2017 Marathon: #FivebeforeForty#fuckcancer

March 30th, 2017.  I woke up first thing, with a little head of blonde curls next to me.  Around 7:15 in the morning, the head began to move, little arms started to stretch from underneath the covers, and I started to sing Happy Birthday to my daughter who had turned five just hours before.

About six hours later I learned that, the very same morning, one of my closest friends from college, Lindsay, was saying her final goodbye to her father.

Lindsay's father had been fighting cancer; we all "knew" that this day would happen, yet I do not pretend to know what it must feel like to say goodbye to a parent. And when Lindsay's mother passed away from an entirely different form of cancer just shy of four weeks later, it was clear how unfair- and how utterly cruel- life truly can be.  


There are times when words just don't suffice.  This is one of those times.  Yet I will tell you that I do remember JoEllen and Marvin Kipnes very well.  I remember meeting them my freshman year at Cornell; I remember staying at their home in New Jersey over that Christmas break.  I remember their personalities, her mother strong, blunt and deeply loving; her father witty, charming, and the life of the party.  I remember his epic toast on Lindsay and Nick's wedding day ten years ago. 

While I cannot imagine what their children and grandchildren are going through, I can say that their presence is deeply missed.  

Running of Marathons: The History

I was twenty years old- my junior year of college- when I ran my first marathon. At this time, Lindsay was one of my roommates.   At age 20, I truly was more focused on college life and fun, and primarily relied on my youth and natural athletic ability to pull me through the 26.2 miles.  My longest training run being just 16 miles and doing no other cross training, it is no surprise that while I finished, I ended up with my slowest marathon time as well as tendinites in both knees and a stress fracture in my right tibia.  Needless to say, I spent the beginning of my junior semester abroad in Florence, Italy hobbling on the cobblestone streets in a walking boot.  

Almost a decade later, in 2007, Lindsay had decided she wanted to take on the grueling 26.2. She asked me to do it with her.  I hesitated.  But friends don't let friends run alone.  Learning from my previous mistakes, I took the training a lot more seriously, and included cross training such as yoga and high intensity interval training.  I ran a much faster, injury free race, and chose to do another NYC marathon in 2010 and my first post-baby marathon by running Houston in 2015.

Running This Marathon

For better or for worse, in good times and in bad, running has been a constant in my life. Growing up in a household where some of my earliest memories are of my parents coming home on a Saturdaymorning after a run, running is as integrated as my daily meals.  Lucky for me, my parents, who are both turning 70, are still healthy and running. 

This February, I will turn 40. What this means depends on the context of the question.  Here, it means I have been friends with Lindsay for more than half my life. It means that for almost 40 years, starting when I was at the finish line greeting my mom as she finished the 1979 NYC marathon that running has been a huge part of my life. It means that for almost half my life I have been running marathons. It means that for way over half my life- from age 8 when I was the only girl in our after school sports league where I then evolved to a three sport varsity captain in high school to then a fitness business owner- bringing people together through fitness and movement has been my lifelong journey.  As I get closer to the big 4-0, more and more friends and colleagues of mine are losing their beloved parents way too early to cancer. When words fail, which they do at these times, I know I can move. I can run.  I can honor.  


As I run the 2017 NYC Marathon, I will be doing so in honor of Marvin and JoEllen Kipnes who's lives were cut way too short.  

Please consider helping me honor their lives through my run by donating to their charities of choice.
 

In honor of Marvin Kipnes:

Allyson Ocean's research at Weill Cornell Medicine. The instructions are at follows:

 

https://s010.med.cornell.edu/wcmc/make-a-donation.html
 
In the “about your gift” section, please tell people to check “other” and specify it is for Dr. Allyson Ocean’s research.
 
And in the “Tribute” section, please tell people to write in Marvin Kipnes. 

 

In honor of JoEllen Kipnes

 

JoEllen had Luekemia and was under the care of Dr. Gail J. Roboz at Cornell Hospital.  Dr. Roboz was great throughout all of this and does amazing work. She runs a program called Leukemia Fighters devoted to the clinical and translational research projects of the Weill Cornell Leukemia Program.

 

Information on how to donate to that program can be found at the following link: https://cornellleukemia.com/leukemia-fighters/

 



PS Does This Make Me a Marathon Runner? 

 

For those of you who were at Marvin's funeral and heard the beautiful eulogy delivered by Lindsay, you know we would have to ask Marvin. He would likely have said yes. 

In Honor of National Single Parents Day

Happy National Single Parents Day!    

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Hi All,

A few weeks ago, my client who is a mom of 17 month old boy twins, spent the weekend alone without her husband.  

"I don't know how you do it on the regular," she said to me during a session.  "Single parenting is no joke."
 
I have never considered myself a single parent.  Sophia's father is just as involved as I am, and we have two sets of grandparents- all living on the Upper West Side- as well as an amazing nanny.
 
What does this mean?  As a part-time single mom, I do get breaks.   I have never valued "me time" as much as I have now, and I know that is something my married friends, clients and colleagues who have kids, don't get. 
 
What this also means is that when I am with Sophia there is no one else to share both the triumphs and the challenges.  How her voice gets really loud with excitement and determination when her almost-five-year-old self is able to read a word.  When she asks the meaning of a word like the word "test." When she says "big" words like "extracting" when she is trying to say "distracting."  How endearing she is when, before she is asleep, she is in bed talking to herself and singing the songs she sang at school earlier in the day.  And yes; it is not all a picnic; there is no one else to help discipline when she disobeys, and no other set of hands when she can't sleep, gets sick, and wants water, breakfast, and help with her clothes, all at once.   After she is asleep at night, there is no one else there to sit with.  This is at times peaceful, lovely and incredibly rewarding, and at other times very lonely.  
 
I can only imagine the challenges yet ultimate fulfillment full-time single parents face; whether it be a widow/widower or a man or woman who decided to either biologically or adopt.  And of course, those who thought they would have a partner, but then suddenly did not.
 
" I always knew I wanted to have a child," a client of mine, Niki told me.  "I decided to BE a parent the moment I became pregnant.  I decided to be a single parent the moment my boyfriend decided he did not want the responsibility of being a parent."
 
When Niki was on maternity leave, with her adorable son Teo, she attended some of my MamaFit classes.  Despite the solo-sleep deprevation she was facing, as no one else was there to bear the burdeon, she still managed to get to class.
 
"The biggest challenge has been not having help, having to do everything alone. Not really getting that time out where a partner would take over," Niki, who doesn't have family nearby, continued.   

But the biggest reward?  "My son.  The love I am capable of and receive. He is the most amazing loving sweet strong willed little boy.  His smile makes everything ok.  Even when he is testing me (often) the love I have for him is overwhelming.  He has given my life a whole new meaning.  Coming home from work is like coming home to the winning lottery ticket every single day."  
 
The biggest surprises.  "How important coffee would become to me," Niki says with a laugh.  "I'm not joking.  I never realized it until I had my son. But I also never knew that I would need and have so much patience and that how my son would consume every part of me.  I also didn't know my apartment would look like a preschool. ;) How hard it would be to take a shower or how stressful the prospect of figuring out what school he would go to and the processes involved.  How lost I would feel at times and in a moment feel like I had figured it out only to be reminded that I don't. How sometimes the most routine things become the most challenging to do i.e. meal time, changing a diaper would be like wrestling an oiled piglet at the state fair."
 
Advice? "The best piece of advice for anyone who is faced by choice or unexpectedly with becoming a single parent is that you can do it.  It seems overwhelming and impossible and it can be overwhelming at times but it is totally possible.  Surround yourself with a strong support network especially other new moms and moms who have done it already.  Don't stress the small stuff and enjoy every moment.  It sounds cliche but it's so true it goes by so fast. Cherish it, because having a child is one of the ultimate blessings."


For those of you who are, or anyone who knows any single parents, please forward this on.  We are extending them a discount off of our 4 pack (normally $120, discounted at $80 which is valued as one free class) if purchased by 3/31.  Knowing the challenges they face they are welcome to bring their kid with them to ANY Fit Co class.  

Click here and enter promo code: SP2017

 

Seasons Greeting & Gift Guide

Seasons Greetings!

holidaygiftguide
 
 

At The The Fit. Co,  you know we are all about efficiency. That's why we did the hard work for you and put together some amazing holiday gift ideas and discounts. 

Just click away and get all of your holiday shopping done.
Don't forget to treat yourself!  You deserve it!

The Fit Co. On the Go-- Stay fit with us over the Holidays. Whether, you are traveling and want to keep up your fitness routine or want to share these amazing full body workouts with your bestie who lives far away. These videos make a great gift!
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FYI the Fit Co. sells Gift Cards, so put your workout on your wish list! Also a great gift for your fav workout buddy.
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Loyal Hana has your fashion needs covered. Whether you are pregnant, breastfeeding or just a stylish mama, they have a look for you! Our founder has been known to rock their chic sweaters while running around town with her almost 5 year old. 
Take an extra 15% off your entire order with discount code thefitco15! 
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Tame your mane! We all know sometimes our hair just gets in the way. In the way of a workout or boozy brunch (that blow out never lasts though Sunday)! Put your hair in its place with these stylish head bands! We love them and know that you will too! P.S. They are perfect stocking stuffers.
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Welcome to tanya-b-- A.K.A athleisure heaven! Enjoy 20% off your entire order with code INSTA20, and give your legs the gift of buttery soft leggings! You will never want to take them off! They have a wide variety of styles and colors! Wear them to your workout, the grocery store or out! You will look hot and will be cozy at the same time! #winwin
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Btw: We are hosting a master class and trunk show with tanya-b founders in January! Save your spot here, tickets are selling fast!
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The Why's Behind Post-Natal Fitness

As a sole business owner, you are always “on”.  As passionate as I am about The Fit Co and as grateful as I feel to be doing exactly what I love, I know there are times when I need to turn it off and take a mental break.  
 
Before The Fit Co, I was focused solely on new mom fitness with my signature MamaFit Classes.  Even though the upper west side was a perfect opportunity to recruit new clients, playground time with Sophia was one of those times I designated as a no-work time.  Still, conversations about fitness and work organically occurred and I remember a few years ago speaking with a mom while pushing Sophia on a swing who was there with her child.  Her husband owned a Physical Therapy company, and we were discussing the challenges new moms face fitting exercise into their lives.
 
A few months ago, I was contacted by Megan Mizrachi of Zion Physical Therapy.  Some of their clients had been coming to The Fit Co’s MamaFit and Buggy Barre classes.  These clients in particular were suffering from some sort of pelvic floor dysfunction and appreciated our classes as we modify to adjust to the needs of our clients.  Turns out that Saul Zion, owner of Zion PT, is the husband of the woman I was speaking with at the playground that day.  
 
On Tuesday, September 20th, The Fit Co will be at Zion PT's new Upper West Side location.  We will host a class, while the specialists at Zion PT will provide insight into what is happening with your post-natal body.  Zion PT is taking questions in advance to be discussed so if you have any please email Megan in advance: meghan@zionpt.com
 
 

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Event: Tuesday September 20th 10am
Location: 310 West 72nd Street
Cost: $25 (first five sign up will be eligible to win a PT consult)

We will meet at Zion PT; if weather is nice we will do workout in Riverside Park and finish with Abs and Q and A with some snacks at Zion PT

*Bring your own mat, babies welcome

Here is more info on Zion PT
 
How ZION PT became specialized in Pelvic Floor Dysfunction:
 Zion PT's beginnings with pelvic floor were serendipitous. A few years ago (when there were only two Zion PTs) our female therapist started to receive calls from female clients about pelvic floor issues they were having. Staci began studying pelvic floor PT and her interest continued to grow. Around this time, Saul Zion and his wife had their first baby. He was able to recognize this need as they searched for a pelvic floor specialist near their home. It was then that he decided that his facility would make Pelvic Floor PT a priority, and also to expand from East to West side to make sure women had access and raise awareness about pelvic floor dysfunction. 

How ZION PT works with clients:
We meet clients where they are. The patient has the lead throughout the entire process so that we can maintain an open and trusting relationship and stay within their comfort zone. We try to create a conducive environment, with lots of patient education, private treatment rooms, and a calming atmosphere. Because it is a burgeoning field, we hire PTs who are avid learners, willing to seek for the answers that remain unanswered and stay abreast of the latest research in this field. 

A Morning with the Founder

Laura Kovall, the founder of The Fit Co. NYC is many things, a group fitness instructor, business owner, mother and apparently a morning person. This detail stands out to me, as a wanna-be morning person. Laura has gotten me out of my cozy bed with her super energizing Fusion workouts before but today I woke early for a chance to see how she starts her day. I am fascinated by the daily habits of fit and successful people and Laura makes a great subject. Perhaps one of these habits will add value to my life, or yours! 

I took the 1 train to the UWS and made it out of the elevator and was at Laura's door by 8:30. She opened it with a big smile, and invited me in. 

Laura was dressed in her signature designer athletic garb. The uniform of a fitness maven. She explained to me the the first steps in her morning routine had already happened before I had arrived. Waking up her daughter Sophia, getting her ready and sending her off to her last days at summer camp. 

Once Mom duty is over she gets on her yoga mat and practices an Ashtanga yoga series.

Read More

How To Stay Healthy During July 4th Holidays

Everything in moderation.  At The Fit Co, we are all about fitting fitness into your life, not your life around fitness.  We also believe in balance.  Wellness is a marathon not a sprint; so find behaviors that will sustain you long term.  I don’t believe in 21 day fixes, extreme diets or extreme exercise; they are not sustainable, and once you stop you are likely to revert back to your old ways. 
Yes, I love exercise.  Overall I am a healthy eater.  However, I do enjoy food and when people says they have a vice that is chocolate or cheese or wine, unfortunately for me I love all three.  When I am with friends and family, I want to enjoy.  And I don’t want to feel guilty about it.  
This July fourth holiday, I will be in Nashville, Tennessee for a good family friend’s wedding.  They asked Sophia to be a flower girl. Excited to see Sophia in this role, I am sure I will be in full celebration mode.  But I still don’t want to leave the three day weekend feeling in desperate need of a detox.  Here are some tips that will help you enjoy your time while still being mindful.
Here are some Tips!
Exercise Bursts
Cardio bursts help spike your metabolism.  Why not have a higher metabolism when consuming more food and beverage than the norm?

Here are a few options:

1.  Tabatas: four minute cardio intervals.  20 seconds one exercise, 10 seconds active recovery, 20 seconds of another exercise.  Each exercise is done four times through.

 For example:
 Exercise one: 20 seconds of squat jumps, 
10 seconds active recovery by holding your squat
Exercise two: 20 seconds of burpees
10 seconds active recovery hold a forearm plank
 
2.  AMRAP (As Many Rounds as Possible) for two minutes: choose 4 different exercises and do 8 reps as many rounds as possible
For For example: 8 jumping jacks, 8 burpees, 8 mountain climbers, 8 squat jumps as many times as possible in two minutes

Keep in mind; all these suggestions are body weight only so you can do this in a hotel, in a living room, outside on the grass, even on a boardwalk.  Consider doing 3 tabatas and interject with core work or 4 AMRAPS with core work. 

Examples of core work: planks (forearm and side planks), bicycles (on your back, bring one elbow to the opposite knee then switch), 30-60-90s (lower legs to 60 degrees then 30 and back up to 60 then 90 making sure your back is glued to the ground)

Hydrate
This may seem obvious; but when I drink more water I always feel better.  Especially in extreme heat, or if drinking, drinking water in between tends to cleanse my system more and may even satiate me more so I don’t go for that extra drink or food.  

Here are some more tips from our resident health coach Pamela:

Plan your food

Whether you are going on a road trip, beach trip or a backyard BBQ, planning out your food will help you make healthy choices when hunger suddenly strikes!
  • Pack Snacks! Sliced apples, banana and peanut butter, cut up veggies and hummus and nut mix are great options
  • Map out restaurants with healthy choices along the way
  • At a BBQ get in those greens from salad and other veggies along with those burgers and hot dogs!
Stretch
From long hours traveling, to sleeping in a bed thats not your own, our bodies may feel stiff and out of sorts. To combat this, do this simple stretch series, before and after car or plane travel and when you wake up in the morning.
  • Slowly rotate neck back to the side, chin to chest then back around. (alternate direction)
  • Raise arms above head and stretch to the sky
  • Dive arms forward into a forward bend and let your full weight fall forward.
  • Twist your torso and arms as you look over one shoulder then twist whole body to look over other shoulder. 
Stay fit and have a great 4th!

The New Five Minute Workout: Stronger Core and Better Sex

Your body is a kinetic chain. For anyone who has ever been injured you will notice that where the pain is located is often not the site of injury. I was not surprised when my client who had shoulder pain it was actually due to tendinitis in her bicep. When a client tells me she is experiencing lower back pain more often then not it is due to a weakened core and I notice her back popping off the ground when doing core exercises
The body's ability to overcompensate causes one area to engage more when another is less able. 

So what does a stronger core have to do with better sex?

Kegals: Not Just Your Mothers Workout

Kegals engage your pelvic floor muscles. Most people associate the need for pelvic floor engagement for those who just had a baby. While this is true new moms are not alone. 

There are a host of reasons why both moms and no moms alike benefit from kegaling. In most extreme situations a weakened pelvic floor leads to incontinence and prolapse. This can come with something as common as aging. But there are other reasons why.

Are your kegals strong enough? Enter The Elvie

When in plank, a fitness professional or a client with body awareness knows when their form is correct.  When squatting, lunging, almost all fitness moves, you or someone working with you knows if you are doing it the right way.  With kegaling, not so much. 

The Elvie, is the first product developed by a British women's tech company called Chiaro. It is a device that actually tells you, after insertion, if you are doing your kegals the right way. The Elvie connects to your iPhone and shows you using bio-feedback technology if you have the right form for your kegal.  The Elvie app also has fun and challenging pelvic floor workouts. At The Fit Co, we are all about efficient fitness, so I was thrilled to learn that the Elvie utilizes it's a very effective five minute workout to help you strengthen your pelvic floor with quality kegals.  The Elvie will tell you when to lift, when to relax, and when to pulse.  It will measure the strength of your kegals and keep track so you have a baseline to go back to for next time.

Back to the Kenetic Chain...

A stronger pelvic floor leads to a stronger core which ultimately leads to better sex.

Elvie unabashedly brings this up as a positive enhancement. When their rep first came to The Fit Co to introduce the product to our team, better sex was one of the first things mentioned.   Why?  Because it's eye catchy (let's be honest, putting sex in the title probably increased the chances of you reading this post), it's honest, and it is something we all relate to.  Yes, there are those who have more severe conditions in which kegaling becomes incredibly important; but as we could all benefit from it, why not emphasize those factors?

Just Breathe....

So, for only five minutes a day, while watching TV, before sleep, right when you wake up, why not use the Elvie?  Like anything else, just make sure that, right before kegaling, you inhale and breathe through it.  



To purchase Elvie, click at elvie.com and use $20 discount code FITCO20
Check out the blog post I wrote for Elvie Here!

On Divorce: How To Process in the Present

 

On October 24, 2009 in front of 225 friends and family at Tribeca Rooftop I got married. Wearing Vera Wang, hair and make-up done to (almost) perfection, I walked down the stairs from the covered roof to my parents who then escorted me to the man I was marrying that day.  After about a 20 minute ceremony, with the torrential rain banging against the glass ceiling above us, we were married. It was dramatic to say the least. 

On June 3, 2016 my marriage ended. 

We had been separated for just over two years but this marks the date where the paperwork was signed. Yes I knew it was coming. There were no surprises. And thankfully, it was not acrimonious.  But the extreme sadness and devastation I felt with the finality of it hit me to the core. I have felt it on and off over the past two years. But the finality is different all together. 

 There is a time to express and feel; there is a time to put on a brave face. There is a time to just sit in the moment with the discomfort and pain, but with the faith that someday this too shall pass. A smart friend of mine, also divorced, said to me “the only way through it is through it.”  I couldn’t agree more.Life is filled with loss. We all process in our own unique ways. I am not in the business of measuring one type of loss over another. But when in it, here are some ways I try to best cope 

Living in the moment-

For those of you who know me well you are now laughing; you know this is not one of my strengths. I am constantly planning the next- or at least thinking about it. It is exhausting and I know those closest to me find it tiresome as well. In the first few days afterwards, I had a different emotion every few minutes.  Probably heightened by the fact that the day after my paperwork was signed I went to my 20th High School Reunion.  Therefore, I realize there is nothing to do but sit in the moment. Let any emotion that comes and acknowledge it. Embrace feeling happy; recognize sadness; find comfort in excitement.  When I started thinking about the future; I found myself completely overwhelmed.  This is the first time in my life where I truly understand the meaning take it day to day. 

How to live in the moment

  “All-In”

For the next 40 minutes I am going to only focus on my clients.  For the next game I am playing with my daughter it is all about Bingo. For as long as my fingers type I am thinking about this sentence I am writing.  

When I feel my mind start creeping away from me I go right back to the focus on the present.  With my clients, there are people there to see me and I must give them what they deserve.  When I am with Sophia, I do remember life does go quick and I don’t want to miss a moment of it with her.  And, when I feel sad and I am not teaching or in a position where I have to put on my brave face I let myself feel it completely.  It’s scary as anything; but necessary.


Find your movement: 

Running was always my go-to.  But with the recent stress fracture I have had to figure out other alternatives.  Even before the stress fracture, I found that in the past two years, during my separation, aside from running the Houston Marathon running is not as peaceful to me as it once was.This past weekend, my movement was Yoga.  On Saturday I took myself through the primary ashtanga series on my own.  Ironically, during this practice, I) actually found myself deeper in two positions that have been challenging me since I started back in January.  On Sunday I went to a led class by an instructor I love.  In those moments I was able to come back to present and just focus. 
 

Just Sit:

We are under time constraints; we have work, responsibilities, errands to run, things to do.  But when you can honor the time to just sit, do it.  Acknowledge which emotions come up; if you don’t they will come out one way or another elsewhere.  

New Class- Fit it in 20

The Fit Co.’s Take on the One Minute Workout: Launch of The Fit Co.’s “Fit it in 20”

Research shows that a one minute “all out” workout is more effective than 45 minutes of moderate exercise.  What does this really mean?

At The Fit Co, efficiency is the name of the game.  The number one reason people don’t workout is time; our mission since we started was to strip away all the obstacles preventing you from working out.  Our workouts are total body, time efficient (you are done in under 45 minutes), you can be barefoot, and we don’t use a lot- if any- equipment nor do we need a lot of space.  Yet you will feel fully worked.

Now, however, it seems that if you are REALLY pressed for time, we can get you in and out in even half the time (so 20 minutes).  Here’s how:

The Fit Co’s Fit it in 20

  • What: We will give you four two minute cardio intervals where you do as many rounds as possible (AMRAP) of four cardio focused moves.  In between these four intervals there will be either a two minute weighted interval, a two minute ab interval or a two minute glute interval.  

  • Why: Doing intense exercise early on in a workout sustains your heart rate for the entire workout.  You will notice as you do the rest of the workout that the early push will make later efforts more challenging

  • When: we will launch Fit it in 20 on Wednesday, May 25th at 430 then 5pm.  For further updates please look at our schedule thefitco.nyc/schedule or email laura@thefitco.nyc

How this Was Developed

Five weeks ago, when I was diagnosed with a stress fracture, I promised I would use that time to be effective.  It started with me writing again; a skill that had been dormant for a while.  Then, once I started to heal, I started to want to workout hard again, but I still needed to watch myself and monitor my injury.  

I was missing the HIIT (high intensity interval training) I was so used to doing; usually this encompassed impact exercises.  Three weeks post injury I felt comfortable doing some impact so I started doing 2 minute AMRAPS (as many rounds as possible) of four different cardio exercises.  My heart rate was definitely at its max.  Then, to “cool down” I added weights.  The weights kept my heart rate up, but I found that the AMRAP just beforehand sustains the heart rate at a higher level than it would have been.  I did this three more times through and found myself tired at the end. I looked at my watch and saw I had been working out for 20 minutes.

My additional thoughts: How important is time?

The more difference in your workouts; the better for your body.  If we had all the time in the world, I would recommend interval training one day, steady state cardio the next day, yoga a third day and strength training another.  

But for most of us, reality sets in and we are often battling a time crunch.  If your goal is to maintain or increase your fitness level, finding a workout that is time efficient, total body and challenging with cardio intervals is the way to go.  

If You Can’t Make it into The Fit Co….

We are developing The Fit Co’s Fit it in 20 program online with mini videos supplemented with the workout written out.  For more information please contact laura@thefitco.nyc