Sunday, May 9, 2010

My New Favorite Workout: Core Fusion at Exhale Spa

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Unlike some people, I genuinely like to work out. I love the feeling I get at the gym, whether I'm on the elliptical or doing an intense strength training session. The endorphin high is like no other -- not to mention I'm doing something amazing for my body that will actually garner results. And my new favorite workout? It has to be Core Fusion at Exhale Spa.

Over the last few weeks, I've become quite the Core Fusion junkie. You might remember that just last weekend, I went on the Core Fusion retreat at Kripalu, led by the fabulous founders of Core Fusion, Fred DeVito and Elisabeth Halfpapp. (For a quick refresher, click here.) I've been supplementing my normal workout routine with Core Fusion classes at the Central Park South location in New York, and let me tell you something -- these classes work!

The basic idea behind Core Fusion centers on the Lotte Berk Method. It encompasses barre work, yoga, Pilates, stretching, strength training and body sculpting. In just one hour, I find that I've worked my entire body to its fullest, most maximum potential. Intense focused sections on arms, legs and abs -- all focusing on the core, of course -- really work to strengthen and tone the entire body. I love the barre work, even though it's immensely difficult and challenging -- doing multiple plies with my heels raised isn't something I've done since ballet class at 5 years old! But I can honestly say I'm already starting to see a change in my body shape, my endurance and my ability to hold poses longer or do the exercises better. I'm already finding that I can actually do pushups -- and just a few weeks ago, this was darned near impossible for me! Now I can actually do two sets of 20.

If you've never done Core Fusion before, I recommend starting with Core Fusion Basic. No matter your fitness level, it's best to start with the most basic level so you can learn the different exercises and be among people who are also taking class for the first time. Core Fusion Open is also a beginner level, but it focuses on holding poses longer and increasing reps -- so if you're unsure about how well you'll fare, err on the side of Basic first.

So far, I've taken class with four different instructors -- Fred and Elisabeth, obviously, and also Erin Carpenter and Bergen Wheeler. Most instructors are trained in dance and have years of fitness and training expertise. Each instructor is motivating, challenging and just so NICE. I've found that they encourage you to work within your limitations, never making you feel downtrodden if you have to sit out a set or can't do something as well as you'd hope. Instead, they shout out encouragement and really make you feel great about yourself.

I highly recommend checking out Core Fusion the next time you're near Exhale. And if you have time for a massage afterward to decompress and stretch out your muscles, definitely do that too!

Each Core Fusion class is $35. Check out for locations and more information on the various classes offered. Online registration is available for all locations.

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