Refine Method

Refine Method 1

Two tough HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workouts in two days were a common thing for me prior to leaving Seattle, now, not so much. I dragged my aching body to Refine Method in New York’s Upper East Side on a Monday, walking tall having successfully survived the class at Exceed the day prior.

This studio was very small and the staff knew everyone and when I walked in they welcomed me by name. My instructor, Pam Leary, was very friendly and enthusiastic about my journey.

A few minutes into the warm-up it was evident that I wasn’t working at full capacity. I knew I was tired from the previous day’s workout but this type of fatigue was unusual, then it hit me, I hadn’t eaten since my breakfast smoothie. Rookie mistake! I don’t know if it was because of my lack of nutrients or if the class was just hard but this was the toughest workout I had done in a long time. The workout consisted of a combination of full body cardio such as jump squats to strength training with kettle bells and suspension straps. I was so weak and tired that I wasn’t even able to add any weight to my workout, I just worked out against my own body weight which at the time felt like a million pounds.

The other people in the class seemed to be moving through the workout with ease, my experience was more of a breathy wheeze. I was so off my game it was a bit embarrassing, which is a common feeling for me on this trip so I felt right at home. There were a handful of times throughout the workout when I seriously considered leaving, I was long out of water and light headed. I am proud to say that I stuck it out and finished the class. As I left the studio it was quite clear to me that I have some refining to do to my fitness method.

Refine Method 6

Chaise Fitness

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Image taken from

Workout in a chair? Yes please! This sounded like an easy(ish) workout and since I had been slacking on my workouts a good segue back. Boy was I wrong, this is one tough workout!

Chaise Fitness was founded by Lauren Piskin a competitive figure skater turned certified Pilates instructor and her daughter Rachel Piskin who is a retired professional ballerina. The studio boasts “The Reinvention Method” which combines Pilates, aerobics, strength training and ballet. I am not very seasoned in most of these, having given up on things like aerobics when I fell trying to do a backwards hop onto a step many years ago.

I took two of their classes, the Reinvention Chair and the Bungee Blast. The moves in the first class were easy at the beginning, though, simple use of the suspended arm bands turned to me on all fours with a little tiny ball wedged behind my knee doing leg and glute lifts. Ouch. I am happy to report that I did not fall off the chair or lose my ball, I held on tight. My instructor Rachel, was incredibly down to earth, helpful, encouraging and supportive. I had no idea that she was the co-founder of Chaise Fitness.

The second class, Bungee Blast had us working out on a mat and using the overhead bungees. At first glance I thought this was going to be an easier class but within minutes I was feeling the burn in my hips and my glutes. I thought I was doing it wrong at first because I had never felt such burning in my hips but our instructor Maria graciously moved us on to the next move to give our hips a rest. Maria was also a wonderful instructor, kind, helpful and really encouraging. I found out after the class that she is also a member of the New York Knicks Dance Team as well has danced for musicians such as Rihanna and Pitbull.

To get a better idea of what the workout looks like watch this quick video:

At the end of the video Lauren says that they wanted to create a welcoming and supportive place for people to become their best self. I believe that they have succeeded, from the moment I stepped in to the studio to the moment I left I felt welcomed, supported and never once did I feel any judgement, oh and I had fun too! I hope my remaining fitness experiences in New York are as positive!

Co-Founders Rachel and Lauren Piskin. Image taken from

Co-Founders Rachel and Lauren Piskin.  Image taken from