the stairs instead of the elevator at work or at home.

I am more confident than ever! I used to wear clothing to hide my body. My body shape has dramatically changed because of the commitment and consistency of a healthy lifestyle. I’m more confident working out at the gym too – taking everything I’ve learned from classes at Fhitting Room and applying it to equipment and weights that I was always too nervous to try on my own.

Do you have any advice for future FHIXers?

Take the advice from the instructors. Listen to their tutorials before each set. Also, if you have an injury of any degree, tell them! Each instructor is so helpful with giving modifications or alternative exercises. Early on I was focused on the wrong goals and that showed in my form. I listened to the instructions but did not really apply them to my moves. I remember on one occasion, after class ended, Ben asked me to come back in the studio and perfect my burpee with him: feet go on the outside of the hands!

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FHITSPIRATION: MARK & FAY

 
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Meet Mark and Fay, husband and wife and hard HITting FHIXers. We chatted with them about how they found Fhitting Room, what keeps them coming back and why they love being in different spots in the studio. Read on to find out how Fay tricked Mark into attending his first class, and how she learned to exercise her biggest and strongest muscle, her heart.

 

When did you start coming to Fhitting Room? How did you hear about us?

Fay: I started coming regularly in March of 2016, but my first FHIX was in August of 2015. Emily Cook Harris used to train me and she recommended I take class. She said I would like it because I always needed to know what was coming next. She explained to me that Fhitting Room had the day’s program written on a white board so I could know what to expect. At first I had no intentions of going, but my very good friend (and also a frequent FHIXer) Kristen Siebert was raving about it and promised me I would like it. After a couple of months of her and her husband Kyle talking non-stop about Fhitting Room, I finally agreed to go. I wasn’t hooked right away – I needed to have my “aha moment” which happened in March.

Mark: Spring 2016 – Fay made me go to a class in exchange for letting me do something I wanted to do (she totally lied).

 

Tell us about your lives outside of Fhitting Room. What do you each do for a living?

Fay: I cast television commercials. I have my own company called Grande/Morris Casting. Like most people, I used my job and schedule as a reason/excuse not to workout on a regular basis. Casting and Production can be a very unpredictable business and very deadline oriented. It is hard to maintain a consistent schedule and structure. That has been one of the silver linings at Fhitting Room. Taking class has become such a huge part of maintaining a consistent schedule in my crazy day-to-day work life.

Mark: I lead development and production at Rumble Yard, a Sony Music Entertainment Company. Essentially, I come up with music inspired ideas for TV shows, sell them to digital platforms like Verizon, Hearst and YouTube, and then produce them with our roster of artists.

 

What do you remember from your first FHIX?

Fay: I remember being nervous and anxious and then relieved when it was over. My first FHIX was on a Monday night at Penthouse with Dennys and Farouk. After the warm up I started to think it wasn’t so bad and I was going to be fine, then we moved on to the circuit and Dennys demonstrated the box jump. Being 4’11”, I thought there was no way I was going to be able to do it. I started with step ups and after watching everyone in the class do the jumps I thought to myself “the worst that could happen is I fall on my face” so I tried it and nailed it. I was so proud of myself!

Mark: I remember thinking to myself five minutes before class began, “This is going to suck; just don’t die.”

 

Did you come here with specific health or fitness goals? If so, have they changed over time?

Fay: I was born with a congenital heart defect and have had 3 open-heart surgeries throughout my life. My last surgery was to replace my aortic valve, which has left me on blood thinners and with a large scar down the front of my chest. Mark says it is my badge of honor. When I was a kid, I was very limited in any sort of physical activity. I had to sit out during gym class and couldn’t participate in most recreational and after school sports. The fear of overexerting myself stayed with me into adulthood and kept me on the sidelines. After my third surgery I had been cleared to participate in almost all athletic activities with the exception of contact sports. I was 23 years old at that time. Fortunately, I was blessed with a good metabolism and that kept me in shape…until I hit 30. Being a NY Foodie and a lover of wine didn’t help either. Mark proposed that year and I decided I was going to start to exercise and get in shape for our wedding. I lost 15 pounds. The day after we got married I stopped going to the gym. It didn’t take long for me to gain back the 15 pounds I had lost (and then some).

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My original goal back in August of 2015 was to just lose weight. It was strictly for vanity reasons. In March of 2015 I went to a new cardiologist and she explained to me that my heart is a muscle and it is imperative to keep it healthy and strong. That was my “aha” moment. I thought to myself, I didn’t go through 3 open-heart surgeries and beat the odds to be lazy and neglect my body. I was a fighter as a kid and I am a fighter now. My goal quickly changed from looking good to feeling good. I went from going to Fhitting Room once or twice a week to four to five times a week. It not only keeps me in physical shape, but it keeps me in mental shape as well. I use getting my FHIX as a source of therapy now. I am also happy to report that I have lost a total of 25 pounds and am in the best physical shape of my entire life at 35 years old. I am also pretty sure I am stronger than Mark. :)

Mark: Pretty much not dying is my goal. As an old man in comparison to most of the FHIXers, not dying or vomiting all over everyone is the fitness goal. In other words, I’m crushing it.

 

Any specific moves that can you do now that you struggled with in the beginning?

Fay: Kettlebell Cleans and Figure 8s. When I first started, I couldn’t figure out how to do them and ended up with bruises all over my wrists. Being on blood thinners probably didn’t help that either. Each instructor had different tips and finally something just clicked.

Mark: Things I never had reason to do before I started Fhitting Room: touch my toes, anything with a kettlebell, jumping…all of those things I can now do because of the Fhitting Room.

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Do you do any sports or work out outside of Fhitting Room?

Fay: Yoga and running. I try to do yoga at least twice a week. I think it really helps with muscle recovery and flexibility.

Mark: I love gaming, golfing and softball…any sport you can do with alcohol 😉 I used to snowboard all the time, but then I got married.

 

What are your favorite FHIT moves?

Fay: I really like the circuits. The fact that we are constantly moving distracts me. I don’t have time to think about the fact that I am out of breath, sweating or just plain tired. As soon as I feel like I can’t do any more reps of something, it is time to switch!

Mark: The stretch, the moment I escape the studio after class (definitely a move), and any activity involving lying down.

 

What are your favorite instructor combos?

Fay: That is a hard one. I honestly think all of the instructors have such great energy, knowledge and ability to motivate me. It is really hard to pick. Some of our favorite classes that Mark and I take together every week are Tuesday 8AM with Ben & Mat, Friday 8AM with Eric & Mat and Saturday 9AM with Amanda & Dennys.

Mark: Dennys and Amanda (a 9AM Saturday morning social outing with yelling) and Eric and Matt (8AM Fridays – A Tasmanian devil and his cooler younger brother). However to be fair, Ben, Carlos, Farouk, Mark, Jason, and Daury are all dope too.

 

Do you have specific spots in the room that you guys prefer to be in?

Fay: Yes!  I love to be spot 4 or 5. I like to have a mirror spot so I can make sure my form is correct. I also like the front row because I don’t feel as crowded. Mark ALWAYS takes spot 24. Back corner with no mirror. He says the sight of himself working out is a sight he never wants to see.

Mark: 24 – I like my back to a wall. I’m Italian and watched too many mob movies growing up, (plus I hate watching myself workout…wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy).

 

Do you often compete with each other in class?

Fay: I usually compete with Mark and he is in his own world. Sometimes he will look over to see what weight I have and then sigh and go get a heavier weight. I also always make sure I tell him how great I did in the FHIX just to rub it in his face!  It is my way of getting back at him for never wanting to partner with me or be in my group. He says we are partners in life but not partners in fitness :)

Mark: If by compete you mean looking at the weight she’s lifting and praying to god it’s not more than what I’m lifting, then yes (it often is).

 

Do you have any advice for people nervous about trying their first FHIX?

Fay: Go at your own pace and don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. Just because you THINK you can’t do something, doesn’t mean you CAN’T. Try to go with a friend if you can. I love the classes that I take with friends, it gives you accountability and some friendly competition.

Mark: Try it once, I guarantee you won’t die…I’m living proof!

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FHITspiration: Brooke Alpert

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Meet Brooke, she is a registered dietitian, author, founder of a private nutrition counseling practice called B Nutritious and one of the hardest HITting FHIXers we know. Read on to learn about this FHITspiration.

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In my private practice, I do one-on-one nutrition counseling to help people reach their nutrition goals including weight loss, pre/post natal nutrition, sports nutrition and more. I’m known for my honest and to-the-point advice, but I also make healthy eating very realistic for everyone. My ultimate goal in my practice is to get people to love the food they’re eating while achieving their goal.

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I first tried the Fhitting Room a couple of years ago. I had just finished writing my second book, The Sugar Detox, and during my research I learned the positive effects of high intensity interval training, so I wanted to give it a shot. I wrote The Sugar Detox after I saw many of my clients struggling with sugar addictions and how it impacted every aspect of their lives – weight, sleep, skin – really everything. HIIT really provides an edge, not just in achieving a FHIT body but also in helping maintain a healthy blood sugar level, which is the single most important thing you can do for your health. With that in mind I knew it was time to try Fhitting Room! I still remember how sore I was the day after my first FHIX, and initially I ended up sticking with my regular spinning and pilates classes.

After my second daughter was born, I was really struggling to find my fitness “mojo” again. My spin classes weren’t doing it for me (or giving me the same positive effects as before}, and I just couldn’t find a rhythm again with my workouts. Even worse, is that while I had very healthy pregnancies, it took me years to fully recover from each one, mainly because of a pretty serious back injury that I got when I was a teenager (more on that below) but also from a weight loss perspective. While I love my job as a dietitian, it’s difficult being a weight-loss expert while struggling with my own weight. So I decided to try Fhitting Room again.

My first class back was a mess. I couldn’t do a burpee to save my life, and box jumps were enough to make me want to quit. But, it’s hard to quit when you have a large tattooed man standing next you, telling you that you can do it. While I didn’t believe in myself, I decided to trust Daury and keep trying. Slowly I started to find my rhythm again; I had my favorite classes, my spot in the room, and I made some lifelong friends with fellow FHIXers (Hi Tracy and Karin!)!

As a former athlete it was nice to have a new focus when it came to exercising. I was a swimmer through my teens and an equestrian through college. After college I did triathlons and loved mud runs too. I decided to focus less on the numbers on the scale and more on getting stronger. Daury, Simon and Dennys are my go to guys every Tuesday and Thursday morning, and even having Dara take class with me is a huge motivator. I have these amazing trainers whom I feel lucky to know and they push me harder than I would push myself. I have never been this fit (or FHIT!) since becoming a parent 8 years ago, and every class reminds me that I am so much stronger than what a scale could ever tell me.

The backstory on my injury and how I’ve overcome it:

I was in a bad horseback riding accident as a teenager where I was crushed underneath my horse. Through physical therapy and staying in shape, my back injuries were under control. But each pregnancy and labor would trigger my disc problems all over again. At the Fhitting Room, I would always let each instructor know that I had back problems and they always made great modifications for me before I attempted anything. Then they slowly pushed me to go past the modifications and to try to do all the moves. I trusted these guys enough that I was able to push my fear aside and try. Without their pushing me, I never would have thought my back could support half the things I can now do!

The FHITspiration:

The scale doesn’t lie – it’s always correct but it’s not always the whole picture. It doesn’t show that I kick butt on the rower or the ski-erg. It doesn’t show that I can do a box jump with 6” extensions. It doesn’t show that my body gave birth to two beautiful human beings. So while the number may be accurate, there is so much more to what my body is than simple pounds. I really believe that Fhitting Room has helped me become grateful for my body even at a point when I was in serious doubt about it.

 

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Survival of the FHITTEST 2017

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Saturday March 4, 2017 marked Fhitting Room’s 4th Anniversary. We celebrated the best way we know how – by HITting it hard with our entire FHIT community. Our second annual Survival of the FHITTEST Challenge left us inspired, and our green hearts are bursting with pride. Challengers pushed themselves, and all the FHIT friends and family cheering on these FHITspirational athletes left us breathless.

We racked up tons of mileage via rowing and skiing, performed over 2,000 kettlebell swings and dropped chest to deck for nearly 2,000 burpees. And the best part of all of this high intensity exercise? The high intensity energy that came along with it. Check out our Survival of the FHITTEST highlight reel.

 

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FHITspiration: Molly Forsyth

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Molly Forsyth is the founder of 8 Point Wellness, a boutique acupuncture practice based in Flatiron. She is certified as a Diplomat of Oriental Medicine by the National Certification for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM), as well as a licensed acupuncturist and a board certified herbalist. Her business offers acupuncture and Chinese medicine practices. Molly is also an athlete, a runner and a frequent FHIXer at our Flatiron studio. We recently got a chance to speak with her about her business, fitness and where the two intersect.

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How long have you been coming to The Fhitting Room? How did you hear about us?

The Fhitting Room had been on my radar for a while. I was looking to shake up my routine from one-on-one sessions with a trainer, and I wanted to have a little (competitive) fun in a group setting. I had my first FHIX with Ben and Farouk in May of 2016 and I was immediately hooked! I have been attending class at least twice a week ever since.

What keeps you coming back?

I love that class is never the same, and I love the positive energy the FHITpros and fellow FHIXers bring; the environment encourages me to give it my all. I love to be challenged by something new each class.

You’re a runner. Have you noticed TFR has changed your performance as a runner? If so, how?

Yes! Well, as you know, a significant portion of power is in the stride, and proper posture comes from the core and upper body. The explosive and timed nature of many FHIXes helps to encourage strength and speed. Cross training is key for building muscle, and avoiding boredom from other repetitive strength workouts is an important factor for me; TFR is also a great counterweight for the sometimes lonely long runs.

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Tell us about your practice and what services you provide.

I practice Chinese medicine, which encompasses acupuncture, Chinese herbal formulas, cupping, and gua sha. My clients are motivated, health conscious people just like those at Fhitting Room.

What got you into holistic/natural healing?

Chinese medicine literally and quickly changed my life. I moved to NYC for what I thought was to be a long-term career in fashion. I found my way to Converse during their apparel start-up phase and worked in the planning department (a whole lot of spreadsheets, systems and factory communication) for 6 years. Three years in, I started giving a lot of thought to finding a career that felt more meaningful and impactful. At the same time I was diagnosed with an auto-immune condition, Crohn’s disease. Within a few months of starting weekly acupuncture and herbal treatments I was able to wean off steroids and immunosuppressants.

There was a silver lining. My illness allowed me to find my true calling; I love helping people maintain or regain wellness. I entered the 4-year graduate program and slowly exited the world of apparel. My only medication for the last 8 years has been Chinese herbs (and acupuncture).

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Can you explain cupping and its benefits towards recovery?

Cupping is great; I use it on patients for chronic and acute pain, muscle soreness and muscle fatigue. It can help speed up muscle recovery by increasing circulation and blood flow and realigns fascia. It’s also great at the initial onset of a cold or when someone feels like they are coming down with something or to relieve congestion in the lungs. You can read more here.

What is your best or favorite natural remedy?

This time of year I’m talking a lot about bone broth. Winter is the time to nourish the kidneys, and in Chinese medicine the kidneys govern the bones. Bone broth is a great way to warm and nourish qi (also known as vital energy in our bodies) and blood, as well as to help prevent and promote healing of bones and connective tissue. It’s very collagen rich too, which means it’s also great for skin and for healing digestive irregularities.

Ginger tea is another favorite this time of year. Ginger (Sheng Jiang) is a Chinese herb that is incorporated into many digestive herbal formulas. It warms the middle and not only settles the stomach, but also nourishes sluggish digestion. In the cooler months it’s very important to keep your digestive fire stoked.

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Many of our instructors visit your practice and take advantage of your services. Why do you recommend using holistic practices after your FHIX? 

Think of it as part of your wellness recovery plan. Acupuncture and Chinese medicine can help speed up your recovery post workout, help your body build muscle, strengthen your immune system, balance hormones, and regulate sleep and digestion. Wait, there’s more! But seriously, acupuncture has numerous health benefits. Pregnant FHIXers can benefit from acupuncture, too.

How would you suggest adding this to your regimen in a consistent way? How do you feel about your practice as preventative? (Rehab vs. Prehab)

Maintaining wellness is an ongoing journey. In most cases, patients begin acupuncture for rehab reasons – they have an ailment or some type of imbalance they want me to remedy. At a certain point in treatment the focus will switch from rehab to prehab.

Effects of treatment are cumulative — like building muscle, so it’s most ideal for clients to come weekly for a short period of time. As the body learns to hold the healing, treatments are spaced further apart, and eventually clients come in periodically for maintenance or prehab type sessions. Sometimes the periodic prehab sessions correspond with the change of seasons to avoid that oh so common cold.

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Learn more about about Molly’s services by visiting her practice.

 

Molly Forsyth, MS, L.Ac.

8 Point Wellness | 928 Broadway, Suite 1001, NY, NY 10010

646 480 2542  | www.8PointWellness.com

Instagram: @8PointWellness  

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