By Kari Saitowitz | Photo by She Don't Cara shedontcara.tumblr.com
What is the Fhitting Room workout all about? Why is it different from other workouts?
The Fhitting Room offers super effective, challenging, high intensity workouts. Each day’s workout integrates five essential building blocks: (1) total body focus (2) high intensity intervals (3) functional movements (4) strength training, and (5) highly varied exercises. Many of our signature movements have been around for decades — what’s unique is our execution and environment. The Fhitting Room combines the best aspects of personal training with the best aspects of boutique group fitness: personal attention meets fun camaraderie and encouragement.
How did you first try HIT workouts? Why did you fall for this type of workout?
I was first exposed to HIT workouts by my personal trainer after giving birth to my older son, who is almost 7. I had never been someone who loved working out, but did so regularly for superficial reasons. That changed when I started HIT. My HIT workouts were fun (box jumps are still my favorite exercise), I liked the variety and the fact that I only had to do any one thing for a short time interval before moving on. And I was seeing and feeling the effects. I quickly found myself in the best shape of my life, and I was only working out 2x weekly, and I was eating, really eating.
My type A personality loves the efficiency of HIT — what New Yorker wouldn’t appreciate getting their cardio workout while strength training? That’s more time for everything else we need to get done in a day. I also think it’s pretty badass to lift heavy and debunk the myth that lifting weights will bulk you up — and speaking of badass, it’s a great feeling to complete a tough all-out effort.
You used to have a high profile job at Pepsi. What was it like starting your own fitness space? How did you find your team?
Interestingly, I didn’t exactly set out to start The Fhitting Room per se, the idea came to be gradually. SoulCycle paved the way for experience-rich boutique fitness; research continually validated the benefits of HIT; and the individuals who became my leadership team — Eric, Jessica & Liz — started to rally behind the idea of The Fhitting Room, which didn’t even have a name when we first started talking about it.
Only one member of my initial team was recruited in a traditional manner, the rest of my launch team came together through Eric, Jess, and/or me, like a family. Jess and I met in a Mommy & Me music class when our 7-year-olds were only one; Liz was dating a very good friend of mine (they are now married!); Daury worked with Eric years ago, Ben and Amanda worked at Lululemon on 85th and Madison where Eric was an Ambassador and where Jess shopped, and I met Eric at New York Sports Club.
Speaking of, how did you and Head Coach - sometimes called El Capitán - Eric Salvador find each other? He seems to be the heart of Fhitting Room.
I met Eric while I was training at NYSC. He seemed to know every member of the gym by name. I went to a few of his classes to watch him in action, and let me tell you, that man can light up even the most dreary room! The more I got to know Eric, the more I was convinced the business I was noodling in my head couldn’t fail in his hands. Eric is a fitness expert with the rare combination of technical expertise; in-depth knowledge of physiology and exercise science; true passion for what he does; and the most amazing personality. He’s the guy who can speak to a room filled with 100 people, and all 100 people are convinced he’s speaking directly to him/her. The success of The Fhitting Room was built on the heart and talent of everyone on our team, but Eric certainly leads by example.
What is the goal of The Fhitting Room?
Philosophically speaking, to be a bright spot in the day. Tactically, we help clients torch calories, experience lean muscle growth, break through fitness plateaus, achieve personal bests, and more easily perform activities of daily life. Our goal is really to support our clients accomplish their goals, which may be mental and/or physical. (If you’re asking what our expansion plans are, we are in construction at 31 West 19th Street between 5th & 6th Ave and are pushing for a New Year’s opening. After that, stay tuned!)
You also have a family at home - how do you balance your time?
The term balance implies there is some sort of equilibrium, so I’d say my time gets divided but not balanced. I take both of my sons to school everyday; I pick each of my sons up from school at least 2x a week. I never miss their Saturday baseball games. I love seeing their faces light up when I pick them up at school, so I often disappear from the working world between 2pm – 5pm and again while I put them to sleep at night, but I pay the price from 9pm – 1am, when I’m glued to my laptop. I definitely sacrifice sleep more than anything else.
What do you eat in a typical day? How do you stay healthy?
My days all start pretty well with Greek yogurt, a decaf latte, and fruit (sometimes a banana, sometimes berries). Lunch is variable. Sometimes I have a salad with grilled chicken for lunch; sometimes I have something more indulgent like a chicken gyro or lobster roll (no mayo). My favorite lunches are the occasional ones at Cascabel that get washed down with a margarita! I always snack on something in the afternoon, sometimes fruit, sometimes dark chocolate-covered graham crackers. And dinner is really all over the map depending on whether I’m eating at home or going out to dinner with my husband or friends. If I’m out, all bets are off: tonight I had a salad, burger and fries with friends at J.G. Melon. I stay healthy mostly by working my ass off during those all-out effort intervals, and by trying to keep up with my kids and their insatiable appetite to hit baseballs in the park. Disciplined eating is not my strong suit!
Any advice you can give our readers? Words of wisdom?
When it comes to working out, find something active that you truly enjoy doing, and do it. At the end of the day, if you are not having fun with a particular workout, you’re not going to commit to it over the long haul. As for words of wisdom, I would just say that you never know what lurks around the next corner. If there’s something you’ve been noodling in your head, keep noodling it; if you find yourself thinking about the same thing over and over, then make it happen. It’s never too late to make changes in your life; don’t get stuck in a rut. Change can be scary, but it’s also super rewarding! #liveFHIT
Prior to founding The Fhitting Room, Kari Saitowitz was a Marketing Executive at Pepsi-Cola Company. She left the world of boardrooms and bubbles and entered the world of diapers and sleepless nights seven years ago, and was introduced to High Intensity Training to work off her pregnancy weight. Kari was blown away not only by the results of HIT physically and emotionally, but also by how much fun she was having during her workouts. Kari has an MBA from Harvard Business School, and a BS in Economics from the Wharton School of University of Pennsylvania.