By Rachel Torgerson | April 24, 2015 | Style & Beauty
Get the behind-the-scenes look into modelFIT, the Bowery-based workout studio that’s caused a serious stir in the fitness world.
modelFIT offers a bright and airy space for its group fitness classes.
If you pay any attention to fitness news (or follow supermodel Karlie Kloss's whereabouts), you’re most likely familiar with the 212 Bowery address that is home to one of the city's most popular workout studios: modelFIT. In an effort to peel back the A-lister veneer to uncover what a modelFIT class really looks like, we get into why clients come back religiously and why you don't have to be an actual model to work out at modelFIT—you just might end up looking like one.
If you really want to be a modelFIT insider, you have to write it out correctly. A lowercase “model” with an emphasis on FIT. Any other iteration and you might be looked at as a fraud.
Since the classes are based entirely on the people attending at any given moment, you’ll never have the same workout twice. Instructors also don't prepare routines beforehand, says modelFIT trainer Newsha Mostafavi. Instead, they make them up on the fly after assessing the agility level of the students in the class and relying on their knowledge of exercise science.
Guests will never get the same workout twice in a row.
If you’re into fitness, you’ve probably heard the phrase “muscle confusion” a few times before, the basic principal that you should keep your muscles guessing to purposely put them in “shock” by doing different exercises, ultimately promoting weight loss. “So much of the success of the method comes from muscle confusion,” says Mostafavi. “It requires vision and a steady stream of inspiration to create a consistently distinct experience.”
Justin Gelband is the modelFIT personal trainer who started it all. When founder Vanessa Packer took Gelband’s classes, she immediately knew his results had to be shared with others in a studio environment. “With the rise of group-training, I saw an opportunity to take the modelFIT method of training and create a class around it, making it more accessible and available to anyone that wanted to sign up,” says Packer.
It’s apparent when you talk to anyone at modelFIT—whether it's a trainer or the founder herself—that it's more than just a gym. The fitness brand encourages healthy diets, mindful eating, and a stress-free way of life to complement exercise.
modelFIT welcomes those with particular injuries, thanks to their customizable approach to fitness classes.
When you think “model” and “workout,” you may think of exercises steeped in intensity. And while that’s certainly the case sometimes, modelFIT also offers low-impact fitness classes that are easy on the joints. In fact, on one of the more rewarding aspects of working there, trainer Stephen Pasterino says, "Watching people who cannot work out because they are injured and helping them gain strength and confidence through movement of the body.”
Vanessa Packer was a fashion stylist-turned-holistic-nutritionist who began the fitness movement after witnessing her own results. This rings particularly true at Packer's modelFIT, thanks to her emphasis on creating a "beautiful experience of wellness." That includes the Diptyque candles and fresh flowers around the studio.
Lots of fitness studios in the city pride themselves on their rough, industrial spaces, filled with heavy weights and resistance equipment. But the modelFIT studio’s approach is much more zen: Think natural light, white walls, wooden flooring, and locally-sourced art. "[Our space] just feels like a beautiful photography studio that you happen to be working out in,” says Packer.
The workouts are focused on providing results, which lend to modelFIT's cult-like following.
Though the studio has a rep for hosting celebs, modelFIT is pretty strict on their anti-diva policy. “It's an intimate space and we treat everyone like a VIP so there is no room for diva behavior,” says Packer. As to why the studio attracts so many VIPs to begin with, Packer says it has to do with the environment modelFIT creates, and of course to the way people look after they work out. “I think people are responding to the results-driven workout we offer, and the design and feeling of the studio.”
This particular studio has gotten a lot of attention because the likes of Taylor Swift and Karlie Kloss (not to mention countless Victoria’s Secret Angels) call this gym their workout home; but it’s not a studio that caters only to celebs. “Something people wouldn't guess about modelFIT is that our clients come from all walks of life," Mostafavi says. "I've been asked if modelFIT is only for models and my answer is heck no—all are welcome and that includes modelFIT men!”
Visit the modelFIT studio at 212 Bowery, 212-219-2044