W.O.W! Working Out With Alysia Reiner

 

ALYSIA REINER, PATRICIA MORENO, YOUR EDITOR

Photos by Casey Steffens

Fans of Netflix’s Orange is the New Black know Alysia Reiner as the assistant prison warden, Natalie “Fig” Figueroa, one of those antagonistic characters you love to hate on a show. Though probably most recognized for this role, this busy actress and producer has a plethora of other current roles to her credit as well. Alysia stars as Sunny on the new F/X show Better Things; District Attorney Wendy Parks on How To Get Away With Murder; and Lilian Izikoff on Rosewood, just to name a few. She was also one of the stars and producers of the acclaimed 2016 Wall Street film Equity. Other television and film appearances are far too numerous to list, but reading her IMDb page, it kind of seems like she’s been in everything. And to top it all off, she just launched a new fashion line, Livari.

So how does this over-achieving actress, producer, designer, wife, and mother find the time to workout? For Alysia it’s a daily priority and has been since she was a teenager. We first met at SoulCycle, where she is a regular, but HIIT classes, yoga, and Patricia Moreno’s IntenSati are a part of her weekly fitness rotation – the latter to which she brought me for this installment of “W.O.W! Working out With”.
 


 

Patricia Moreno is a legendary instructor who has been on the forefront of the fitness industry since the late 1990’s. She started her career at the famed Jeff Martin Studio, and then made her home at Equinox for over 20 years. Patricia’s story deserves a feature in itself, but to share it succinctly, despite being one of the most popular, successful, and well-known fitness instructors, she struggled with her weight and an eating disorder her entire life. On every crazy diet from the age of 10, she became an expert at losing weight, but was never able to maintain it. It was in one devastating moment, outed for her weight gain by the producers of a morning television program on which she was the fitness expert, she realized if she was unable to succeed, how could anyone else? She made it her mission to figure out what was missing and how to create sustainable change.
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W.O.W! Working Out With Bob Harper

 

 

PHOTOGRAPHS BY MICHAEL WILLIAMS 

On January 31st of last year, day 31 of my 31 Days of Fitness challenge, I worked out with Bob Harper for the grand finale. Bob is one of the most famous trainers and personalities in the fitness industry, having starred on “The Biggest Loser” for 17 seasons. The workout did not disappoint. Bob lived up to his all-star billing, pushing my body beyond what I thought it was capable of in a high intensity circuit workout that kicked my butt after 1 round. Relentless but nurturing he kept me going for 3 more — dropping my time with each round.

12 days later Bob suffered a massive heart attack on the floor of that very same gym.

Bob calls it “the heart attack heard round the world”. It was the top story on every entertainment program, morning television, and the evening news. The last thing you ever expect is for one of the world’s most famous trainers to have a heart attack. Bob had what is known as a “widow maker”, which usually has about a 6% rate of survival. He credits the doctors who happened to be at the gym that day. and the AED (defibrillator) on the premises, for saving his life. He has since said he won’t ever work out at a gym that doesn’t have one.

When Bob woke up from a coma in the hospital two days later, he had no recollection of what had happened, nor anything about that day. He confessed recently he didn’t remember our workout or how we had met, as his short term memory was affected by the heart attack. Since then, however, he has been making steady progress, documenting on social media what has been both a physical and emotional journey back to health. Confronting his mortality and the realization that despite his physical fitness he could not avoid his family history of heart disease has been extremely challenging. His mother died of a heart attack and his priorities have shifted dramatically. He doesn’t sweat the small stuff, and he doesn’t sweat the big stuff either.
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W.O.W! Working Out With Lucy Sykes

 
LUCY SYKES AND YOUR EDITOR, CLAUDIA LEBENTHAL, GETTING OUR SWEAT ON AT FLYBARRE

 

PHOTOGRAPHS BY MAGGIE MANN

Fitness Junkie is an irresistibly fun novel set in the fitness landscape of NYC, that takes a hysterical look at our body obsessed culture. Written by fashion veteran Lucy Sykes, and award winning journalist Jo Piazza, bestselling authors of The Knockoff, the book tells the story of Janey Sweet, CEO of a couture wedding dress company, whose fat-phobic business partner gives her an ultimatum to lose weight or lose her job.

On a mission to drop 30 lbs. fast, Janey throws herself into the boutique fitness scene: sweating it out at “Soarbarre”, primal screaming at “The Workout”, and going topless at “Nipple Yoga”. Though the comparison to many popular workouts may seem obvious, Lucy Sykes swears the similarities are purely coincidental. Nevertheless, the spoof leaves readers speculating about who’s really who, and makes Fitness Junkie a page-turning romp through the crazy landscape of our weight consumed society.

We caught up with Sykes at an “Abs & Arms” class at FlyBarre, her go-to workout of choice, for a special Fitness Junkie class. Wearing Fitness Junkie tees made for the occasion, we sweated together through this fast-paced, body-sculpting barre class that incorporated weights, resistance bands, and core balls. After class, with Sykes rushing to the next stop on her promotional tour, we jumped in a taxi and found the nearest brownstone steps to chat about her inspiration for Fitness Junkie.
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W.O.W! Working Out With Abby Elliott

 

PHOTOGRAPHS BY JAIMIE BAIRD

If you are a fan of Bravo’s “Odd Mom Out”, you hate, but kind of love Abby Elliott. The character she plays, Brooke Von Weber, the entitled young wife of your stereotypical NYC hedge fund CEO, is fairly detestable, but Abby does it with such deadpan and oblivious humor, it’s hard not love her for playing it so well.

Abby is third generation comic genius and third generation “Saturday Night Live” alum. She was a cast member from 2008-2012. Her father, Chris Elliott, probably most recognizable for his regular sketches and guest appearances on “Late Night With David Letterman”, was also a cast member from 1994-1995. Her grandfather, Bob Elliott, one half of the famed comedy duo, “Bob and Ray”, made a guest appearance on the show in 1978.

Abby is currently filming the eagerly anticipated third season of “Odd Mom Out”, Bravo’s foray into scripted television. Set in Manhattan, it is a satirical peek at the outrageous lifestyles of the extremely rich wives and mothers who live on the Upper East Side. Abby’s character Brooke is most definitely the odd mom IN. She is the leader of this pack — foe of writer and creator Jill Kargman’s character, Jill, the series “odd mom out”. Both spoof the opposite ends of the spectrum at the other’s expense and the result is pure laughs.
 


 

For this installment of “W.O.W! Working Out With”, I met Abby at The Bar Method in Soho, her go-to workout of choice. While I kept waiting (and kind of hoping) for Brooke to appear, Abby is far from the character she plays. This fresh faced and unaffected cheerful young woman blended in with the crowd of regulars there for the packed morning class. With long hours on set, typical of any filming actor’s life, it’s been hard to workout lately as much as she would like, but with her first day off in while, this was her first stop. I, a HUGE fan of the show, was beyond excited to join her, although slightly dreading the torture I knew was in store.
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W.O.W! Working Out With Stephanie Ruhle

 
DUKING IT OUT AT SHADOWBOX WITH MSNBC ANCHOR, STEPHANIE RUHLE

 

PHOTOGRAPHS BY MAGGIE MANN

Stephanie Ruhle is the eponymous host of “MSNBC Live with Stephanie Ruhle,” which airs every weekday morning at 9 am. If you watch MSNBC regularly you will also see this busy newswoman pop up on your TV screens at other points during the day — especially now, when political developments are non-stop and there is never a dull moment in our nation’s news.

Previously a banker at Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse, Stephanie got her start in business television as an anchor and managing editor for Bloomberg Television. There she co-hosted “Bloomberg GO,” Bloomberg’s flagship morning show. Among many other industry leaders, she regularly interviewed such financial titans as former Goldman Sachs President, Gary Cohn, now White House Director of the National Economic Council; Wall Street mogul, Wilbur Ross, now Commerce Secretary; famed “corporate raider” and Wall Street activist, Carl Icahn, now special adviser to the president on regulatory overhaul; and billionaire real estate tycoon, Donald Trump, now the 45th President of the United States.

Like many of those she has covered, Stephanie has shifted from business into political news in what has to be one of the most exciting times to be a reporter. It requires a lot physical and mental stamina. “It comes with a great responsibility,” she says, and you have to be “fitter than ever.” Given the time demands of her job; role as a wife and mother of three kids; and active involvement in women’s leadership development, having founded the Corporate Investment Bank Women’s Network and serving on the board of trustees for Girls Inc., how does Stephanie stay in such obviously good shape?
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W.O.W! Working Out With Kelly Ripa

 
KELLY RIPA, SOS EDITOR CLAUDIA LEBENTHAL, STACEY GRIFFITH
 
PHOTOGRAPHS AND VIDEOS BY DEBBY HYMOWITZ

 
From daytime television to morning television, Kelly Ripa has been making her presence known on the airwaves since 1990. We first got to know her as Hayley Vaughan on ABC’s “All My Children”, before becoming the co-host of “Live with Regis and Kelly” in 2001. Now the solo host of “Live with Kelly”, Kelly Ripa has proven she’s a force to be reckoned with and not just on the small screen. Packed into a 5’3” frame, this media powerhouse is a whole lot of muscle and endless energy, all of which I’ve witnessed plenty while riding with her over the last few years at SoulCycle.

The bubbly personality we all know and love on television is balanced by a sarcastic wit that fellow riders at SoulCycle experience on a regular basis. There is no diva here; Kelly is just a fresh-faced, funny, and approachable spin mate who didn’t hesitate to say yes when I worked up the nerve to ask if she’d be on Style of Sport. Her only request was that she didn’t have to wear any makeup. ‘How cool’, I thought, ‘How real! How Alicia Keys!’ The daily application of makeup is one part of her job that she is happy to skip when not required.
 

CLICK IMAGE ABOVE TO WATCH US IN ACTION!

 
For this installment of “WOW: Working Out With”, Kelly and I “doubled” at SoulCycle with one of our favorite instructors, Stacey Griffith — a star in her own right whose book, Two Turns from Zero, comes out this March. Anyone who rides with Stacey knows we are a tight knit group. The “double” seems to be a phenomenon unique to SoulCycle where riders just can’t get enough, taking not just one, but two classes in a row.
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W.O.W! Working Out With Kelly Killoren Bensimon

 

KELLY KILLOREN BENSIMON AT THE HAMPTON CLASSIC

 
The Hampton Classic horse show takes over the Hamptons social scene this week as the grand finale of the summer season. While many go to see and be seen, at the heart of the event are the equestrians of all ages and levals, and some celebrities too, that are there to compete. For this installment of “WOW: Working Out With” we caught a ride with one of the more recognizable faces, Kelly Killoren Bensimon, who is showing this week.

For many people the name Kelly Killoren Bensimon is synonymous with the “Real Housewives of New York”, the reality show on which she was a featured cast member for three seasons. Pitted in an infamous battle with another cast member, her story line made for the kind salacious programming that people regularly tune in to reality television. We actually don’t, but google it if you’re interested.

Kelly has been a model since she was 16 years old, having been discovered in Elite Model’s “Look of The Year” contest. Attending Columbia while modeling, it was a college professor that encouraged her to start writing for the magazines in which her pictures were appearing. Starting at Hamptons magazine, she would go on to Gotham and later become Editor-In-Chief of Elle Accessories.

Now 48 years old and the mother of two teenage girls, Kelly is still drop dead gorgeous. Take one look at her and it’s obvious she’s been an athlete her whole life. Hard as we may try, this kind of physique is not made in a gym. A competitive swimmer growing up, she runs, rides (obviously), and recently added SoulCycle to her fitness regimen, primarily to improve her equestrian skills. “It really keeps you grounded on the horse and strong,” she says.
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W.O.W! Al Roker & Deborah Roberts

 

AL ROKER, YOUR EDITOR, AND DEBORAH ROBERTS AT CITYROW

Photography by @Imagista

Al Roker and Deborah Roberts are just like any married couple raising a family, except a little more high profile. He is the jovial weatherman known to more than 30 million viewers as one of the stars of the Today show; and she is the venerable ABC News journalist and 20/20 correspondent, regularly making her own appearances on morning television as a reporter for Good Morning America. With sixteen Emmy Awards between them, Al Roker and Deborah Roberts are the first couple of television news.

Been There, Done That: Family Wisdom For Modern Times by Al Roker and Deborah Roberts is the new book this powerhouse duo have co-authored. Presented in a back and forth, “he said, she said” format, with stories told by each, the book gives an inside look at their daily lives as a couple, as parents, and as a family — that off camera are not much different from our own. In a funny, heartfelt, and honest collection of personal anecdotes, Al and Deborah share the life lessons learned and wisdom gained facing the challenges of a busy professional couple, raising kids in New York City, while focusing on maintaining a successful relationship of their own.

With two distinctive personalities, what makes the book a fun read is Al and Deborah’s different ways of looking at the same thing. This holds true when it comes to fitness. They have opposite body types, and while Deborah, naturally slim, loves working out and running in Central Park, Al, now half the size he once was, will tell you “I hate it.” Regardless he gets it done at 4:45 every morning before he goes on air.
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W.O.W! Working Out With The Men of Wilhelmina

 
AT FLEX STUDIOS WITH MODEL CHRIS RYAN, SOS EDITOR CLAUDIA LEBENTHAL,
WILHELMINA CEO BILL WACKERMANN, AND MODEL CJ KOEGEL

 

PHOTOGRAPHY BY @IMAGISTA

Bill Wackermann is the CEO of Wilhelmina International Inc, having recently taken the helm at the famed modeling agency at the end of January. Although our paths had not crossed previously, Bill and I have common bond, having both spent many years at Condé Nast – he on the business side, most recently as the publisher of Condé Nast Traveler and Glamour, and me on the editorial side at Allure, Womens Sports & Fitness and Self.

Bill is someone who clearly takes his workouts very seriously–not just for the physical benefits, but also the spiritual ones. For this installment of W.O.W, we decided to try something new, a workout neither one of us had done before. Imagine my disappointment (not!), when Bill’s publicist asked if he could bring along two of Wilhelmina’s male models to join us — especially when I checked out the portfolios of CJ Koegel and Chris Ryan. All I can say is these are the days when I really do love my job.

We met up early Monday morning to check out the Flex 90 class at Flex Studios, a jam-packed 90-minute combo of TRX, Barre, and Pilates (30 minutes each). Taught by Jessica Cadden Osborne, coincidentally a Wilhelmina fitness model herself who we featured last summer in a SUP Yoga story, she put us all through our paces in one relentless, supercharged workout.

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PART 1 OF FLEX 90: TRX

While we both spend a lot of time working out, TRX, Barre, and Pilates are workouts you can’t fake your way through. On their own, they’re challenging enough, but together they are a brutal. They force you to use those little muscles that the big ones usually compensate for — in addition to a whole lot of core. Bill and I had our fitness put to the test, and I’m proud to say we held our own against the young studs. We chatted the next day about the workout, his new job, and how his approach to fitness is very much in tune with his philosophy on professional success:
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W.O.W! Working Out With Tim Morehouse

 

 
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THREE TIME OLYMPIC FENCER TIM MOREHOUSE (TOP) & YOUR EDITOR 
PHOTOGRAPHY BY @IMAGISTA

 

Based on Manhattan’s Upper West Side is the Tim Morehouse Fencing Club, where I had an opportunity to bout and chat last week with three time Olympian Tim Morehouse. Currently, Tim is probably most recognized as the fencer in those Chase Mastery commercials with Serena Williams and The Rockettes, but its Tim’s silver medal in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, that have brought him fame and recognition as one of the sport’s greats.

Founded in 2015, Tim Morehouse Fencing Club teaches the Olympic sport of saber fencing  — one of the three disciplines of the sport that include epee and foil, and in which he won his Olympic medal. Sabre is based on the cavalry sword and you hit with sides of the blade, as opposed to foil and epee where you hit with the tip. The club offers classes and instruction for competitors of all ages and ability levels, but it is his work with kids that is most noteworthy. Founder of “Fencing In The Schools“, Tim is passionate about sharing the sport he fell in love with at age 13, and giving the same opportunities he had to inner city and rural school kids.

“My life was profoundly changed when I stumbled upon the sport of fencing and a coach who believed in me,” says Tim. “When I started, I thought I was just playing a sport, but something unexpected happened at practice. While I was working on turning on the scoring light, I was also turning on my internal light, awakening my own potential and illuminating the path to becoming my best self.” It is his mission to “Turn The Light On” for students across the country and help them become engaged, active, confident adults who can set goals and exceed them, lead a team, and have a positive impact on the world.
 
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As a lifelong athlete, very appreciative of the self confidence and positive foundation sports provide from an early age, and the aunt of a competitive gymnast we featured in To be a Young Gymnast, I wanted to hear more about his sport — both the physical and mental aspects of fencing, its benefits for young and old, and who we should have our eyes on this summer in Rio at the Olympic games.
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W.O.W! Nigel Barker & The DogPound

 
GUN SHOW WITH THE DOGPOUND!
FROM LEFT: DAWIN PENA, NIGEL BARKER, ME, KIRK MYERS, BREY PENA

 
In our WOW (Working Out With) series, yours truly goes head to head with a person of note, in the gym or some other sporting arena, to sweat a bit and talk about what’s up. For this installment, I connected with renowned photographer and fashion television host, Nigel Barker, at Gotham Gym in NYC to work out with his crew, known as the DogPound.

Nigel and I met in 2014 and got to know each other well working on his newest book, Models Of Influence, of which I was the photo editor. Published in February 2015, the book is retrospective of 50 of the most influential models in fashion history and the iconic photographs that defined them. Decade by decade, each chapter spotlights an era, and highlights the “50 Women Who Reset the Course of Fashion.”

Known well for his 17 seasons on “America’s Next Top Model,” Nigel was most recently the host of “The Face,” and is regularly featured on other television shows as the go-to fashion authority. A highly regarded photographer, filmmaker, philanthropist, and author, Nigel is no slouch in the gym either. Six days a week at 5:45 am sharp, he works out with a group of about 15 other guys and 3 very large trainers — Kirk Myers, Dawin Pena, and Brey Pena — aka the DogPound.
 

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CLOCKWISE TOP LEFT: HANGING LEGS LIFTS AS THE DOGPOUND KEEPS A WATCHFUL EYE; MORE AB WORK WITH LEG THROW DOWNS; NIGEL AND I GO HEAD TO HEAD WITH PUSH-UPS

 
The group was originally assembled by actor Hugh Jackman, and includes various other captains of industry and a few Olympic athletes as well. The name “DogPound” is an homage to “Dali,” Jackman’s French bulldog, who presides over all workouts. The group meets every morning to “smash it,” their signature expression for crushing everything from weightlifting, high intensity interval training (HIIT), and literally smashing things — boxing, hammer drills, hitting drills, ball slams and throws. I got a taste of it, pushing a 200 lb. tire back and forth with Nigel, along with a sampling of other DogPound favorites. A little stomach bug kept me from going full out, but even a shortened session left my heart pumping and eager for another round with the DogPound! After our workout, we talked fitness, fashion, and Models of Influence.
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W.O.W! Working Out With Stacy London

 
SELFIE WITH STACY LONDON, CENTRAL PARK, DEC. 31, 2013

 

On December 31st, the last and very chilly day of 2013, my friend Stacy London and I went for a power walk in New York City’s Central Park. I had asked her to join me for the inaugural installment of Style Of Sport’s “WOW” (Working Out With) series, a conversation in motion, with people you know, to talk about health, fitness, nutrition, wellness, and the body issues that challenge us all.

For those of you who don’t know Stacy London, she was the tough-love-with-a-smile style guru and co-host of TLC’s “What Not to Wear” for its 10 season run (the show’s last episode aired in October 2013). She helped transform fashion disasters into their most stylish selves, while doling out some bigger picture life advice along the way.

While Stacy is at ease motivating others, when it comes to her fitness regime she has faced some hurdles, due primarily to a number of physical issues. As she revealed in her book, The Truth About Style, Stacy suffered with severe psoriasis as a child. She has now developed Psoriatic Arthritis, a type of arthritic pain and inflammation that can occur in those with psoriasis. She only recently received this diagnosis, however, despite suffering from unexplained pain and chronic fatigue for the last couple of years. Interestingly, when I asked her if there any topics she wanted to discuss in particular, she said “the importance of moving… both literally and figuratively”.

So on the last day of January, the big month of fitness resolutions, I thought it would be fitting to share our conversation and provide some inspiration to achieve those goals in the  year ahead. Read More

 
 

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