The fitness scene in New York has never been more booming — new boutiques and gyms almost outnumber the Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts on each block (almost). The Flatiron neighborhood has even been called “The Fitness District” due to the plethora of boutique studios, big gyms and retail stores that’ll sell you the perfect outfit to wear to each. ‘If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere’ probably wasn’t referring to Pilates-inspired methods or state-of-the-art treadmills, but just like so many other trends that have come before, if a fitness trend takes off in NYC it’s sure to catch on everywhere else. Here are the best trainers NYC has to offer…
The 5 Best Trainers Shaking Things Up In NYC
In this sea of tricked-out burpees and one-two punches, how do you know what’s truly innovative and what’s just capitalizing on a trend? You’ve got to look beyond the sweat. Here are five trail-blazing trainers in NYC who are thinking outside the box when it comes to their clients, programming, ethos and endgame…
The Beyoncé Of Group Fitness: Akinah Rahmaan of Banana Skirt Productions
You’ve been doing it since middle school. Admit it: You’ve definitely danced alone in your bedroom – or car or subway commute (we see you, NYC) – to your favorite songs trying to mimic the music video choreography. Maybe your moves aren’t as slick as JLo’s, but you try your darnedest to teach yourself to nail it. And really, it doesn’t matter how perfect your pivots are – the point is, it feels good. Akinah Rahmaan knows that joyful feeling of letting go well, which is why she started Banana Skirt Productions back in 2014. And since then it’s just been growing.
As a former music and marketing exec who’s worked with the likes of Missy Elliot and Busta Rhymes, Akinah knows the power of music, taking the idea of a perfectly curated playlist to the next level in each Banana Skirt Productions class. Named for French entertainer Josephine Baker, you’ll learn actual choreography from the best music videos and master moves made famous by your faves – think Beyoncé, Britney and, yes, Jennifer Lopez – so you can live out all your pop star fantasies IRL. From all of our past thirteen year-old selves dancing to Oops I Did It Again in our living rooms, thank you, Akinah. So much. LEARN MORE
The Sweat-powerment Pioneer: Patricia Moreno of intenSati
It might seem like positive affirmations are as synonymous with fitness as sneakers, but it was hardly always this way. As a fitness star at the top of her field, Patricia Moreno appeared to have it all, but knew she was both living and selling a lie: Preaching that diet and exercise were the keys to true happiness, while inside she was suffering under a heavy spell of shame and unworthiness. She knew there was more to life, and made it her mission to find the answer and break the spell for everyone suffering similarly.
Patricia created the intenSati Method, a “heart-pumping, mood-lifting cardio class (think dance meets kickboxing meets yoga) that infuses powerful, positive spoken affirmations to take your transformation from purely physical to totally holistic.” With intenSati, Patricia began to reshape the fitness industry and the lives of tens of thousands from the inside out. Today, she’s speaking up and calling out the very methods and mindset that she used to be a part of. She is on a mission tear down the body-shaming self-objectifying thin-ideal norms, and show what self love in action truly looks and feels like. LEARN MORE
The Mental Health Maven: Rachel Mariotti
Trainer Rachel Mariotti knows that mental fitness is just as important as physical fitness. She holds a Masters Degree of Applied Psychology from New York University with a focus of Mental Health Counseling, and blends her psychological background into her approach to fitness training. A believer in regular “mental hygiene,” her sessions are just as much fitness training as they are life training. And as mental health issues continue to be on the rise, we can’t stress how vital it is to have pros like Rachel setting an example of what truly holistic training is able to look like. LEARN MORE
The Treadmill Whisperer: David Siik of Precision Run
Treadmill running has come a long way since it was less-than-emphatically nicknamed “the dreadmill” by people who viewed it as a sub-par substitute for the outdoor deal. Thanks to boutique fitness studios, the treadmill is getting its cool-kid status back. Precision Run was launched in Equinox clubs back in 2014, and the class was so successful, it recently received its own stand-alone home in NYC’s Flatiron district.
Creative director David Siik has carefully designed the class for max results with minimal impact. Siik’s philosophy and technique speak to both the race-day bound looking to hit new records and the recreational runner just wanting to have fun. His focus on honoring each individual runner’s needs and style combined with the studio’s next-level treadmills that auto-populate speeds and inclines based on your PR (or personal record) makes Precision Run a class unlike any other. LEARN MORE
The Body Neutral Leader: Bethany C. Meyers of The be.come project
The fitness and diet industry is notorious for preying on our insecurities and banking on the fact that we’ll hate ourselves enough to buy into the love they’re selling. Bethany C. Meyers believes fitness can be something different. The be.come project is “a body-neutral, I-can-do-it, go-on-and-love-yourself approach to boutique fitness in an accessible 25-minute routine.” What’s body neutrality, you ask? It’s the acknowledgment and appreciation of what your body does, not how it appears.
Bethany’s fitness motto is: “We work out because we love our bodies, not because we hate them” – which is a revolution in and of itself. Pair it with their all-inclusive candor when it comes to talking about gender, sexuality, eating disorders and identity, and they are the kind of role model we all need right now. LEARN MORE