Member Stories

  • Andy Lustigman, Partner at Olshan Law, which represents NYHRC advertising compliance, takes full advantage of NYHRC’s offerings. From cardio, to boxing & strength training, Andy is now 50 pounds lighter and continues to crush his personal best.

    What inspired you to start living a healthier lifestyle?

    I was approaching 50 years old and was on the wrong track with my health. I was the heaviest I’d ever been and knew that the time to change was now.

    How have you changed in the past 9 months?

    I made a firm commitment to eat healthy (clean eating) and work out regularly. I’ve dropped over 50 lbs since June and feel the best I have felt in decades.

    What was the hardest change to make in your daily routine?

    Eliminating pizza for lunch and bagels for breakfast.

    What’s your favorite thing about NYHRC?

    There are a few things:

    NYHRC 56th St. trainer, Akin Ajamu. He trains me very hard in conditioning and strength exercises, and goes the extra mile to ensure I train safely and effectively.

    The boxing classes at 56th Street; I love to work a sweat and let out aggression and frustration.

    The 56th Street club’s proximity to Central Park lets me do cardio in Central Park, and have a post stretch and clean up at the club before work.

    What keeps you motivated to continue?

    I’ve worked very hard to get to where I am. I don’t want to go back.

    Favorite workout:

    Boxing

    Favorite cheat meal:

    Wine

    What would you say to someone who is just beginning his/her journey to living a healthier lifestyle?

    Make a genuine commitment to diet and exercise. There are no short cuts; this is a process. If you can, use a trainer to help keep you on track. If that’s not in the budget, take advantage of the classes and set minimum weekly attendance goals. No one is perfect, but do your best to stay on track. Don’t eat crap. Breathe.

  • Emily Gallagher, a long distance, ultra marathon (50K) runner and NYHRC cycling instructor, recently took to the streets of New York to complete her seventh marathon.

    What is your favorite part about the NYC Marathon?

    I love so many things about the TCS New York City Marathon. I worked for New York Road Runners, the organizers of the race, for nearly four years, so I loved being on the participant side for the first time in awhile. One million plus spectators that line the streets and cheer all day for the runners and the entertainment are unlike any other race I’ve ever experienced.

    What was the hardest part of training? 

    Making sure I was getting the supporting shorter runs in addition to my long training runs throughout the week was definitely challenging.

    What’s your favorite thing about NYHRC? 

    I love the amount of classes that NYHRC offers, especially for someone training for a marathon. You can do a long run on the weekend, take a yoga class to recover, jump in a cycling class for cross training, and then repeat each week.

    Favorite workout: 

    My two cycling classes that I teach! Tuesday mornings at 21st Street and Wednesday mornings at 13th Street.

    Favorite cheat meal: 

    My mom’s macaroni and cheese.

    What would you say to someone who is just beginning their journey to living a healthier lifestyle?

    Take it day by day and celebrate the small victories.

  • Alex Jacques was determined to crush her weight loss goals and set the bar high for her wedding day. Not only did she exceed her goals, but she was also able to walk down the aisle feeling both confident and strong.

     

    What inspired you to start living a healthier lifestyle? 

    I was living in Baltimore working for a fitness apparel brand and was inspired to lose the weight I had gained during and after college (about 30 pounds). I had always belonged to a gym but only went sporadically. I started running daily and lost 10 pounds. I moved to NYC, joined NYHRC and started going to Corinne's Zumba classes. I lost about 5 more pounds and then hit a plateau. I got engaged in July of 2015 and became very motivated to lose the last 15 pounds. I went to classes 6 days a week and if I couldn't make it to class, I would run on my own. I started to lift weights and completely changed my diet. I tracked what I ate through the My Fitness Pal app. I lost the last 15 pounds and hit my goal weight exactly 1 week before my wedding. I was able to walk down the aisle feeling confident, beautiful, and strong. Now, I am maintaining my weight loss by sticking to my class schedule and eating healthy.

     

    How have you changed in the past 6 months? 

    I went from a size 8-10/ large to a size 4/ small. I have completely new eating habits and if I skip a gym day, I feel sluggish the next day. I've always loved snowboarding out west each winter and I no longer exhaust quickly on the mountain.

     

    What was the hardest change to make in your daily routine? 

    My diet. Hitting the gym once I found classes I loved was easy. Giving up all the unhealthy foods I craved was not. I satisfy my sweet tooth with dark chocolate each night after dinner. 

     

    What’s your favorite thing about NYHRC? 

    I work in professional sports and my schedule is a little out of wack. Because there are multiple locations within walking distance from my apartment, I can always find an amazing class. If we are in season and have games that force me to miss a class, I can easily get to the gym before work and do a HIIT workout on the treadmill.

     

    What keeps you motivated to continue? 

    I feel good when I put on clothes now. I don't spend hours changing outfits and constantly feel like I have nothing to wear. I also love that I am regularly taking classes that I never would have been able to get through in the past (like Knockout) and feel great afterwards. 

     

    Favorite workout: 

    Zumba and Knockout

     

    Favorite cheat meal: 

    Mexican

     

    What would you say to someone who is just beginning their journey to living a healthier lifestyle?

    Force yourself to stick with it for the first few weeks. It’s hard to maintain a regular workout schedule at first but once you start seeing results it gets a lot easier. If you are like me and find that being on an elliptical for 30 minutes is monotonous, then try taking classes and find ones that you really enjoy. Or mix it up with a HIIT workout.

  • After a drastic physical change, Lisa Swan chose to make health and fitness a priority. Now, after crushing her weight loss goals, she’s feeling more than ready to take on her next challenge: the NYC Marathon.

     

    What inspired you to start living a healthier lifestyle?

    I quit smoking after 20 years, but that and a sedentary lifestyle led to a massive 90-pound weight gain. When I hit 252 pounds, I realized that if I didn’t reverse course, I was going to be eligible for “My 600 Lb. Life.” I was also starting to feel physical repercussions: I was tired all the time and got winded just climbing subway stairs. I already had high blood pressure, and was worried diabetes was in my future, especially since my mother is overweight and a diabetic. So, it was time to make big changes.

     

    How have you changed in the past 6 months?

    Although I still have a few more pounds to lose until I get to my final goal weight, I’m proud of how I look now. I was even able to rock a bikini at the beach this summer at the age of 49! I also now see myself as a real runner. I started running a few years ago but really pushed to a higher level recently with the weight loss I’ve experienced since joining NYHRC. I’ve done three half-marathons, with my best time of 2:43:46 this spring at the Brooklyn Half. I’m now training for the NYC Marathon, my first full marathon. When I first joined NYHRC, I mostly just used the treadmill and elliptical machines, but once I started to feel more confident, I started taking cycle and dance classes.

     

    What was the hardest change to make in your daily routine?

    Keeping at it every day, especially when you don’t always see fast results. We live in a quick-fix society, but fitness means a long-term commitment. I noticed that the more I work at it, the better results I get. That’s what keeps me going.

     

    What’s your favorite thing about NYHRC?

    The facilities make me feel like I’m going to a spa. And the instructors are really great. I particularly like cycling instructors Tracie Hendricks and Joe Duffy, Masala Bhangra guru Stephanie Skaferowsky, and stretch class expert John Tarmaggiore.

     

    What keeps you motivated to continue?

    The satisfaction I get from reaching goals, and the energy and positive attitude I get from working out regularly.

     

    Favorite workout:

    Cycle Shred.

     

    Favorite cheat meal:

    Fried clam strips and shrimp, Mexican corn on the cob, a margarita, and a Levain chocolate chip cookie.

     

    What would you say to someone who is just beginning their journey to living a healthier lifestyle?

    Find something you like to do and want to get better at. Bring your workout clothes with you and go to the gym either before or after work. Once you go home after work, the chances are very slim that you’ll want to go out again to workout. Don’t be afraid to try new things and talk to your instructors after class. They are all very helpful and supportive.

  • Sidiki Conde-Tokounou made his fame in Africa dancing on his hands. He came to America in 1998 as the lead dancer and choreographer for Les Mervielles de Guinea to perform at Lincoln Center. The Challenged Athlete Foundation funded his NYHRC membership, where he continues to perfect his passion.

     

    What inspired you to start dancing and living a healthier lifestyle?

    I first began dancing to belong.  I lost the use of my legs when I was 14. Being disabled was devastating because in my homeland, Guinea, people with disabilities are thought to bring shame and bad luck upon their family and village. After my paralysis, I was taken out of school and sent to live in my grandfather’s village deep in the forest. When the time came for the coming-of-age ceremony where the young men dance the traditional steps into manhood I knew if I did not dance in this ceremony, I would forever remain separate and cut off from my community.  I reconstructed the traditional steps, dancing on my hands instead of my feet. I continue dancing and working out to reaffirm that connection.

      

    How did dance become a part of your life?

    In my country traditional music and dance is the vehicle with which people connect to their community. The performance of specific rhythms and dances are essential to the ceremonies associated with marriage, birth, baptism, the production of food and more. It is inseparable from the community and not an isolated performance event.

     

    What was the hardest challenge you’ve overcome?

    At that time, when I was living in the rural village, there were no wheelchairs. So my choreography was defined by what I could do on my hands.

     

    How has NYHRC helped you?

    I joined to maintain strength and flexibility in my shoulders. As a dancer, my shoulders are crucial to my vocation as a dancer.  My training was in the rigorous and specific steps and rhythms of Guinean traditional dance.  This discipline is as rigorous and specific as any classical ballet form. 

     

    What keeps you motivated to continue?

    In my professional life I teach both abled bodied and dancers with disabilities. I feel what they can do and I lead them by my heart.  I don’t agree with limiting one’s vision by disability. We transcend any disability when dancing. It disappears.

     

    What is your personal health and fitness motto?

    I approach dance with discipline to feel myself, to keep my mind calm, my heart clean, and my focus straight. With these principals in mind, obstacles can be overcome, mountains climbed, discomfort endured. People see a ‘handicap’ when you lose your eyesight or legs, but true handicaps come only from the mind; the limits we place on ourselves. We can do anything, and our community is everywhere.

     

     

     

  • From professional rugby player to boxer and now model, Franklin Vincentio has always been inspired to be the best athlete possible.

     

    What inspired you to start living a healthier lifestyle?

    Being the best athlete I could possibly be is what has always inspired me. I signed as a professional rugby player back in England at a very young age. Then I was a boxer and now a model/actor, so health and fitness have always been a part of my life.

     

    How have you changed in the past 6 months?

    It’s important to achieve your desired aesthetic and make it a lifestyle. I don’t believe in fad diets, or quick, big changes in your body (getting washboard abs in 6 weeks!) I’m faster than ever now, as I’ve been training for rugby sevens season, and quicker and more powerful in my upper body as I’m focusing on my boxing again.

     

    What was the hardest change to make in your daily routine?

    Incorporating rest days. I genuinely love training, and would work out every day if I could, but your body needs rest, and listening and giving time to repair is key.

     

    What’s your favorite thing about NYHRC?

    The staff is very cool, always upbeat and positive from the moment you walk in. Coming from an athletic background I’m used to training in spit and sawdust type gyms, with metal plates and rusty barbells. NYHRC has all the equipment I need. I also never knew the pleasure of a nice steam room until now, and some sweet smelling body lotion.

     

    Favorite workout:

    Boxing drills, parachute sprints, and calisthenics days which are always fun (and bench press)

     

    Favorite cheat meal:

    ICE CREAM. No question, ice cream, every day, any flavor. I don’t even need a bowl; just give me a couple of tubs… Did I mention I love ice cream?

     

    What would you say to someone who is just beginning their journey to living a healthier lifestyle?

    Starting a journey in fitness or health isn’t easy. If I were honest, I’d say you are going to fail, everyone does and you should accept that now. However, strength comes from recovery. Make it easy on yourself, make a plan, write down a big goal then lots of smaller tangible goals leading up to it, and then only focus on one small goal at a time. Don’t try and change everything at once, especially with nutrition. Instead, make lots of small manageable changes and soon they will become part of your lifestyle. Don’t let a cheat meal become a cheat day, and a cheat day become a cheat week. My favorite inspirational quote from my main man Socrates: “No man has the right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training. It is a shame for a man to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable.” Your body can do amazing things; now go have some fun!       

     

     

  • After the birth of her twin girls, Roxanne Montalvo-Tsai chose to make fitness a priority again. Now, she’s more than just determined to reach her personal goals-- she’s also motivated to help others do the same.

     

    What inspired you to start living a healthier lifestyle?

    I had always been into fitness, but then I had twin baby girls with heart defects who both needed open heart surgery. It was a rough beginning, but once things settled in a bit, I needed to get a lot of stress out, so I went back to my “comfort zone,” which is fitness.

     

    How have you changed in the past 6 months?

    My brother is a big-time runner and running coach, so I’ve added more outdoor running to my fitness routine. I just ran the NYC Half Marathon and absolutely loved it! Next I’ll be running the Brooklyn Half Marathon and I’m very excited about it.

     

    What was the hardest change to make in your daily routine?

    When the twins were infants, they went to sleep earlier, so I would stay up late and workout while everyone slept.  Now, the girls go to sleep later at night, so I’ve changed my routine to either go out for a morning run, or do some body sculpting moves with free weights in the living room in the morning or during their afternoon nap.

     

    What’s your favorite thing about NYHRC?

    I used to teach Zumba, Aqua Zumba, aerobics, and body sculpt classes at NYHRC.  I love being part of the club because of the swimming pools, which are perfect for Aqua Zumba! Some locations also have basketball courts to shoot hoops, which tone arms.

     

    What keeps you motivated to continue?

    Being a mom of three small children can be very hectic and stressful.  Exercise is my stress release. I had two pregnancies with two C-sections.  One of them was for a twin pregnancy.  My belly expanded so much and my abs had taken a beating.  I used to have a fit figure before children and that’s my motivation to get back in shape again.  I’m not a fan of plastic surgery, so a tummy tuck is completely out of the question!  I believe I can get my abs back with hard work and be a great example for my children.

     

     

    Favorite workout:

    Zumba will always be my favorite workout!  I used to go clubbing when I was younger and I love music so it was a perfect fit. Now, I feel much healthier (and safer!) dancing at a gym or in my living room.

     

    Favorite cheat meal

    Buttered popcorn - I have to pour myself a small bowl or else I would eat the whole bag!

     

    What would you say to someone who is just beginning their journey to living a healthier lifestyle?

    Take the first step and never look back. Start by taking one class a week or a short half hour workout at home. Then, as you get more comfortable, add more workouts or gym classes. You won’t see results overnight; it’s a slow progression and you definitely have to dedicate time for a better you. I’m so happy with my results and I know you will be happy with yours, too.

     

  • After experiencing a serious family crisis, Cassandra Nuamah chose to make an incredible life transformation. She is a NYHRC group fitness instructor who is a true inspiration.

     

    What inspired you to start living a healthier lifestyle?

    I would look at myself in the mirror and say, “I don’t get it; I workout everyday. Why am I not seeing results?” At that point, I had just accepted where I was. Then in 2005, my sister who has lupus was deathly ill and paralyzed from the waist down. The doctors told us that she’d never walk again and would die within a few weeks time span. My mom, not taking that as her fate, pulled her out of the hospital and literally healed her naturally by juicing vegetables and greens daily for her, every hour on the hour until she gained feeling in her legs and started walking again. My sister is now recovered and even teaches my mom’s workout, KUKUWA® African Dance! My sister’s illness and her holistic healing had a serious affect on me. That’s when I realized I needed to get it together and start eating better, not just to lose weight but for my health!

      

    How have you changed in the past 6 months?

    I’ve realized that I need to do what I never do in order to see what I never see. In other words, my body is so used to dancing and working out that I have to increase the intensity and frequency of workouts in order to see a difference. I’ve always been used to working out, but pushing past my comfort zone has always been a challenge for me. However, I’ve learned that this is the only way I’ll see drastic changes and results.

      

    What was the hardest change to make in your daily routine? 

    Prepping my meals and paying attention to ingredients on food labels and resisting a cake or cookie after every meal. I’m addicted to sweets so I made sure to have tea or fruit readily available after every meal. Workout wise, I had to learn to push to the next level and to not stop when I got tired.

      

    What’s your favorite thing about NYHRC?

    The members are genuine and loyal, especially when it comes to classes they love. I also really like my fellow teachers. They’re so awesome to work with.

      

    What keeps you motivated to continue?

    Feeling amazing all the time. More energy translates to more joy. Also, watching my mom and my sister.

      

    Favorite workout:

    Dancing, HIIT and Pilates.

      

    Favorite cheat meal:

    Cake and cookies.

     

    What would you say to someone who is just beginning their journey to living a healthier lifestyle? 

    Always remember and never forget that NOTHING tastes as good as healthy feels!

     

     

  • Monica Jenkins, determined to learn how to swim, turned to NYHRC for quality instruction. She now is not only an avid swimmer, but is also a cardio queen who adds variety to her workouts.

     

    What inspired you to start living healthier?

    It was an evolutionary process.  Although I’ve always worked out and have been active, as I matured, I started naturally gravitating towards an overall healthier lifestyle.

     

    How have you changed in the past 6 months?

    The biggest change is that I do more varied workouts.  I love the rush I get from a cardio or HIIT workout, but now, I incorporate more stretching and body strength, like yoga, barre, and swimming, into my workout schedule.

     

    What was the hardest change to make in your daily routine?

    The hardest change that isn’t really that hard is sticking to my routine.  I began swimming recently, and as a beginner, I had to practice regularly (almost daily).  That's pretty hard for me since I like hot weather so I really have to psyche myself up to go during the colder months.  I keep my swim gear and bathing suit in my gym bag so I have no excuses not to hit the pool while I'm at the gym. 

      

    What’s your favorite thing about NYHRC?

    As swimming has been a life-long goal of mine, since NYHRC offers quality swim instruction and saltwater pools (which is not as harsh on the skin, hair, and bathing suit fabric), it made it easier to achieve my life long goal.

     

     

    What keeps you motivated to continue?

    My biggest motivation is how I feel.  When I workout, I feel more energetic.  I also like the way I look in clothes.

     

    Favorite workout:

    Since I am a "cardio queen", I enjoy Urban Rebounding and Kangoo classes.  Gentle yoga, athletic yoga, vinyasa yoga, Total Sculpt, Zumba, Bin Zhou Stretch, FLUIDITY, Melt length, Barefit, Insanity, Piloxing, Jab, PiYo, Interval Sculpt, 30/60/90, Pilates Strength, Aqua Fit, and the new Saltwater Yoga are all part of my fitness routine.  Of course, I don't take all these classes every week! I have a foundation of about four classes that I take every week, the others I rotate.

      

    Favorite cheat meal:

    Oh, wow, probably pizza or fish and chips.

     

    What would you say to someone who is just beginning their journey to living a healthier life?

     It's definitely worth it!  You will look and feel better and improve your health.   

     

     

     

     

  • Age is just a number for Margaret Berman who just celebrated her 94th birthday this past year. NYHRC’s unique classes and instructors have empowered her to continue to live an active and healthy lifestyle and have encouraged her to participate in everything the world has to offer.

      

     

    What inspired you to start living healthier?

     

    I started my exercise regime about 30 years ago when I developed unexplained back pains.

     

    How have you changed in the past 6 months?

     

    After retiring I started switching up my workouts and interspersed different types of classes. I love the balance classes. Even though I have to be close to a wall to stable myself, I find it very helpful to do the class.

     

    What was the hardest change to make in your daily routine?

     

    I am convinced that physical exercise becomes even more important as you age. Even with some of the modifications I’ve had to make, certain exercises remain challenging. I still do them, since I know how important they are to keeping up my balance and muscle strength.

     

    What’s your favorite thing about NYHRC?

     

    At some point I committed to a daily routine of 10:30 AM classes just to maintain whatever mobility I still have in my early 90's! The staff and instructors at the locations I use have been absolutely wonderful. I just celebrated my 94th birthday and I credit NYHRC with allowing me to arrive at that number in relatively good physical shape. I like the classes primarily because they help to keep my body limber and also because the instructors are so good and inspiring.

     

    What keeps you motivated to continue?

     

    I'm a restless soul who likes to get out into the world and participate!

     

    Favorite workout:

     

    For me, Donna's Better Bones class and Linda's stretch class are especially helpful, and also balance and body sculpting classes, but there is a large variety for every age. I find that early morning workouts at the club sets me up for the day. The physical exercise even seems to provide me with a mental up-tick!

     

    Favorite must-have in your kitchen:

     

    Broiled salmon and steamed broccoli at home for dinner or oatmeal with blueberries for breakfast.

     

    Favorite cheat meal:

     

    I don’t have a cheat meal, but my indulgence is mainly a lot of coffee – even though coffee isn’t supposed to be bad for you!  And of course, a glass of red wine with dinner.

     

    What would you say to someone who is just beginning their journey to living a healthier life?

     

    I would recommend a steady commitment to exercise and sensible eating plus some interest in work, the arts or music or charity or whatever turns you on for a happy and long life!  

     

     

     

  • Inspired to do more than just lose weight, Jordan Melnick sought a healthier lifestyle just 6 months ago. 60 pounds later, Jordan is feeling motivated, invigorated, and ready to take on anything that comes his way.

     

    What inspired you to start living healthier?

    I have been heavy my entire life and thought that if I could get in shape I’d accomplish the other goals in my life.

     

    How have you changed in the past 6 months?

    I look at food and exercise as a math equation. The more I exercise, the more freedom I have to eat what I want. Contrary to what you might think, I find myself indulging my sweet tooth more than I did previously.

     

    What was the hardest change to make in your daily routine?

    Fitting my workout into my day. I found the only time I could be sure to get in my workout was before work at 6 AM, something that becomes much harder in the dark, cold winter months.

     

    What’s your favorite thing about NYHRC?

    NYHRC has allowed me to continue my love of cycling during the cold and wet days. The instructors make sure the classes are welcoming and unintimidating for even the most novice biker.

     

    What keeps you motivated to continue?

    The continued desire to maintain what I have worked so hard for. I now set new goals that once seemed out of reach, like strength training and building muscle.

     

    Favorite workout:

    Cycling. I finish feeling invigorated and accomplished.

     

    Favorite must-have in your kitchen:

    Egg whites. I contribute much of my success to my love of egg whites. I also stock up on lots of fresh vegetables and substitute them as side dishes in lieu of pasta, rice, and potatoes.

     

    Favorite cheat meal:

    I enjoy a good steak with all trimmings like creamed spinach, hash browns, and onion rings. As a matter of fact, I could go for that right now!

     

    What would you say to someone who is just beginning their journey to living a healthier life?

    Everything in moderation. When first starting out, don’t try and go to the gym five days a week or deprive yourself of all your favorite foods. As cliché as it may sound, make healthy eating and exercise a lifestyle change and realize that it takes time. Always keep your eye on the prize!

  • Amy Bravo joined NYHRC determined to make health and fitness an everyday habit. Two and a half years later, after a few personal challenges and setbacks, she’s not only healthier and stronger, but also happier with what she has overcome.

      

    What inspired you to start living healthier?

     In the fall of 2013, when I was 31 years old and 220lbs, I had a panic attack. I really thought that I was having a heart attack. When it subsided, I decided that I was way too young to even be thinking that I was having a heart attack, so I called the club and signed up. 

     

    How have you changed since you began your journey?

    At first, I dove into fitness in a way that stunned me. I was in the club Monday through Friday, 7:00pm-11:00pm. I started tracking my nutrition with the help of a registered dietitian. I worked with Andre, my trainer. I was hitting it pretty hard for about six months straight. I burned out a little and then had to leave the club for financial reasons. Before I left, I'd lost 72lbs. I've put a significant amount of that weight back on, but I'm back at the club now and on my way back to where I was. 

     

    What was the hardest change to make in your daily routine?

    My dietitian wants me to eat every two hours, but eating six times a day is challenging: the meal prep, packing the meals and snacks, bringing everything to work with me, remembering to eat.

     

    How has NYHRC been a helpful part of your journey?

    NYHRC is responsible for my journey. During the brief time that I'd left the club, I looked around at other gyms but they just could not compare. The classes at NYHRC are so unique and the instructors are great. I've lucked out in that my instructors for FLUIDITY (Carrie Ann), Vinyasa yoga (Carleen) and dance (Marianne) have all taken the time to get to know me and engage with me personally during classes, checking my form and giving great corrections is great for me in my weight loss journey. Taking Marianne’s class in different NYHRC clubs allowed me to discover other amazing classes, like Genieve's body sculpting class. Then there's my trainer, Andre. That man helped save my life and I wouldn't have met him if not for the club.  

     

    What keeps you motivated to continue?

    Now that I'm back, it's just looking back to see how close I came to achieving my goals and how healthy and strong I felt. I want to get back to that place in my life very badly. 

     

    Favorite type of workout

    It depends, but I love anything that makes me feel strong. It could be throwing down a slam bag, pushing a tire, getting through tough sections of FLUIDITY or body sculpting without taking a break, or lowering through Chaturanga in yoga. 

     

    Favorite must-have in your kitchen

    Salmon burgers.

     

    Favorite cheat meal

    Anything from Jacob's Pickles. So delicious, but probably about a billion calories. 

     

    What would you say to someone who is just beginning their journey to living a healthier life?

    Don't think of any changes you make as temporary until you reach your goal. I made that mistake, and now I'm backtracking. Take the time to find the good changes that make sense and fit into your life, so that the new, healthier you is a sustainable you. It's not easy. I'm still working on that. 

     

     

  • Serena Castillo began her journey to a healthier lifestyle just three years ago and hasn’t been the same since. With the help of her instructors and her own willpower she has managed to conquer some of her toughest challenges.

     

    What inspired you to start living healthier?

    About three years ago, I decided that when I get older I do not want my body to shut down because I already have walking and hand problems. I wear leg braces to help keep my balance and I wear hand braces to help me write straight.

     

    How have you changed since you began your journey?

    I’ve managed to cut back on drinking soda, which has been tough, but I get up every morning and say: “I can do this if I want a flat stomach and if I want to meet cute men!”

     

    What was the hardest change to make in your daily routine?

    Not drinking four cans of soda every day has been tough but I’ve made significant improvements. I drink three bottles of water everyday and I also make sure that I take iron to continue to build my strength.

     

    How has NYHRC been a helpful part of your journey?

    The instructors have always helped by saying, “Do what you can do, don’t push yourself.”

     

    What keeps you motivated to continue?

    By seeing people with flat stomachs – that’s what I want!

     

    Favorite type of workout

    I love music and love to dance so I really enjoy taking Zumba. I also really enjoy water classes because I don’t have to wear my leg and hand braces and the water is so nice on my body. I love the instructors who teach both classes.

     

    Favorite must-have in your kitchen

    Rice

     

    Favorite cheat meal

    Cookies

     

    What would you say to someone who is just beginning their journey to living a healthier lifestyle?

    Just keep on believing that you can do it, don’t give up, and never back down. If someone with braces can do it, you can do it too. The most important thing of all is to be happy.

     

  • Michelle Hu was inspired to get her pre-baby body back once and for all. She loved the variety of workouts at NYHRC and achieved her 70lbs weight loss through boxing and healthy greens.

     

    What inspired you to start living healthier?

    Remembering a younger, fitter version of myself inspired me to fight the post-baby body dysfunction.

     

    How have you changed since you began your journey?

    I can now listen to my kid screech at me incessantly and be cool about it for a long time. Regular workouts equal better stress control.

     

    What was the hardest change to make in your daily routine?

    Making the time to workout and give exercise the same priority as eating and sleeping. People need to eat, sleep, and move regularly to thrive. I realized that the same common sense of not skipping meals, or not getting enough sleep, should apply to my exercise. If I find I don't have the time to do a full workout, I’ll do a mini one, just to get the blood flow going. Not every meal has to be a feast. Not every workout needs to be triathlon training.

     

    How has NYHRC been a helpful part of your journey?

    NYHRC offers a good variety of equipment for different types of exercise. There are swimming pools, boxing rings, stabilizer muscle tools, new weight and cable machines, old school kettlebells and free weights. Also, their knowledgeable trainers can create effective individualized workouts to meet and exceed your specific fitness goals. Oh yes, and the sauna!

     

    What keeps you motivated to continue?

    I would love to do unassisted pull-ups and military pushups with ease. Also, truly decent squats from beginning to end. My squats get ugly all the time, especially when the glutes start to feel the burn mid-set, or in the beginning of a set, when they are not quite warmed up.

     

    Favorite type of workout

    Boxing! But to box well, you must be conditioned overall; anything that would help further my boxing skills is an instant favorite.

     

    Favorite must-have in your kitchen

    A girl needs her greens.

     

    Favorite cheat meal

    I don't have a cheat meal. I eat either healthy, not healthy, or mix it up. I don't think it's cheating to eat rich, high-caloric things in small/moderate amounts.  With that said, I rarely pass on baklava.

     

    What would you say to someone who is just beginning their journey to living a healthier lifestyle?

    Congratulations; you're already ahead by playing! Keep at it, strategize, and win! 

  • Rodney Ryan is a transformed fitness fan who made the decision to get into even better shape than his former 18-year-old self.  He used the supportive community of NYHRC to motivate his journey and improve his habits.

     

     

    What inspired you to start living a healthier lifestyle?

    I have some photos of me when I was 18. Whenever I would see them I would think "Someday I'm going to get that physique back." Around 4 months ago I decided to make that happen.

     

    How have you changed since you began your journey?

    I have the same physique now as when I was 18. I eat better and understand more about nutrition. I have more energy, confidence, and optimism. I am happier. I have made fitness a fun, enjoyable, and fulfilling habit of mine.

     

     

    What was the hardest change to make in your daily routine?

    Eating less calories.

     

    How has NYHRC been a helpful part of your journey?

    By providing me with a nearby, pleasant, well-managed, and enjoyable place to exercise, equipped with a wide variety of effective exercise equipment, and staffed by friendly and optimistic people like Seth, Lisa, David, Angela, Tamara, and others (whose names I've unfortunately forgotten, please excuse me).

     

    What keeps you motivated to continue?

    The pleasure of feeling better and having more energy due to being fit. The satisfaction of having taken on fitness as a new challenge, and having obtained verifiable results through research, hard work, and self-discipline. Knowing that there will always be new areas of fitness to be discovered, learned, and practiced--for example, currently I am working on my rowing machine technique and enjoying the challenge of getting the stroke form correct. And, significantly, the pleasure of having gotten to know some of the staff and people at NYHRC and saying hello to them when I come in.

     

    Favorite type of workout

    Upper-body bodyweight exercises.

     

    Favorite cheat meal

    Two homemade 1/4 pound grass-fed bacon jalapeno cheeseburgers and a pound of home-made salsa and cheese fries.

     

    What would you say to someone who is just beginning their journey to living a healthier lifestyle?

    You're awesome! You can do it! Have fun!

     

  • Leanne Viola sought out NYHRC Nutritionist, Debi Zvi, to get in top shape for her wedding day. She was inspired by Debi and NYHRC and ended up undergoing a major transformation from 223lbs to 166lbs.  Today, she is still implementing a healthy lifestyle and losing weight steadily.

     

    What inspired you to start living a healthier lifestyle?

    I was unhappy in my own skin, I felt tired and lethargic and was getting injured doing simple athletic tasks. I was also getting married and want to start a family - all great motivators for getting healthy.

     

    How have you changed since you began your journey?

    I have so much more energy, I feel like a new person. I learned to really love cooking real, non-processed foods. I used to lose weight by eating “diet meals” and “diet” everything and I had no idea what an impact artificial chemicals and sweeteners had on my energy levels and hunger levels.  Since I moved away from processed foods and artificial sweeteners I am nowhere near as hungry as I used to be, I never “crash” and I don’t even crave junk food or soda anymore.

     

    What was the hardest change to make in your daily routine?

    Planning everything out and bringing my own lunch to work. It takes work but I find it’s better to be prepared with a healthy snack/meal at all times and plan my meals ahead of an event like a wedding or party. It helps me stick to my goals.

     

    How has NYHRC been a helpful part of your journey?

    I went to see NYHRC nutritionist, Debi Zvi, who saved my life. She taught me how to cook healthy meals with foods that I actually like, how to grocery shop, and what to look for on labels. She enlightened me on what how to eat to stay full and was just a wealth of information. She even answered my random mid day questions like, “I’m going to lunch with my colleagues what should I eat at this restaurant?” She completely changed my views on food and was a constant source of support and guidance. She helped me with not only the practical elements, but also the emotional elements behind eating.

     

    What keeps you motivated to continue?

    How great I feel, staying fit for my family and my new husband.

     

    Favorite type of workout

    Running the trails in Prospect Park, I can’t live without my fitbit charge. It helps me stay aware of my activity level and as a bonus it feeds into my food tracker so I can eat more food when I work out extra hard!

     

    Favorite must-have in your kitchen

    Eggs – I eat two eggs and toast for breakfast every day. It’s the only thing that keeps me full till lunch.

     

    Favorite cheat meal

    I don’t completely believe in “cheat meals” I find if I give myself one treat a day - ie. Some dark chocolate or a bite or two of something I really want - I never really feel like I’m missing out. If I want something really badly and I can’t stop thinking about it I find it’s better to have a little of it. This stops me from binge/emotional eating because I never really feel deprived. I also learned from Debi to stop and mentally record how I feel after eating certain meals, this has helped me weigh my decisions.

     

    What would you say to someone who is just beginning their journey to living a healthier lifestyle?

    Take small steps, change one or two things a week. Start with walking before running and make small goals that you celebrate ie. 10,000 steps a day then 13,000 steps a day. Don’t give up or punish yourself when you make a mistake or have a bad day or week. You can always start fresh tomorrow. Also, remember this is a long journey and a true lifestyle change, these types of changes take time, so be patient with yourself.

     

     

  • Alain Ober was born in France and always had a strong aversion to fitness; even going as far as avoiding all gym classes in high school.  Through strong persuasion, he joined NYHRC and is now a true fitness lover who dedicates hours of his day to getting fit.

     

    What inspired you to start living a healthier lifestyle?

    A friend was leaving NYC for the west coast and offered me the remaining portion of his NYHRC membership.  Initially I refused, having always tried to avoid gym class when I was in high school, in France.  Not taking no for an answer, he asked me to join him to visit the 45th Street location.  I did and ran into people who were in worse shape than I was.  So I accepted the membership and my first voluntary exercise visit was more stressful than anything I had experienced before!  But then I went for a second visit...

     

    How have you changed since you began your journey?

    The first changes were psychological, being proud of having overcome my prior physical exercise aversion.  The physical changes came after:  weight loss, better sleep, less stress...Then I was hooked!

     

    What was the hardest change to make in your daily routine?

    The hardest change in my daily routine was to get used to blocking regular times to go to the gym and not find excuses not to go. 

     

    How has NYHRC been a helpful part of your journey?

    NYHRC has been the main engine of my physical and mental health for over thirty years.  Many thanks to [NYHRC CEO], Kim and her father!

     

    What keeps you motivated to continue?

    NYHRC is really addictive!  If I travel overseas I miss it tremendously and cannot wait to get home to make a return visit.  Through the years I have also developed some great friendships with some members [and] trainers and I always look forward to seeing my gym buddies!  Some members have become very close friends.

     

    Favorite type of workout

    I like to warm up on a bicycle for 45-60 minutes (watching TV or chatting with another member), then several exercise machines followed by the whirlpool (the reward!).  I usually spend about 2 hours per visit.

     

    Favorite must-have in your kitchen

    Chocolate bars in my freezer.

     

    Favorite cheat meal

    Steak/frites and chocolate mousse (I am French, after all!).

     

    What would you say to someone who is just beginning their journey to living a healthier lifestyle?

    My best advice is to start slowly with achievable goals and go from there and progressively add new challenges.  I have witnessed so many people burning out fast because they over did it right from the beginning and could not continue.

     

     

     

How Andy is using NYHRC to do it all

Andy Lustigman, Partner at Olshan Law, which represents NYHRC advertising compliance, takes full advantage of NYHRC’s offerings. From cardio, to boxing & strength training, Andy is now 50 pounds lighter and continues to crush his personal best.

What inspired you to start living a healthier lifestyle?

I was approaching 50 years old and was on the wrong track with my health. I was the heaviest I’d ever been and knew that the time to change was now.

How have you changed in the past 9 months?

I made a firm commitment to eat healthy (clean eating) and work out regularly. I’ve dropped over 50 lbs since June and feel the best I have felt in decades.

What was the hardest change to make in your daily routine?

Eliminating pizza for lunch and bagels for breakfast.

What’s your favorite thing about NYHRC?

There are a few things:

NYHRC 56th St. trainer, Akin Ajamu. He trains me very hard in conditioning and strength exercises, and goes the extra mile to ensure I train safely and effectively.

The boxing classes at 56th Street; I love to work a sweat and let out aggression and frustration.

The 56th Street club’s proximity to Central Park lets me do cardio in Central Park, and have a post stretch and clean up at the club before work.

What keeps you motivated to continue?

I’ve worked very hard to get to where I am. I don’t want to go back.

Favorite workout:

Boxing

Favorite cheat meal:

Wine

What would you say to someone who is just beginning his/her journey to living a healthier lifestyle?

Make a genuine commitment to diet and exercise. There are no short cuts; this is a process. If you can, use a trainer to help keep you on track. If that’s not in the budget, take advantage of the classes and set minimum weekly attendance goals. No one is perfect, but do your best to stay on track. Don’t eat crap. Breathe.