Running Around with Rachel

Today is my four year friendiversary with Rachel Piskin: we met during fashion week in the fall of 2009 at the Rag & Bone show at Cedar Lake.  I was just starting my third year of law school and Rachel had just left her position as a corps member in the New York City Ballet, which she had joined when she was fifteen.  We were both single, both in a period of total transition, and both loved to force the DJ at Chloe 81 to play retro music so we could dance the night away.  It was a match made in heaven.  She was there on my first date with Peter.  She watched as he and I (reluctantly, at first) fell in love.  She helped me move in to our first shared apartment and then celebrated with us when we got engaged and then married.  She was there at the hospital as soon as Jack was born.  And in the meantime, Rachel graduated from NYU, tried her hand at costume design (too much driving around in a mini van and making returns at Century 21), met a guy that I was ecstatic about, and started an amazing fitness studio with her super amazing mom.  I'm also proud to say: I was there on Rachel & Charles' second date, and their third date was Peter's 27th birthday party (I forced her to invite him).  They're getting married next May.  

 

Rachel Piskin, extraordinaire.  

Now that I'm gearing up to start shedding my extra baby weight, I couldn't have a better gal pal than Rachel, who is the fittest girl I know.  I stop by her fitness studio, Chaise 23, whenever I can, though lately just to steal the candies from the candy jar and show off Jack (I've haven't gotten the green light to exercise from my doc yet, ok!).  But I'm in great company: it's been dubbed one of the city's 'hottest workouts' by the Today Show, Departures Magazine, Vanity Fair, Marie Claire and Self.com.  Chaise23 is also expanding this fall into the 92nd Street Y.

Here's the skinny on Rachel, straight from the source:

 

So, which do you prefer, pointe shoes or sneakers?
 
Ha! Pointe shoes are pretty and inspire many fashion trends, but I'd say sneakers. I am obsessed with customizing Nike sneakers.
 
Do you have any workout rituals?
 
Before class I like to listen to my playlist, go through some new moves in my head, and then my favorite part is chatting with my clients before the class begins. 
 
What's your favorite type of workout music?
 
I love love love any remix of an oldies song (ed. note: a fact I know well and love!). We have a DJ that provides us with awesome and inspiring songs. My new favorite is a remix of Great Balls of Fire. Nothing better then throwing in a good old fashioned twist to get those thighs burning. 
 
You spent your life working out for 8 hours a day as a ballerina and now you do the same thing as a fitness instructor.  Are you in better shape now, or were you then?
 
The kind of shape you need to be in as a dancer is very different then what is required for a fitness instrutor. You can only really get in shape to dance 8 plus hours a day by actually rehearsing and performing day in and day out. I look back at that time similar to any elite athlete looking back on training for the olympics. I will never be in that kind of shape again, but that doesn't necessarily mean that I want to be. It was necessary for my career, but it wasn't the best for my body in the long run.  I would say I am mentally and physically in better shape now then I was while I was dancing. I fell stronger, more energized, and my body doesn't ache when I get out of bed like it used to. While I have some residual aches and pains from my years of dancing, I feel more like my age than I ever did while dancing. 
 
What's the best way to stay motivated about working out?
 
I am a firm believer in finding something that you love doing. To stay motivated you need to find an environment you feel supported and comfortable in. You also need to have fun with your workout. You will find every excuses in the book not to workout if you don't find some enjoyment in it. I work very hard to create a warm, non-intimidating environment at Chaise where people can have fun, be themselves, and really change their bodies in the process. 
 
Do you have a favorite snack to eat before working out?
 
Water and a handful of almonds. 
 
Happy friendiversary, Rach!  Many more to come!
 
photo credit: Departures Magazine