A:I’m originally from cow country! Red Hook, NY. Lived in the Lower East Side in Manhattan and Brooklyn for a long time and found a happy medium in Brewster to raise my family.
Q:I’m born and raised in the Lower East Side myself! How did you get involved with health and fitness industry?
A:Always loved it! When I was a kid I used to set up obstacle courses for my friends and time them. I was pretty skinny as a teen and wanted to get stronger in addition to be able to defend myself so I approached the high school gym teacher and he set me up with a weight training program. I was the only girl in the gym and I was so happy at how it made me feel and look! I was always into competitive sports and found the gym to be liberating because the only person you competed with was yourself. When I find something that I love I go after it. I got a job at 16 years old teaching aerobics at the Gold’s Gym in Kingston, NY. They didn’t want to give me a job bc I was so young so I worked or free for them or 2 weeks starting each day at 6 am to prove to them that I was more than able….I went on to become their most popular aerobics instructor. I moved to NYC and again became the youngest instructor at the Vertical Club, the hottest club at the time and would teach high impact aerobics to 130 people on a Sunday morning. I’d juggle going to college and supporting myself through training up to 10 clients a day and teaching. When it came time to take my MCATs (I was pre-med) I ditched on them because I couldn’t imagine a life without being in the health and fitness industry. It’s one of the only fields that allows you such freedom whether it’s working with clients, developing programs or organizations, creating products, writing articles. For a caring, non stop, energetic person like me it was a perfect fit. My poor parents eventually got over the fact that I wasn’t interested in becoming a doctor
Q:You have been featured in SELF, FITNESS and Women’s Health. Describe what it feels like to be featured in such high profile magazines..
A:Hmmm well it’s pretty exciting! I love being amongst the best in the industry…plus it’s really fun to see my ideas come to life! I also LOVE working with editors! They are such a fun, smart and interesting bunch and they have taught me so much over the years. For one, preparing for and developing for the future! Magazines run at least 2 months ahead and more often,a season or two ahead so pitching them for a story that you’d love to see appear in 3 weeks (like it did) was comical! They also taught me timing, organization and how to make ideas palatable for all.
Q:What is the “Mom Squad” and how did you get involved?
A:Moms are hot! We make 80% of the decisions that affect our families’ lives and most particularly their health. When it comes to information a mom can trust, we value the advice of other moms before anyone else. In response, Parenting magazine created the “Mom Squad”: a panel of 10 high profile mom experts that offer advice and information to the magazine’s 5 million viewers. I was honored when they asked me to be a member and continue to look forward to offering and exchanging advice with moms across the country!
Q:Why is family fitness so important to you?
A:Because I believe that within the family structure is where you learn a lot of life lessons including how to be healthy and fit. I also believe that working out and exercising can be bonding experiences and who better to bond with than with your family?
Q:I’m a dad with 3 kids, what are some health and fitness ideas you would recommend for us?
A:Dads have the unique talent and ability to rough house and have active fun with their kids (and studies have shown it’s really good for them!). Keep doing what you’re doing…the kids love it! Tackle them, wrestle with them and roll around in the mud with them. It not only builds healthy bodies but their confidence too! I know my kids can’t wait to attack my husband when he walks through the door!
Q:I will tell my wife an expert said “tackle them”…cool.. lol. What celebrities have you trained?
A:Dr Gail Saltz, Katie Couric, Vanessa Williams, Nastia Liukin, Monique Coleman, Joe Nolan, Bill Evans…
Q:When training celebrities, do you alter your approach?
A:The approach that I take to training celebs is the same that I use for all of my clients…when developing a program I take the following factors into account: their lifestyle, goals, work habits, problem areas, exercise patterns and personality. Celebs are working people with the same body and image issues that all of us share!
Q:What’s the funniest training story you remember?
A:A working celeb client of mine had no time to workout with me because it was her hubby’s birthday and she needed to shop for a gift for him. Unphased by her pleas to cancel I gave her a NYC workout and sprinted her down Madison Avenue. We lunged and squatted around the Calvin Klein store on 61st street and I made her do high knees, grapevines and a typical track workout back to her apartment!
Q:Lol…you are hardcore! What is your gym routine in a typical week long span?
A:I’m busy training up to 14 clients a day and many in Central Park so often my workouts are with my clients! I love running marathons and 10k’s so I’ll typically run 15 miles during the week and interval weight train 3-4 times/week. I’ll do a long 7 mile run on the weekends in the country and try to fit in at least 1 Kung Fu session during the week with my Sifu. I’ve been doing Kung Fu for 3 years and I love it!! I was inspired by Uma Thurman’s rocking moves in “Kill Bill”!
Q:What type of music gets you rocking out when you are working out?
A:I like a wide variety of music and get bored of the same songs really quickly. My favorite is hard, fast rock or punk like Anberlin or Panic At The Disco, but I also love Latino Club Music and rap.
Q:Go over your own diet in a normal 24 hours…
A:I’m constantly eating on the go…between clients, on subways…during a workday I rarely have the luxury of a lunch hour or seated meal (unless I schedule a lunch business meeting) so I rely on “to go” containers (usually filled by and prepared by my awesome hubby) and bars and smoothies. I also have reactive hypoglycemia so I have to eat every 2-4 hours and each meal has to be a great balance of protein, complex carbs and a bit of monounsaturated fat. Here’s a typical day:
4:30 green tea w honey
5:30 a “no gii” bar (I’m wheat intolerant)
7:30 lemon chobani yogurt and a handful of nuts
Black current tea w milk
10:00 egg white salad with basil and a couple of rice crackers
1:00 a Thai chicken roll with rice wrap
4:00 protein shake (either Orgain ready to drink or match a green whey from Jamba Juice)
7:00 I’ll much on some raisins/almonds if I’m trying to make it home for dinner if not I’ll usually have another yogurt or a balance bar. I don’t love dinner and can usually skip it if I’m not eating with the family or out with friends
Lots of water during the day
And 2-3 glasses of Sauvignon Blanc a week. Usually on Thursday or Saturday night. I love it!!
Q:Favorite place to eat in New York City?
A:Lord there are so many yummy places to eat!! As a “to go” lunch shop I love “Dishes” or “Pret A Manger” on Park and 54th; for business lunches “Le Pain Quotidien” rocks; for an awesome Asian dinner w my hubby I love “Rain” on the Upper West Side and “Veselka” in the East Village brings me back to my Ukrainian roots with a home cooked brunch.
Q:Top 3 movies of all time?
A:Someone just asked me this and they laughed at my quirky picks! I love Transformers 2 (I secretly have a crush on Bumble Bee), Shawshank Redemption and Grumpy Old Men (who doesn’t love this movie?? Those old guys are freaking hysterical!)
Q:Who would you say inspired you the most in your life and why?
A:There are 3. My dad..the son of a coal mine immigrant worker from Ukraine who moved to NY and worked as a building wrecker to support his family. My dad was the youngest of 5 kids and lived in a 2 bedroom apartment in NYC. His bedroom was the living room. They had no money but my dad has the fondest memories of growing up and his ability to persevere and make the most of any situation helped him to rise to highly successful executive at IBM with a loving family. He taught me the value of loyalty, family, respecting yourself, honesty and being happy. His practical sense of advice and humor have gotten me further and pushed me forward….always with a giggle.
And my high school coaches Jim Cauldwell and Andy Seidel who believed in the talent and ability of young girls and spent their afternoons and extracurricular time guiding us. Just by believing in us, they empowered us (me) to be successful and confident businesswomen, friends and moms. I’m forever grateful.
Q:What advice would you give to an individual aspiring to make a career in the health and fitness industry?
A:There are A LOT of talented people in the fitness industry and the competition is fierce. The most successful have found an area that they excel at and go for it with tenacity. I would encourage someone to pick an area they love and study and make it their “niche”. Networking is huge in this industry and you have to have a love of it and people to really make it.
Q:Where do you hope to be in 10 years?
A:Hmmm….I have a problem looking more than 6-12 months ahead so 10 years is a huge stretch for me! Let’s see, running my companies full time and doing more speaking engagements. I’d also love to spend more time working with underprivileged kids and orphaned babies. I believe that a mentor can make a huge difference in your life and the earlier kids receive guidance (or a loving show of support) the more successful and resilient they become.
Q:What is the one thing you would change in your life if you had the chance to?
A:I should have gone on to get my MBA or my doctorate in nutrition. Just for the fun of it
Q:Facebook or Twitter?
A:Both! I love meeting new people and chatting or hearing about people’s fun and crappy daily life experiences!
Q:What are your social media links so that your supporters can follow you or just learn more about you?