January gave us a strong (and cold) start to the New Year. We’re taking a look back at the NYC fitness stories that made an impact on us over the past month. From new workouts to new leggings, and from ever important stretching techniques to serious scientific advances, check out our picks for the most important happenings so far in 2018.
1. Don’t be one of those people who skips leg day. Build up your bottom half and get a strong foundation to stand on. Need help on where to start? Blast your booty and tone your thighs with this amazing workout created by our very own Melody Scharff for Self Magazine.
2. Ralph Lauren has once again designed the uniforms for all Team USA athletes headed to the 2018 Olympic Winter Games. As we head into February, you may want to pick up a few of these pieces, which include innovated heat technology that’s guaranteed to keep you warm on even the bitterest of NYC’s winter days.
3. If you’re feeling stiff post workout, or just looking for ways to relieve tension and wind down, check out these 21 stretches, compiled by FHITpros Jess Sims and Lacee Lazoff for Self Magazine. Stretching is often overlooked because it isn’t flashy or exciting, but it’s a key component to a healthy body.
4. The 2018 Winter Olympics are just around the corner. Get an inside look at how Lindsey Vonn is preparing with this article from New York Times Magazine, and maybe even pick up a few tips that will up your game on the slopes.
5. If you’re looking to expand your fitness and wellness routine this year, check out this article by NBC News, which lays out the top 8 fitness trends for 2018.
6. It’s not too late to resurrect your New Year’s resolution. If you’re looking for a fresh way to continue working your 2018 goals, or if your goal is to help your kids develop good habits early, check out these new NYC classes.
7. Triceps… another word for those muscles on the back of your arms that can be a bit problematic. If you (like a lot of people) need some strengthening in that area, check out our trainer Simon Lawson’s targeted exercises in this write up for Ask Men.
8. Check out New York Family’s first ever Fitness & Wellness Parent Power List., including FHIT Founder, Kari Saitowitz. Give the article a read for some ideas to help keep your whole family fit.
9. According to this article by NPR, scientists at Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center are close to developing a blood test that would detect certain types of cancers before symptoms have developed. That’s great news for your health, and a huge sign of progress in the field!
10. Between soy, oat, rice, almond, and coconut, there are a ton of non-dairy milk options out there. But which is the healthiest? According to Time, the best choice for your latte (and your health) is soy.
This was a big year for Fhitting Room; we opened our newest location in March and added a few new all star FHITpros. We’re so proud of everything our FHIXers have accomplished: from climbing mountains to crushing marathons, losing the baby weight to gaining confidence and strength, we continue to be inspired by each and every one of you. Keep reading for the last pieces of FHIT news we talked about in 2017 and the stories motivating us to HIT it hard in the new year!
1) If you struggle to squeeze in workouts, these 15 minute routines are your new secret weapon. Designed by our own Daury Dross, AskMen shares two short HIT workouts that will get your heart rate up fast while also helping you build muscle.
2) We love pushing it to the max, HITing it safely is the only way to see healthy, long term results. SHAPE breaks down the four biggest risk factors when it comes to interval training and studios with knowledgeable instructors leading you as a must. We couldn’t agree more and love our instructor duos for this exact reason: double the form checks and double the injury prevention.
3) Everyone knows that regular exercise can help you lose fat, but did you know it also makes your fat tissue healthier? The New York Times explains a recent study which found that even a single workout session can change the molecular workings of fat tissue in a way that can improve metabolic health. Talk about instant results!
4) Another day, another piece of research pointing to the brain boosting benefits of HIT workouts. The Observer discusses a recent study published by the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience that suggests that interval training can help improve memory and decrease the risk of falling victim to diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s as you age.
5) Looking to create a home gym in 2018? Check out this shopping guide from New York Magazine. The round up includes a rower recommendation from FHITpro Eric Salvador so you can rack up meters on the erg in between trips to the Fhitting Room.
6) Curious as to which workout trends reigned supreme in 2017? Business Insider put together a list of all the most popular types of exercise, based on how frequently they were Googled. FHIT favorites like burpees, tabatas, and TRX training all made the list and HIT itself secured a spot in the top 10 as well.
7) If you’re eager to drop some weight in 2018, this SELF article will help you pick the best workouts for your goals. Weight training, Tabata, and interval training were some of the top picks for weight loss, so regular FHIXes are pretty much a triple threat.
8) The next time you’re looking for a snack and a pick-me-up rolled into one, consider choosing one of the foods on this list of energizing eats by Men’s Health. Combining a couple is a great way to put together a meal that will help fuel your next workout, no energy drink required.
9) The next time you’re struggling to make it through a FHIX, consider trying to smile a little. Well+Good breaks down a recent study which found that exercisers who grinned throughout their workout performed better than those who kept a neutral or distressed expression.
10) Need a last minute New Year’s resolution? Check out these 50 creative resolutions from PureWow to find one that works for you and your lifestyle.
New Year’s isn’t just about champagne toasts, countdown clocks and friends; it’s also a time to reflect on what you have been grateful for throughout the year, your hopes and dreams for the year to come and what you can do to help those less fortunate. During 2017, we partnered with a variety of philanthropic organizations, each with its own worthy cause, inspiring story, and uplifting message. Keep reading to learn about the different charities we worked with this year and what you can do to help give someone else something big to be grateful for.
We celebrated Pride Month this year with the creation of our rainbow Live FHIT tank. Not only was this shirt a must for warm weekends at the beach, it was also our way of raising money for the Human Rights Campaign, an organization that advocates for LGBTQ equality.
After a devastating hurricane season, we were eager to give back and support Houston, where many of our loyal FHIXers call home. As a team, we donated to Music for Relief, an organization founded by Linkin Park in order to provide relief from natural disasters around the world. This charity partnered up with Team Rubicon USA in Houston, and donated 100 percent of their proceeds to search and rescue efforts.
For the third year in a row, we traded our assault bikes for spin bikes and peddled our hearts out during this special fundraiser. We raised over $27,000 dollars, all of which went to funding rare cancer research at Memorial Sloan Kettering.
Our FHIX Like a Girl Tanks were more than just a cute play on words; they were a means to raise money for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation during October, which is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. 20 percent of the proceeds from each tank top sale went directly to funding cutting edge breast cancer research.
With many members of our FHITfam hailing from Puerto Rico, supporting the island after a devastating hurricane season was near and dear to our hearts. Daury, Dennys, and Carlos triple-taught two beneFHIT classes to raise money for the New York Foundling, a child welfare agency that has been instrumental in rebuilding Puerto Rico post-storm.
She’s the First
Former FHITpro Emily Cook Harris produces an annual FITWeek that unites the local fitness community in order to raise money for education. This year, these funds went to She’s The First, a nonprofit that sponsors girls education in low income countries. We hosted a Saturday morning class at Flatiron as part of this week-long event and were thrilled to have a chance to catch up with a much-missed member of our FHITfam.
One of our most loyal FHIXers, Amy Knepper founded TEAM ANDI after her daughter spent weeks in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Mount Sinai Hospital. Her organization raises funds to develop private family suites in the hospital, so that new parents can spend as much time as possible with their babies before they are cleared to take them home.
Motivated by her own struggle to obtain health insurance coverage while recovering from an eating disorder, Sammi Farber decided to raise money to aide other patients who are unable to afford the cost of treatment. Sammi is a frequent FHIXer and beloved member of our community and we are so excited to support her advocacy work.
Bummed you missed out on purchasing a FHIX like a Girl Tank or attending one of our Puerto Rico beneFHIT classes? It’s not too late to donate to any of these organizations and make an impact of your own before the ball drops in Times Square at midnight.
Flatiron may have a reputation for being New York City’s “fitness district,” but it’s far from the only neighborhood with top-notch workout offerings. The next time you’re looking to break a sweat, consider checking out some of the fitness studios on the Upper West Side. Whether you’re looking to perfect your headstand in a yoga class or work on your endurance by trying indoor cycling, this neighborhood has you covered. Keep reading to learn where to work out on the Upper West Side.
This nationwide power yoga brand recently opened their first New York City studio on the corner of 70th and Broadway. Hybrid classes such as Yoga Sculpt and Hot Power Fusion will make you rethink calling yoga a recovery workout while slower practices like CorePower Yoga 1 are great for newbies. Newcomers are treated to a week-long free trial, so you can get a taste of what CorePower has to offer before springing for a package.
Long before its “cult” status, SoulCycle classes were taught in an unmarked building on W 72nd Street, so it only makes sense that the brand has not 1 but 2 locations in its OG neighborhood. If you’re looking to tap it back and find your Soul, be sure to head to either 77th Street and Amsterdam or 92nd Street and Broadway. With a mixture of veteran instructors and new talent, there’s bound to be a class for every taste and experience level.
If you’re more into crushing the TorqBoard than riding to the rhythm, the Upper West Side will not disappoint. Flywheel has two locations in the neighborhood; a temporary space on 75th and Broadway and a multi-level spin and barre studio on 66th and Amsterdam. Wherever you chose to sweat it out, you can expect interval-based classes that incorporate metrics and a little friendly competition to make sure you make the most of your 45 (or 60) minute workout.
After megaformers became a major fitness trend in California, it was SLT that brought the muscle sculpting workout to the East Coast. Often referred to as “Pilates on steroids”, this bodyweight-based fitness class is all about feeling the burn. The Upper West Side studio is on the corner of 88th Street and Columbus Avenue, and with just 14 megaformers, you are guarenteed lots of personal attention.
Another bodyweight-centric fitness methodology, barre is a low impact way to build strength and mobility with little equipment required. Pure Barre is one of the largest ballet-based workouts, with franchised studios all over the country, including a location on Columbus Avenue, near 80th Street. If you’re looking for an extra cardio boost, be sure to try the brand’s Empower class, which blends traditional barre moves with plyometrics and weight training.
This ballet-based workout delivers 57 minutes of muscle-sculpting, low impact strength training programmed to keep your heart rate up thanks to the addition of interval training. One of the brand’s four Manhattan locations is on West 73rd Street, on the ground level of the historic Ansonia Hotel. Barre newbies are encouraged to stick to the Beginner’s class to focus on nailing proper form while more experienced pulsers can check out creative class offerings like Mat 57 and Focused Interval Training.
If you’re looking for lots of variety when it comes to your yoga classes, Pure Yoga may be the perfect studio for you. Located on 77th and Amsterdam, the membership-based yoga spot offers a plethora of types of practices including Ashtanga, Vinyasa, and Iyengar, as well as multi-disciplinary options such barre and interval training. If you’re not looking to commit to a monthly membership, you can still give Pure Yoga a try by attending one of their classes marked as “Open” and paying the drop-in fee.
No Upper West Side fitness studio round-up would be complete without mentioning our newest studio location, on 88th Street and Columbus Avenue. In case you’re new to HITing it, our Signature FHIX classes are 50 minutes of high intensity interval training that combine kettlebell and dumbbell work with time on the rower, ski erg, and assault bike. Our instructor duos will break down every move and make sure your form is on point, so you can walk out feeling strong and accomplished.
The next time you’re looking for somewhere to sweat it out, be sure to take a trip to this uptown neighborhood, where you’ll have your pick of high quality workout options.
Despite being best friends with our FHITfounder, Yul Kaseman had some initial hesitations when it came to jumping into her first HIT (high intensity training) class. Now one of our most dedicated 6AM FHIXers, Yul credits HIT sessions with helping her de-stress and building back her confidence after the birth of her two children. Keep reading to learn more about Yul’s journey and her advice to new moms about the benefits of regular workouts.
1) Tell us about your first FHIXperience. How did you feel before, during, and after the class?
I remember going to the 80th street location after it had been open for a while even though Kari, the founder, is my best friend!! I had my first kid when she opened and it took me until after my 2nd kid to get there. I barely knew what day it was and had not worked out for years! A friend wanted to start working out together and I said we MUST go to my friend’s studio because it’s supposed to be phenomenal.
I actually had butterflies when I first went. I made it through – I remember being a bit embarrassed because I couldn’t keep up, but I do remember the instructors being SO kind and encouraging. I felt like I could do it again. I definitely didn’t walk out saying, “Oh, that’s not for me,” which I have felt with some workouts.
2) How old are your children? How did pregnancy change your relationship with your body?
I have a 6 year old and a 4 year old. Pregnancy VERY much changed my relationship with my body. My body seemed like it existed for my kids only. After birthing and breastfeeding, I became very un-attuned with my body as something that functioned for me. I did some yoga during my pregnancies, but that was it, and after two C sections I had some minor complications as well as Diastasis Recti. I had been active my whole life, yet after pregnancy it was so hard to find that energy and confidence again. I was far from unhealthy, but I certainly wasn’t fit and didn’t know how to get back to my previous fitness level.
3) What is Diastasis Recti and when were you diagnosed with it? What are the treatment options?
Diastasis Recti is a separation of your abdominal muscles, and it’s quite common after pregnancy. I think the statistic is 1 in 4 women have it, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was more because many women aren’t diagnosed. I joke that my 2nd child literally broke my stomach. I was diagnosed only because someone I knew mentioned they had it and I thought, “wait, that sounds like me.”
When you have diastasis you have little to no core strength. Lower back pain is common and was one of my main problems. The first time I went to Fhitting Room, I couldn’t hold a plank for more than 10 seconds and my stomach looked like it was falling out. Having this very definitive thing that made me look odd and feel bad was a huge bummer. Surgery is the only thing that can truly “fix” it. Muscles don’t reattach themselves. Corrective surgery is a huge cost and basically almost the same as having another C section in terms of pain and recovery time.
4) What did you decide to do to remedy your condition?
I was so frustrated I decided I’d get surgery eventually. In the meantime, I’d focus on working out. I had been going to Fhitting Room regularly for a year or so, but once or twice a week. I tried all sorts of other workouts too. Spinning, barre, other high intensity workouts. I did physical therapy specifically for my core problems. I kept coming back to Fhitting Room because ultimately I felt like it was making an impact, but also safe. At first, I felt shy about asking for help, but I became more proactive about asking and making sure I was doing things correctly. You will NEVER have a FHITpro not stop to help you when you ask for it. I really started to make progress in my core strength. I remember earlier this year being able to hold a plank for a full minute and not having a problem while a young guy next to me struggled!
5) What are your favorite moves you have learned at Fhitting Room? Are there any moves you think are particularly beneficial to post-natal clients?
I love box jumps because I’m oddly good at them and they make me feel strong and powerful! I think working with the straps is great for post natal because it’s body weight and if you are doing it right, you are engaging your core the whole time. Many of the moves at Fhitting Room require you to hold your core while you are doing them; weighted squats, kettlebell swings, weighted lunges and obviously planks. Any sort of sit-ups are risky for diastasis so FHITpros always adjust the program for me during this exercise.
I like that I’m strengthening my core by keeping it engaged during exercises versus doing straight core workouts, most of which are not suitable for diastasis anyway.
6) Who are your favorite FHITpros and why?
Hmm this is like picking my favorite food! I love all of them! I generally work out at 6 am so I see a lot of the same instructors, but I love all the FHITpros really. Everyone is quite different and I get a kick out of all their personalities. I’ve taken a lot of fitness classes and I’ve seen a lot of great instructors. I think Fhitting Room has many great instructors versus one or two star instructors.
7) What is the most important change you have noticed in yourself (physically or emotionally) since becoming a FHIXer?
I’m a very different person since I started prioritizing Fhitting Room. As I said, after pregnancy my body changed. I couldn’t do the same things I used to do, I gained a lot of weight I couldn’t lose, and in retrospect I lost a lot of confidence. Last year I had a very stressful situation happen that made for very difficult days. It could have gone really badly, but on the days when I had a great workout, I felt much better physically and emotionally. I started to look into it a bit and I’ll let people do their own research, but I am definitely a data point that supports that a high intensity workout can help with stress. It’s a virtuous circle. I worked out more, I got stronger physically, I became more confident and experienced mental clarity and stress relief.
I am fully reliant on my workouts now. If there are days when I have a big meeting, or a tough schedule, I make sure I get a FHIX in. I have tried getting more sleep, drinking more coffee, meditating – but it’s FHIXes that work for me. I have lost about 20lbs since having my second child; I have gone up 2 levels of weights since starting Fhitting Room and just ran a half marathon 14 years after my last one. I even ran faster than I had before. And I’m not having diastasis surgery by the way, because though the muscles are still separated, I have regained a lot of core strength and my abs have flattened a great deal.
8) How do you squeeze in FHIXes while juggling the responsibilities that come with being a parent? How do you talk about fitness and body image with your kids?
I am lucky that I can work out at 6am while my kids are still sleeping. My husband doesn’t work out in the early mornings so that works for our family. Do I wish I could sleep more? Sure. But as I said, for me, it works better than more sleep. I get more energy and it helps me with stress. I played sports my whole life, but it’s now that I really appreciate the importance of being fit. Having physically active kids is something my husband and I are very emphatic about. We go as far as saying that it’s not sports but fitness that we care about. Our kids seem athletic, but maybe they won’t find a sport they love. We still want them to always value a strong body and what goes into that.
9) What advice would you give to new moms who are struggling with body image issues and the after effects of pregnancy?
All I can say is, hey I was there, full on. I have a different body now and I’m not special in any way, I just started to show up once a week, then twice a week, then three times a week. I thought it was so hard, I thought it was painful, but wow, the rewards. I am so grateful I did this. Just give it a go. It doesn’t have to be Fhitting Room, but try something at some point. But yeah, do try Fhitting Room ; )
Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone, it’s time to get back into your FHITness routine and finish 2017 with a bang. Whether it’s increasing how frequently you get your FHIX or finally upping your kettlebell swing weight, we’re all about closing out the year on a high note. This month’s roundup of FHIT news will leave you inspired and ready to conquer the rest of the year (and beyond), so keep reading!
1. Strength training isn’t just fun, it might be lifesaving. A new study found that exercisers who incorporated weight training into their workout routine decreased their risk of premature death by 23% and were 31% less likely to die from cancer-related causes. Check out Mindbodygreen for the full story and grab that heavy kettlebell in class STAT.
2. It’s not just in your head; working out in a group really is a better stress reliever than sweating it out solo. Well + Good has the deets on a new study that found that subjects who exercised with peers experienced a 26% decrease in perceived stress levels. The next time you’re getting anxious, grab a friend and get your FHIX together to calm both of your nerves.
3. Looking to holiday shop for the fitness fanatics in your life? The Observer has you covered when it comes to gift recommendations for all the sweat addicts you know. Warning: Their picks are so good, you may be tempted to buy some for yourself.
4. In case you need some extra motivation to lift heavy, check out this New York Times article. The piece discusses a new study which found that in order to maintain muscle mass and lose fat as you age, incorporating strength training into your routine is a must.
5. If you’re looking to shed pounds in 2018 and want to make sure you’re doing it the healthy way, take a peek at this Shape story. FHITpro Jess Sims explains why finding a workout you love is so important and touts the benefits of mixing up your fitness routine.
6. Questioning whether you should try a pre-workout supplement? SELF breaks down what these boosters do, the ingredients you should look for, and why they are becoming so popular.
7. You’ve probably heard the term tossed around before, but do you know what active recovery really means? FHITpro Jason Tran explains to AskMen why rest days are important and some tried and true recovery methods.
8. Greatist created a roundup of healthy recipes specifically for post-feast munching to help keep you on track through the holidays. These fruit and veggie centric bites will help you stave off a major sugar crash and give you that dose of antioxidants you’ve been missing.
9. Consult this SHAPE article before your next recovery day to make sure you make the most of it. FHITpro Melody Scharff shares her ideal schedule for full body repair, which includes foam rolling, protein packed meals, and Epsom salt baths.
10. Do you know as much as you think you do about HIT workouts? FHITpro Eric Salvador’s article in Men’s Health sheds light on 5 common misconceptions about interval training. Be sure to try his chipper workout in between FHIXes!