Fhit Life


FALL FOR THESE HEALTHY EATS

As the temperature drops, it is oh-so-tempting to stay cozied up on your couch and order delivery,or whip up an easy, ooey-gooey (and cheesey and buttery) grilled cheese sandwich. We’re all about indulging every now and then, but to stay on track with your FHITness goals, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite nutritious and delicious fall recipes. From breakfast on-the-go, dinner for one, and perfect party appetizers, we’ve got you covered with meals that are FHIT for fall; cue the pumpkin.

FOR BREAKFAST

breakfast

1. Pumpkin Pie Protein Overnight Oats by Amy’s Healthy Baking
2. Squash Hash with Kale and Baked Eggs by Martha Stewart

FOR A SATISFYING FALL LUNCH

lunch

1. Roasted Butternut Squash Sandwich with Balsamic White Bean Spread by Connoisseurus Veg
2. Apple Pecan Rosemary Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad by Cooking Classy

FOR WHEN YOU THROW A PARTY

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1. Butternut Squash Hummus by Minimalist Baker
2. Bacon and Brussel Sprouts Skewers by Popsugar

FOR WHEN YOU WANT A LEGITIMATE HOME-COOKED DINNER

dinner

1. Skillet Gnocchi with Chard and White Beans by Eating Well
2. Green Chile Butternut Squash and Turkey Enchiladas with Crispy Sage by Halfbaked Harvest

FOR YOUR SWEET TOOTH

dessert

1. Carrot Cake Oatmeal Cookies by Amy’s Healthy Baking
2. Healthy Chocolate Pumpkin Muffins by The Dinner Mom

There you have ‘em – eight nutritious recipes for every occasion that are both simple and satisfying. Save your splurges for truly special occasions, treat yourself with these good-for-you meals and you’ll feel FHIT all fall.

 

As the temperature drops, it is oh-so-tempting to stay cozied up on your couch and order delivery,or whip up an easy, ooey-gooey (and cheesey and buttery) grilled cheese sandwich. We’re all about indulging every now and then, but to stay on track with your FHITness goals, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite nutritious and delicious fall recipes. From breakfast on-the-go, dinner for one, and perfect party appetizers, we’ve got you covered with meals that are FHIT for fall; cue the pumpkin.

FOR BREAKFAST

breakfast

1. Pumpkin Pie Protein Overnight Oats by Amy’s Healthy Baking
2. Squash Hash with Kale and Baked Eggs by Martha Stewart

FOR A SATISFYING FALL LUNCH

lunch

1. Roasted Butternut Squash Sandwich with Balsamic White Bean Spread by Connoisseurus Veg
2. Apple Pecan Rosemary Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad by Cooking Classy

FOR WHEN YOU THROW A PARTY

party

1. Butternut Squash Hummus by Minimalist Baker
2. Bacon and Brussel Sprouts Skewers by Popsugar

FOR WHEN YOU WANT A LEGITIMATE HOME-COOKED DINNER

dinner

1. Skillet Gnocchi with Chard and White Beans by Eating Well
2. Green Chile Butternut Squash and Turkey Enchiladas with Crispy Sage by Halfbaked Harvest

FOR YOUR SWEET TOOTH

dessert

1. Carrot Cake Oatmeal Cookies by Amy’s Healthy Baking
2. Healthy Chocolate Pumpkin Muffins by The Dinner Mom

There you have ‘em – eight nutritious recipes for every occasion that are both simple and satisfying. Save your splurges for truly special occasions, treat yourself with these good-for-you meals and you’ll feel FHIT all fall.

 

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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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Love at First FHIX

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Many of us would be lying if we said we didn’t have a workout crush, whether on a fellow FHIXer or a FHITpro, but the truth is only a handful of fitness friends end up marrying their endorphin-induced heartthrobs. Frequent FHIXers John Bradarich and Courtney Bonnell are two of the lucky few! Keep reading to learn more about their love at first FHIX romance.

Describe each of your first FHIXes. What brought you to class and how did you feel before, during, and after your first class?

CB: I heard about Fhitting Room from my business partner and best friend Jane, who basically had to drag me to my first class, because I was so nervous.  I have asthma and always worry about having some embarrassing, dramatic asthma attack.  I had also heard it was a really tough class and I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into!

The Fhitting Room, while super challenging, is so accommodating to first timers. I also met John at my very first class.  By the end of my first class, I felt like I could hang and I never turned back!  The energy level at Fhitting Room is unrivaled and it caught me right away.

JB:  Kristen Siebert first recommended Fhitting Room to me after she had been going fairly regularly. Back then, I had been doing mostly strength training in the weight room, and Kristen convinced me that FR would be a great compliment. And boy did she turn out to be right.

I had never taken a group workout class before so I was pretty nervous heading into my first FR experience simply due to not knowing what to expect. I had a million thoughts running through my head. How would I know how to do everything? Would I be able to keep up?

Once class got going though, I started to feel much more comfortable. The constant attention Amanda and Dennys paid to everyone helped me build confidence when executing some of the movements I was less familiar with. I also began to realize that the workout was so intense, you really only had the time to focus on yourself – no one in there is sitting around judging anyone else!

After class was over, I was totally drained. I hadn’t experienced a full body workout that left me that exhausted since football two-a-day practices in high school! It was an amazing feeling and I have been hooked ever since.

When did you first take class with one another? What was your first impression of each other?

CB:  I met John during my very first Fhitting Room class with Dennys and Julia!  It was a Friday night in March of 2016!  I saw him while he was getting ready for class and was ogling his muscles from a distance.  The stars were aligned and we ended up standing next to each other in class.  As cliché as it may sound, we locked eyes and something just happened.  From there he proceeded to impress me with extra explosive bosu ball pushups and all!  After a sweaty convo attempt with John post-class, he got caught up in a conversation with a fellow FHIXer.

I lingered around waiting for him to come back – as long as a self-respecting girl would – and finally I ended up leaving, wondering why this dude didn’t just get it together!  Again, the stars were aligned – or John secretly ran down the street after me – and he ended up right behind me on 19th.  He walked me to the train and we had a great convo, somehow void of any normal first-time awkwardness.  He smoothly asked me out to dinner and for my number before I got on the train, and that was that!

JB: The Fhitting Room will always be such a special place to me because it is literally where my life changed. I was headed to the Flatiron studio on March 4, 2016 for a Friday night workout in my typical FR mindset: amped up on pre-workout, blasting rap music, and ready to just crush everything. As I walked into the studio prepared to dominate, I looked towards my spot and happened to lock eyes with a fit and beautiful blonde girl whose gorgeous blue eyes sent an absolute charge through my entire body. It was like nothing I had ever felt before and I was completely thrown out of my element. In my mind I was thinking “Wait, WTF just happened!?!”

I attempted to regroup and gather myself as the workout started. Lo and behold, we were then put into the same group during the Interval Circuit. I immediately felt the pressure and need to impress this Blue Eyed Goddess with my physical feats of strength.

What I had not planned for, unfortunately, was my exit strategy. My Herculean effort during the entire workout left me showering sweat everywhere and gasping for air when class ended. My oxygen-deprived brain was racing for a semi-coherent statement to make to this majestic queen of fitness and beauty as I approached her outside of the studio. I walked up (maybe limped/crawled) prepared to woo her away with my gentlemanly charm and said, “Hey there…have we met before…?” DISASTER.

Luckily, Courtney did not let my complete cheeseball of a pick-up line deter her from allowing me to walk her to the train as she headed home. This was crucial, as it extended my recovery time, and I was actually able to hold a conversation. We hit it off immediately and I proceeded to ask her to dinner. The rest is history!

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What do you do when you’re not getting your FHIX? (professionally and/or recreationally)

CB:  I work in the fashion industry and co-own a brand development and sales management agency.  John and I obviously love to work out together – mostly at The Fhitting Room and Y7 – and we like to travel as much as we can, go out to dinner, drink wine, watch good movies and hang out with our friends and fellow FHIXers, like the Sieberts!

JB: I work in the Private Bank at JPMorgan where I work with individual clients to create customized investment solutions to help them achieve their wealth planning goals. In addition to what Courtney mentioned, I am also a big University of Michigan sports fan. College football Saturdays are routinely spent cheering and cursing at the TV.

How long did it take for you to hang out outside of Fhitting Room? Describe your first date.

CB:  We went out the following week after we met.  We went to dinner in the East Village and had drinks after; it was a perfect first date. We went out again on a second date soon after that and it was a wrap from thereon out!

JB: Honestly, on our first date I was trying my best to play it cool. I was in love with Courtney from the moment I first saw her in the Flatiron studio, but just kept thinking “That’s crazy man. You’re crazy. You can’t just fall in love like that!” So I tried that entire first date to not give away the fact that I was completely head-over-heels for her. I probably failed miserably. I felt such an intense connection during our conversations that night; it firmly confirmed that I was crazy. Crazy in love with Courtney.

How often do you take class together? Do you like to work together during partner segments or do your own thing?

CB:  We normally take class together about 3 times per month.  We definitely like to partner together, but sometimes it makes more sense to partner up with someone closer to your size.

JB: We will usually partner together. I always feel that drive and desire to prove to Courtney that I am the strongest man in the world, so she is great motivation during the workouts. Sometimes I’ll switch it up and partner with Kyle Siebert to give him a friendly swolemate reminder of what his aspirational fitness goals look like.

 

 

Describe your proposal. How did you know you were ready? Where did it take place? What was the significance of the destination you chose?

CB: I was totally surprised!  We were out to dinner at Lupa – one of our faves – and I noticed an intensity come over John and I thought he was about to tell me some bad news, in all honesty!  I was on the edge of my seat and then finally realized what was going on…! Obviously from there I was ecstatic.  He also killed it on the ring selection, I must say!

JB: I knew I was ready from day one! I’ve been completely obsessed with Courtney since we met, so I have been so excited about the idea of marrying her. We just moved in together this summer, so the timing felt right to take that next step.

Somehow I did a pretty great job of keeping the entire proposal a surprise, despite that ring burning a hole in my pocket. I felt like it was our first date all over again where I had to keep telling myself to play it cool. I had a plan of everything I wanted to say leading up to the proposal, but once I got in the moment, I was just overwhelmed with such strong emotions I went off-script about midway through. But I just spoke from the heart and luckily didn’t screw it up too bad since she said yes!

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Will your workout routine change at all now that your big day is around the corner? Have you started planning your wedding yet?

CB:  We have not really started planning yet.  We’re throwing around a few different ideas and still feeling out what’ll be the best for us!  The Fhitting Room will definitely be a big part of the pre-wedding program!

JB: My workout routine will probably remain the same. I really like the results I see from using The Fhitting Room as a complement to the strength training I do.

Do you have any advice for first-time FHIXers? 

CB: Ladies, don’t fear heavier weights!  I think some of my best progress overall has been through finally grabbing heavier weights at FR classes.

JB: Be comfortable with being uncomfortable. That’s how you achieve the greatest gains! There were plenty of moves and exercises I was not familiar with when I first started coming to Fhitting Room. Sometimes they feel weird, uncomfortable or especially challenging because you are not used to them. But keep an open mind and trust you are in great hands with FHITpros there, who will make sure you are doing everything safely and correctly.

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FHITspiration Vanessa Rojas

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Vanessa Rojas is the definition of “No Excuses!”. Vanessa is a Frequent FHIXer who managed to FHIT in sweat sessions throughout her medical residency, a notoriously grueling couple of years for newly minted MDs. Keep reading to learn how getting her FHIX helped her fight through 24 hour shifts and what keeps her coming back for more!

How did you first find out about Fhitting Room? What inspired you to come for your first FHIX?

I first found out about Fhitting Room four years ago. As soon as I joined ClassPass, I read lots of reviews about different studios and it stood out to me, so I decided to give it a try.

Describe your first FHIXperience. Who were your FHITpros and what did you think of the class?

My first FHIXperience was quite daunting initially, but that all quickly went away once the workout started. It was on 80th Street and it was a small class so I knew I couldn’t hide. When I first walked in I was startled by Daury because he was HUGE, had a lot of tattoos and asked me very loudly if it was my first time. HA joke was on me since he has become one of my favorite FHITpros. Eric was also teaching and I just remember being a little taken aback by all the energy he had. Daury asked me if I had ever swung a kettlebell before and I replied “what’s that?”

Once I started the class I felt like I worked out my body in a way completely different from anything I had ever done in the past. I felt challenged by the movements but they still seemed doable. And the magic touch was the motivation Daury and Eric provided. That was unlike any other studio I had ever been to. After the workout, I felt like my fitness life had changed because I wanted to become stronger and better, not just for aesthetic reasons, but because I wanted to become a girl who could do those so called “kettlebell swings.” I could not wait for my next FHIX. My first FHIX was a few months before starting residency and I was a little sad knowing over the next few months I would have little to no time to workout. While I couldn’t come nearly as often as I wanted to during that first year of residency, I made it a point to make it to class as much as possible.

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What do you do when you’re not working out?

Most of my time outside Fhitting Room, I spend working. After finishing residency, I feel like I came from being from outer space and am now just getting back to reality.  So now I am trying to re-discover the small joys in life like going to the movies, apple picking, and shopping. Sounds crazy but all very true.

How do you make time for FHIXes with your busy schedule? How do regular classes affect your mood and the goals you are working towards?

Making time for FHIXes is easy. I mentally just pick a day I am going to go to Fhitting Room and don’t sign up for a time until the day before or the day of in case something comes up at the hospital. It’s going to sound corny but making time is all about what you put into it. I know that working out makes me feel refreshed and helps me think more clearly so getting a FHIX is going to happen because I made that decision and not because I necessarily had time. Often during residency, I could have continued working on charts or paperwork, but I knew that by getting a FHIX I gave 50 minutes to myself which ultimately could lead to being able to give back more to my patients. My workout buddy also knows I can’t go too long without a FHIX otherwise I start to feel like something is missing.

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What role has high intensity interval training played in thriving during your medical residency?

High intensity interval training played a huge role in thriving during residency. I have found a huge parallel between the two. For example, working 24 hour shifts is quite possibly one of the most difficult mentally and physically draining tasks I have ever had to do in my life. There usually comes a time around 1-3am where complete delirium sets in. There is a certain type of mental and physical energy that one needs for this. It is the same energy that one needs to do burpees during a FHIX after fatigue from the rest of the workout. That little voice telling you to keep going even when you want to stop and crawl in a ball goes a long way during those long nights. Finding that core mental and physical strength is something that helped me persevere time and time again during residency.

Who are your favorite FHITpros? Why are they your favorites?

I have so many favorite FHITpros!!! I love Daury, Eric, Jason, Simon, Mark, Jess, Dara, and Dennys. They are my favorites because they push me to be a better version of myself time and time again all while making me laugh. In today’s society, there is very little building up of each other as humans and to have that at Fhitting Room each and every single time is truly something special.

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What are your favorite workout moves and skills you have learned at Fhitting Room? Do you have any least favorites?

My favorite workout move at Fhitting Room is the box jump because I love jumping and (like most of the moves at the Fhitting Room) I used to be terrible at it and now I am so much better. I used to hate the burpee because I just couldn’t do that many but then I trained for a Spartan race, put my mind to it, and dare I say it, I am actually starting to love them.

What advice do you have for first time FHIXers?

My advice for first time FHIXers would be to not get discouraged if you didn’t feel “good enough” at the moves the first time you come. That doesn’t matter one bit!!!! Knowing that I have come so far as a FHIXer makes me super proud and keeps me motivated to push myself to new limits each time.

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Build Muscle, Rebuild Puerto Rico

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The recent devastation caused by hurricanes Irma and Maria in Puerto Rico and the rest of the Caribbean have hit especially close to home for many of our FHITfam, especially those who have family and heritage in PR.

In order to support the recovery efforts, we will be hosting two PUERTO RICO STRONG classes with 100% of the proceeds going to New York Foundling en Puerto Rico, an organization focused on helping kids in low income areas continue their education during this difficult time.

The Deets:
• PUERTO RICO STRONG classes will be held on Saturday 10/14 at 4:00pm and 5:00pm at our Flatiron studio.
• These beneFHIT classes will be $51/spot (in honor of PR feeling like our “51st state!”)
• Daury, Dennys and Carlos will be instructing both of these classes. Yes, all THREE FHITpros will be serving up an extra strong FHIX in honor of Puerto Rico.
• To reserve your spot, call, email or go online to our “Rates and Packages” page and purchase the “Puerto Rico Strong BeneFHIT class” package. Then book your preferred class time on our Flatiron studio schedule.
• All attendees will be entered into a raffle, with one client from each class receiving a special bundle from Nike, including a Nike backpack and training shoes.

We hope you can join us for these beneFHIT classes. If you are unable to make our PUERTO RICO STRONG Signature FHIX classes but would still like to help, donate directly to New York Foundling en Puerto Rico here.

FHIX. Build (muscle). Rebuild Puerto Rico.

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September FHIT10

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Whether you’re a current student or long-time alumni, September always feel like a month to buckle up and start fresh– and FHITness is no exception. With additional classes at our Upper West Side studio and the return of one of our long-time FHITpros, this fall is the perfect opportunity to take your workouts to the next level. Keep reading to get up to speed and ready for the action-packed season ahead.

1) Tech-loving workout fiends, take note: the new Apple Watch Series 3 is tricked out with every fitness feature imaginable, including a special workout setting dedicated to high intensity interval training. SELF has the details on all of the innovative new features.

2) Need killer beats to get through the last minute of a FHIX? You’re not alone. Steve Aoki, who counts high intensity interval training as his favorite way to break a sweat, is creating music specifically designed for going full throttle during workouts. Forbes caught up with him to get all of the details.

3) Don’t let tough workouts wreak havoc on your muscles. The next time your body needs some extra TLC, try out recovery tips from this Women’s Health. Be sure to catch FHITpro (and resident pull-up queen) Lacee Lazoff’s tried and true routine for recharging.

4) File this under reason 1,000,001 to prioritize breaking a sweat: according to this New York Times article, physical activity may lower breast cancer risk. A new study examined the effects that aerobic capacity had on rats exposed to a chemical known to trigger breast cancer. The animals with higher fitness levels had a much lower rate of disease and tumor growth. Given that October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, now is the perfect time to keep up (or amp up) your FHITness routine.

5) Want to recreate a Fhitting Room class at your local gym? The next time you can’t make your usual FHIX, check out this workout FHITpros Carlos Davila and Troy Brooks created for PopSugar. The burpee EMOM at the end is no joke!

6) Afraid to take the plunge and sign up for an early morning FHIX? One Well+Good writer attempted a week of pre-sunrise workouts (including a FHIX) and shared her (mostly) positive experience with AM sweat sessions here.

7) Ready to take your #bootygains to the next level? FHITpro Melody Scharff shared some of her favorite glute toning moves with What’s Good by Vitamin Shoppe.

8) You already know hydration is a must, but what about how much and when? Greatist gets specific about when you need H20, the role diet plays in staying hydrated, and when to go easy on the water gulps.

9) Our newest FHITmama is back with a bang! Amanda returned to teaching on 9/9/17 and we couldn’t be more excited to have her on the schedule at Upper West Side and Penthouse.

10) Whether you’re a frequent FHIXer or a newbie, it never hurts to brush up on the basics. If you’re looking to have it all broken down for you, check out Byrdie to learn more about interval training and why it’s shaking up the FHITness game.

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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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