Q&A with Kari Saitowitz, Fhitting Room Co-Founder
In the two years since the Fhitting Room first opened on the Upper East Side, with its heart-pumping, high intensity interval training (HIIT) workout, the studio’s downtown-dwelling devotees have been nudging founder Kari Saitowitz to open another location anywhere below Central Park. This February, the masses are finally getting their wish with Fhitting Room Flatiron, a larger, two-studio, amenity-equipped version of the classic Fhitting Room workout, nestled right in the heart of the Fitness District. Here, Kari answers our burning questions about the new location, and gives a quick lowdown for those who have yet to try the workout — but keep meaning to!
What exactly is the Fhitting Room workout? (For people who keep hearing about you, but have never been…)
The Fhitting Room is a High Intensity Training (HIT) boutique fitness studio delivering a comprehensive, body-changing workout in a small class environment. It brings together the best elements of group fitness and the best elements of a personal training session. You get all the energy, motivation, and community of an awesome group exercise class, as well as the personal attention and education of a great personal training session. Many of our classes are led by two highly credentialed and passionate trainers, which enables us to provide everyone with a challenging, safe, and achievable workout regardless of fitness level.
Our clients torch calories, experience lean muscle growth, break through fitness plateaus, achieve personal bests, more easily perform activities of daily life, and have fun. A unique FHIX – functional high intensity mix – of moves is featured each day integrating five essential building blocks in every class to deliver optimal results: 1) functional movements 2) strength training 3) high intensity intervals 4) total body focus and 5) highly varied exercises.
We utilize a variety of equipment and incorporate many bodyweight resistance exercises. We get FHIT with rowing machines, SkiErgs, suspension trainers, kettlebells, dumbbells, medicine balls, bosu balls, plyo boxes, resistance bands, and more.
Why does the Fhitting Room workout really work?
HIT involves performing an all-out, exhaustive physical effort for a short time, followed by a short, sometimes active, recovery. The benefits of HIT include maximum increased metabolic rate, optimal muscle building, and muscle retention coupled with fat loss and increased calorie burn during and after the workout.
HIT works because burning fat requires oxygen, and the more oxygen gets inside your body, the more fat your body burns. A high-intensity workout increases your body’s need for oxygen during the effort, and creates an oxygen shortage, causing your body to ask for more oxygen during recovery. This “afterburn” effect is referred to as Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC), and is the reason why intense exercise will help burn more fat and calories than regular aerobic and steady-state workouts. So, one of the awesome effects of all that hard work from HIT is that it will kick your body’s repair cycle into hyperdrive, meaning you will actually continue to burn fat for 24-48 hours after interval training, not just during your workout.
In addition to its effectiveness, The Fhitting Room works because our clients, or FHIXers as we affectionately refer to them, have a blast while working out. By creating an environment in which FHIXers feel comfortable, supported, motivated, and happy, they work hard and push themselves, thus they achieve results.
What is different at the new downtown location vs. uptown?
Downtown is basically a version 2.0 of our uptown space on the Upper East Side. Our Flatiron space is four times the size and houses two studios vs. one, which is perfect for accommodating requests for private classes. Downtown also hosts showers, vanity stations, merchandising space, and some new fitness toys — including SkiErgs, battle ropes, and monkey bars (which are located in our FHITpit a.k.a. our lower level studio). That said, it’s obvious the two spaces are members of the same family, so look for kettlebells and our signature green throughout.
When did you know it was time for a second location?
I’m honestly not sure if it was our high utilization rate or sheer desire to become part of the Fitness District that was the actual catalyst, probably a little bit of both. Either way, it was obvious to us very early on that we needed a larger studio and a footprint in the Flatiron District. We actually first saw the space in June 2013, and had the lease signed in August 2013. Let’s just say, it’s been a very long and winding road since then.
What’s in the future for the Fhitting Room down the line?
There are so many possibilities as we are truly still a young business! March will mark our two-year anniversary, so we are learning, evolving, and improving every day. I think it’s fair to say Flatiron will definitely not be our last studio.
The Fhitting Room Flatiron is located at 31 W. 19th St, between 5th and 6th Aves.
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.