A few weeks ago, a friend threw a bachelorette party for her sister in Southampton. Despite what some may think, the East End isn’t Las Vegas, and the bachelorette weekend was more of a path to relaxation than a path to one of those 24-hour chapels.
Most appealing among the weekend’s activities was an at-home yoga class. Said friend had hired an instructor to give a class on her front lawn. I was intrigued. I seem to be less and less inclined to take my car out of my driveway each summer, opting instead to bike wherever I need to do, so the idea of workout out without fighting traffic was appealing.
Inspired by the bachelorette party idea, I organized a girls’ lunch hour for my mom, sister and myself with Mahri of Body Conceptions. Body Conceptions is a fitness venture created by Marhi, who danced professionally before venturing into the workout world, first as a trainer at the Tracy Anderson Method and then as creative director for FlyBarre at Flywheel Sports. Her method combines elements of dance and barre to give a full-body workout.
Aside from the ease of working out at home, another reason for giving Body Conceptions a try was the idea of getting a real workout that doesn’t involve running. After competing in track in college, I’ve become a bit of a snob when it comes to what “a solid workout” means. But, my experience with track also means that I’m constantly searching for a way to achieve a similar level of fitness without spending over three hours a day on a track.
Thus, I like the idea of the full-body workout championed by barre classes. Muscle tone—especially with core muscles—is achieved by isolating different muscle groups through a series of movements that specifically employ body weight (think lots of push-ups, and exercises of that nature). Marhi’s class employed concepts similar to barre, but more time was devoted to using your own strength as opposed to working at the barre, something I appreciated.
The one aspect of barre classes I tend not to like is the cardio—which is Zumba-esque—as I’ve never felt like I was getting my heart rate up. I’ve since realized that I probably wasn’t working hard enough. And, the way the Body Conceptions class is structured, the dancing at the end was more of a much-needed shakeout after the grueling intensity of engaging muscles that don’t often get worked. I enjoyed ending class like that, as it reminded me of the feeling of jumping in the ocean post-workout, stretching in the water.
After class, Mahri told us that she decided to pursue dance, her true passion, while studying at UCSD/SDSU for her joint doctoral in clinical neurophychology. She later converted her work to a masters degree in psychology, which in effect enables her to better identify with her students. I love that Mahri has never looked back on her decision to follow her dreams, a concept that my sister, who will enter graduate school for teaching in the fall, and I have recently mused about. My sister will come home from her summer job laughing about the contrite reactions she gets when she tells people her future plans. (She thinks people would have a better reaction if she told them she was doing something more academic; or more free spirited, like backpacking through Europe.) But really, it’s all about what you find fulfilling. What else matters?
A cursory glance at Marhi’s website, and the first thing you’ll see is the below:
“Good for the body is the work of the body, good for the soul the work of the soul, and good for either the work of the other.” —Henry David Thoreau. Couldn’t have said it better myself.
Mahri is a part of the FITiST Collective. The concept has roots in New York City, but the East Hampton location, at 5 Railroad Avenue, is its first brick-and-mortar. FITiST Collective operates on the premise that a well-rounded approach to fitness should incorporate a number of different classes, not just one. Various studios share the space, trading time slots (Mahri’s next class will be held on July 26 at 9:40 a.m.) and allowing for customers to curate their workout schedule to incorporate a number of different classes. For more info, visit bodyconceptions.com or fitist.com.