I’m weirdly sore today. Like…straightening my arms…is a problem. And that weird, unfortunate area where your bum meets your thigh (a “thutt,” if you will)? Well, it hurts. And don’t, please don’t, get me started on my obliques. It’s embarrassing.
Why? You ask (so nice of you to care!!). Well, because some of the models we work with (Anne V & Julie Henderson) put me in touch with their fitness guru and her studio, Rachel at Chaise23, and basically told me, in no uncertain terms, that I had to try it out.
Rachel is the co-founder (along with her mother, Lauren Piskin) of Chaise23 in New York City’s Flatiron District and she kindly invited me to her studio to interview her and try out The Reinvention Method.
Things you should know about Rachel aside from the fact that she’s adorable: She fell in love with fitness young, while attending the School of American Ballet. Pilates was her workout of choice and remained so through her tenure with New York City Ballet. And during her career, she was named to Dance Magazine’s “25 to Watch” in 2009, and appeared in numerous television programs, films, and books.
When she stopped dancing, she began looking for a new passion: ‘I quickly realized that I needed to move. I needed to be creative and fuel that creativity in a movement-based environment. In Chaise23, which my mother founded, I found that perfect balance of business, creativity, and movement.’
Rachel credits The Reinvention Method for keeping her in peak shape (I mean…whoa, look at those photos!) since ending her ballet career and is thrilled (seriously, she is) to be teaching the method to models, athletes, and all her Chaise devotees. She has been featured on camera for Shape Magazine, Fox News, and Oxygen demonstrating The Reinvention Method.
And so, armed with questions, a notepad, a camera, and my best efforts, I went. It was amazing in a gloriously, exhausting, kind of painful way.
Let’s talk about it.
The classes are small, so everyone gets a fair amount of personal attention — plus, Rachel introduced herself to everyone individually beforehand and remembered their names during class. I can barely remember the name of my immediate neighbors, who I see everyday, and was therefore duly impressed.
Everyone also gets their own little stool/chair/thing and their own two bungee cords hanging from the ceiling.
There’s multiple sorts of classes offered at the studio — Reinvention Chair (which I took), Cardio Chair (which looks hard as h-e-double-hockey-sticks), Chair Challenge (for those looking for a…challenge?), Long & Lean (which explains why Anne and Julie are both long & lean), and Ballet Bungee (which plays into Rachel’s lifelong training).
Reinvention chair was an awesome workout. It follows a very decided, methodically laid out progression. It starts with big muscle groups (i.e. legs), warms up the area, and then fires into all the smaller groups (i.e. every, minute angle of your hamstring) and you feel a burn. A holy, holy burn.
I asked Rachel a few questions about the method, and how she focuses her training for our girls before their big shoots.
Here are her answers:
What is your favorite exercise move? Pikes! Pikes are very unique to our method and are an incredible full body exercise that targets all the trouble areas. The beauty of pikes is that there are many variations that can be done and the pedal resistance can be changed so your body is constantly challenged. (if I had to describe a pike and had to cite it as something other than a soul-crushing-abdominal-death…I would say you place your feet on the pedal of the chair, hands on the far corners of the bench, and then your lift your hips straight up into the air with every, shaking ounce of power your abs hopefully have, and then lower slowly back down to the ground…it hurts.)
What is your least favorite move? I have a love hate relationship with the Side Leg Series. It is the miracle waist cincher, but is very challenging for me. Balancing on the chair while laying on your side challenges your core in a whole new way, the addition of the bungees really requires your entire body to be present and connected. (what? you want another description? alright well, lay on the side of your hip, on the bench, grasp for dear life onto your bungee cord hanging from the ceiling and try to make Rachel proud as she cheers you on to lift your leg, pulse your arm, and cinch that waist! It’s amazing.)
As I was working/struggling/sweating through both series, as well as all the others…I kept picturing Anne & Julie.
“They do this”…”I’m doing this”…”They look great”…”I’m totally going to look great”…”Right?”…(cue more dripping sweat, huffing, puffing, a few choice curse words, etc)…”Right?! God I better be right!”…
So, just to double check…I asked Rachel about what she does specifically for Anne and Julie, to get them (me?) bikini ready…
When I work with Anne V and Julie Henderson I combine the chair and Ballet Bungee exercises to create a program that focuses on creating long, sculpted muscles. Working one-on-one enables me to really tailor each workout to their body and specific needs, and I constantly challenge their already strong physiques by pushing them to plié lower, and pike higher. They are often traveling, so I have created a specialized theraband workout, that takes all the exercises that are usually performed in the studio with the overhead bungees and the fitness chair, and allows them to fit in a great workout anywhere, anytime!
Rachel would love to do something similar for you! So take a class, go say hello, whatever!
Follow Rachel and Chaise23 here:
Twitter for Rachel: @rachiepiskin