Four Essential Winter Workout Tips

Just because it’s cold and snowy outside doesn’t mean that you have change your exercise routine. Here, I’ll share some tips and facts on how to keep your winter fitness fun, safe and effective:

1. Embrace the cold months as an opportunity to mix up your workouts.

On your cardio days, try ice-skating, cross country skiing, snowboarding, even snowmobiling or ice fishing. (Yes, ice fishing!) These activities are fun, challenging and a great reminder that you can still get outside during the winter months. Plus, the novelty offers a great change of pace from regular activities (such as walking, running, cycling, etc.) which helps to improve overall body mechanics, strength and flexibility.

2. It’s not dangerous.

One thing which might surprise many of us is that it’s actually safer to exercise in cold weather than it is to exercise in hot weather. Why? Well, under heat stress our bodies can only handle an increase of up to 5 degrees Celsius in core temperature before we become overheated, fatigued and have to stop. However, under cold stress, our bodies can tolerate a decline of up to 10 degrees Celsius. That’s twice as much!

3. Winter’s metabolic boost.

Cold stress induces a higher exercise oxygen consumption than would occur performing the same exercise in a warmer environment. Increased oxygen consumption translates into a higher caloric expenditure for each bout of a training session. In addition, prolonged cold stress also increases thyroxin production — the thyroid hormone known to increase metabolic rate.

4. Remember scarves, hats and gloves.

Be certain to wear scarves to protect your respiratory tract. Warming the incoming air improves the body’s ability to retain moisture and remain hydrated. Choose a hat or some sort of facial protective gear to provide insulation to the head. And gloves and thick socks are a must until your body’s peripheral circulation (the circulation to the hands and feet) acclimates to the cold weather exposure. This will ensure that you can get started with your trainer much sooner than had you not kept warm on your way to the gym. 

By Mary Gillis

Originally published in Mobile Life Magazine:

Mary Gillis

Mary Gillis has a masters degree in nutrition and exercise physiology and earned her doctorate in applied physiology from Columbia University. She has over 10 years of personal training experience and thoroughly enjoys working one-on-one with clients to help them achieve their greatest fitness goals. Her approach to training is systematic, progressive and individualized. Whether you are looking to gain strength, lose weight, improve your overall health or prepare for a competitive event, Dr. Gillis will devise a plan that is specific to you and your needs.
Mary currently works as a health reporter for Reuters Health News by day. Her written work has also appeared in Trail Runner, Max Sports & Fitness and Mobile Life Magazine. She has given lectures and presentations on her unique approach to health at New York’s Daily News, NYC’s Be Fit Campaign, The American College of Sports Medicine well as Focus Personal Training Institute.

Surviving The Holidays: My Top 10 Party Tricks

This time of year is tough! Every event we attend is packed with alcohol and holiday treats. It’s hard to resist all that sugar even though we know it doesn’t make us feel good. These are my practical, healthy holiday party tricks:

  1. Sip like a Parisian. While I was in France I was amazed by the small wine glasses at all the bistros and cafés. By American standards these wine glasses were tiny. This got me thinking about how the French drink as a compliment to food and savor their small glasses along with a great meal. The enormous Bordeaux glasses that you often see here, are an American creation, and can contribute to over drinking. When possible, drink from a smaller glass while sipping wine .
  2. Fix yourself a small plate. Never, ever hover over the hor d’oeuvers table. It is important that you indulge in your favorite holiday treats. I can’t imagine this time of year without a little peppermint bark or gingerbread cookie. The trick is, grab a small plate or napkin, fill it up with all your fav holiday treats and enjoy.  Hovering over the hor d’oeuvers table just opens the opportunity for you to nibble for hours. Better to indulge, fully enjoy it, and feel satisfied than to nibble constantly.
  3.  Eat dinner before you go. We have all heard this before but it’s true that if you eat a healthy dinner before you go, you will eat less of those mini lobster mac and cheeses than you would if you were really hungry.
  4. Sip champagne with strawberries or cranberries. Cocktails are very high in sugar. The combo of sugar and alcohol is not good for us and can leave us feeling less than stellar the next day. Try a festive glass of champagne with muddled cranberries instead.
  5. Drink red wine rather than white. When enjoying a glass of wine, red wine is by far, the better choice. Red wine contains less sugar than white. Additionally, there are some nutrients and anti-oxidants in red wine that can be beneficial. The caveat is, after one glass the negatives of the alcohol out weigh the positives of the antioxidants.
  6. Eliminate sugary cocktails. Replace cocktails with vodka soda, or the Paleo Margarita recipe below.
  7. Bring your own healthy dish to munch on. Even if the hostess doesn’t ask you to bring anything, consider bringing your own dish. I am gluten intolerant. Friends and co-workers will often try to accommodate, but I have found it is always better to bring my own. I have brought a fun dish to parties making the excuse, “I was dying to try this new recipe and wanted to share it with everyone.” Do this graciously as you don’t want to offend anyone.
  8. Drink alcohol with a meal rather than while around snacky food like chips or dessert. For me, alcohol is like a gateway drug for eating everything in site. Drinking often leads to unhealthy snacking. Since alcohol can act as a poison in our system, our body may be triggering us to eat in order to help absorb the alcohol. Additionally, alcohol can suppress the hormone leptin which signals us when we are full. Keep this in mind and don’t drink on an empty stomach.
  9. Dance! Drink and dance rather than drink and stand around. It will help to burn off the alcohol and you will feel better the next day.
  10. Don’t over commit. Say No. Even the most fun party can feel like a drag if you are exhausted. Choose just a handful of holiday events to attend. Graciously decline the rest. This one is tough because we often allow ourselves to feel guilty for not attending. Decide what will help to alleviate the guilt. For example, send a handwritten note to the host, set a coffee date with that friend after the holiday rush, or send them a holiday gift, etc. Make sure that you make time for the holiday activities you most want to do!

This blog was written by Allison Vernon-Thompson. 



Lauren Ashby

I am a New York City-based Certified Personal Trainer, NPC Nationally-Qualified Figure Competitor, and Figure and Bikini Competition Prep Coach. I started my career at an exclusive boutique gym in Arlington, VA before moving to New York City in 2008.

Since moving to New York, I worked at a large commercial gym but now work as an independent trainer with a broad client base including a Broadway performer, reality TV contestant, college athletes, fitness competitors, post-rehab clients and everybody in between!

I became interested in fitness and weight training after “retiring” from competitive swimming which I did for 11 years.  I became a regular at my gym and decided to make it my career after 10 years in the marketing industry.  I then decided to take my passion to another level when I became an NPC Figure Competitor in 2009. I continue to compete in Figure Competitions and have since taken my passion to a new level by coaching figure and bikini athletes, an elite group of women dedicated to the sport of bodybuilding.   I am constantly researching and looking for new ways to surprise my clients and love to educate, motivate and inspire everyone I work with!

AFPA Certified Personal Trainer
AFPA Certified Trainer of Special Populations
AFPA Nutrition and Wellness Counselor


Lauren Ashby
Aspire Private Fitness
*AFPA Certified Personal Trainer
*AFPA Certified Nutrition and Wellness Coach
*AFPA Certified Trainer of Special Populations
*Competition Prep Coach


Adam Daredia

Empowered by Adam was created with a vision in mind: To truly excel in life, you have to incorporate the determination of a champion, along with the fighting spirit, mental and physical stamina and winning attitude necessary.
These virtues make us empowered as we strive for a higher a quality of life, and to go above and beyond daily struggles to achieve what we all set out to do!
Empowered by Adam brings forth these qualities by incorporating physical exercise, sports psychology, and a scientific approach to the process.

Empowered by Adam‘s creator, Adam Daredia, has a unique style of coaching fitness. He has a second-degree black belt in Olympic Tae-Kwon-Do and has five years of experience competing in World Tae-Kwon-Do Federation. He is also a certified specialist from the National Strength & Conditioning Association.


For Empowered by Adam, Adam created a unique mind and body training system. A powerful blend of Martial Art-kicks, metabolic conditioning, strengthening, and cardiovascular exercise mixes with a sexy twist of core fitness to guarantee a fun and effective workout. His method of coaching is a foolproof way of achieving your fitness goals.



Guillermo Dominguez

I’m 27 years old, born and raised in NY. 
Fitness became a passion of mine at the early age of 6 when I wrestled for a kid league, later on I went on to wrestle at high school and collegiate level.
I’m very competitive and love improving both professionally and personally! 
I’m a big baseball fan, diehard Mets fan, not a Yankee hater, the Yankees are my second favorite team.
My favorite cheat-meal is Pizza!
Fun fact about me I was homeschooled until age 14, attended High School in Long Island, then went to college at Nebraska, and lived there for 5 years.

Education: university of Nebraska Major: Physiology and Sports Nutrition 2008-2012

ISSA Certified Fitness Trainer, RCK Kettlebbell 1&2, Strong First L 1, Pre-Post Natal through NASM, Precision Nutrition L 1, Animal Flow

Work experience:
-Athletic trainer at the university 2010-2012
-Personal Training 2009-Present (8 years)
@ Equinox (July 2012- January 2016)

Functional training, injury prehab and rehab, powerlifting, body weight training, bodybuilding.

Jessica Frith

  Jessica began her personal training career in 2007 at Equinox Fitness.  Over the years she acquired several fitness certifications while developing an interest in working with pre/post natal clients and runners.  She holds a BA in Psychosocial Health Studies from The City University of New York’s individualized study program.  This degree allowed her to combine her love of sociology, psychology and public health, with a particular focus on health behaviors.

Jessica is also a Certified Professional Life Coach and enjoys helping clients recognize and take meaningful action toward their goals.

In her spare time she enjoys reading, improv comedy, volunteering and long walks with her dog.

Henry Medina

Henry is a knowledgeable personal trainer, with the emphasis on “personal”. He prides himself on collaborating with his clients to create individualized exercise programs, based on their needs, goals, abilities, and anatomy. Henry listens to each client and then combines that information with his expertise to give the client what he or she wants and needs. Clients stay with Henry because he encourages them with his energy and motivation. He creates an environment that whispers, “Trust me, I know you can do it”, and simultaneously screams, “Come on, you can do it. Give me another one.” 

Henry has followed in his father’s footsteps as a competitive powerlifter. He has won several WNPF NYS championships and a Collegiate National Powerlifting championship. As a former competitive WNPF powerlifter and NPC bodybuilder, Henry has a wealth of knowledge and experience in achieving strength and muscular definition.  His passion is educating his clients and sharing this knowledge, empowering them to learn while getting lean and mean.

CERTIFICATIONS: AAPTE CPT-EFS Academy of Applied Personal Training Education, NCAA-Nationally Accredited, CPR/AED Certified

Scott Mitsiell

Scott knows what it’s like being fat, weak, and slow. As a teenager, Scott played sports such as basketball, baseball, and football. He was always a step behind, and could not keep up with the other athletes. Aspiring to become a better athlete, he began working with a coach to improve performance. From there Scott was hooked. He spent hours a day researching the body, and how to develop it into the best machine possible.

His passion began to turn into a career when he attended school studying exercise science. While in school he had the opportunity to intern with some of the greatest coaches in the country. He graduated with his Bachelor’s degree in exercise science, and has spent the last few years adding many of the top fitness certifications (see below).

Scott’s hard work and passion to make himself a better athlete has helped him become one of the most qualified trainers in NYC. His clients now reap the benefits of his self-indulgence. He takes pride in helping others through the same process he experienced. He has coached people of all ages and exercise levels from professional athletes, CEO’s, to children and the elderly. In a field that is ever-changing, he is always staying up to date with current exercise science research proven to yield the most efficient results. His energy, knowledge, and passion to make people better brings a positive training environment during every session. When he’s not in the gym, you may find him at your local burger joint chowing down on a juicy burger while watching a game.


B.S. Exercise Physiology

ACSM Certified Exercise Physiologist (EP-C)

NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS)

Functional Movement Systems lvl 2 Certified (FMS)

Strongfirst Russian Kettlebell Certified (SFG)

Precision Nutrition Coach (PN)

Triggerpoint Certified

Pre/Post Natal Certified


Bulgarian Bags

Athletic Republic Certified


Jonathan Mullins

   A native of Columbia, SC Jonathan grew up in a single parent household where his mother of three boys and two beautiful little girls raised them literally out of her bed. Jon had big dreams of being in the entertainment business and grew up always wanting to be a success for his mother so he could build her a dream house.

He then went to the military where he earned the name US Marine in 2001. After basic training where he broke records doing 100 push ups in one minute, 27 pull ups non stop, and an extremely fast 5 minute mile. He then began his first year of college.  After his Marine corps influence he became heavily involved in fitness where he worked as a personal trainer under the care and supervision of Tim French of Health Advantage. (Columbia, SC)

Early in 2006, he moved to the city of dreams, New York City. There he became officially certified as a personal trainer training at different facilities throughout his career. With the help and guidance of CEC’s (Continuing Education Courses) he has learned an extensive amount of skills and techniques including (SMR) (Self-Myofascial Release), to Muay Thai Kickboxing to enable his training to be fun motivational and hardcore!  He debuted in his first ever infomercial for the Ab Coaster that aired in the United Kingdom.

Excited about new opportunities and job offers, Jonathan very soon started to make a name for himself.  He also had an opportunity to shoot with Adidas (King of the bounce) (Sports Center, NYC) Almost immediately, he was flown to LA to shoot with Dodge.  Shocked and inspired by the opportunity, the young trainer/actor/music producer  saw a bright future before him with promises of more exciting things to come.

You Don’t Have to Be a Super Parent To Be A Healthy One

Mamas and Papas, you have my respect! Juggling life with babies seems like an undertaking designed for the bravest of folks. Add healthy living to the mix and it can be down right intimidating. Over the past 10 years I have worked with many Moms and the common thread between these women is a deep desire to get healthy and raise a healthy family. However, in a world where the pressure is on to be constantly plugged in and on the go, tackling ways to incorporate healthy habits can be overwhelming to say the least. In my experience with various parents, there seems to be consistent angst surrounding similar issues such as family dinners, having time for workouts, and getting kids to eat veggies. I have compiled this list of tips that have helped my Mommy clients. I hope that it will be of value to you as well. Do you have any tips for busy parents? I would love to hear from you in the comments below.

1. Fun meals! I commonly hear that women are preparing multiple meals every night for dinner because baby, older bro, daddy and mama all have different tastes! Meal time becomes a production as parents tries to make something that everyone will eat. “Fun meals” can be a solution to this. Meals such as taco night, salad night, Buddha bowl night, and pizza night,  are fun for kids. You can do a few of them in the same week by pre-chopping tomatoes, peppers, onions, sautéed greens, mushrooms, or whatever veggies your kids like. Put each veggie in a separate container in the fridge. Then for each theme night simply change the base (i.e. taco shell, brown rice, salad greens)  and allow each family member to build their own dish. For example, start with taco night and have each family member stuff their own taco shell then the next night have Buddha bowl night and cook one pot of brown rice or shirataki noodles. Every kid gets their own bowl of rice or noodles and then can add the veggies they like. You can also include store bought sauces, salsa, guacamole, fun salad toppers like nut mixes, or even various herbs and spices. Think creatively about the base items as well; sweet potatoes, quinoa, or zucchini ribbons also make a fun base. Obviously, all of this depends on the pickiness of the child but its a great way to make it personalized with out having to make a different meal for everyone.

2. Look into grocery delivery services such as Fresh Direct. Grocery shopping is a major time sucker. These companies make it easy to create shopping lists and reorder from previous orders. The initial set up can take up to 15 minutes, but after the first time, you are only a few clicks away from having your family’s favorite items at your door step. Also, consider having a personal assistant, baby sitter, or housekeeper to assist with grocery shopping and picking up speciality items from the health food store. Company’s like Task Rabbit can be used on an as-needed bases.

3. Smoothies are fast and easy. Smoothies are a great option for breakfast or snacks.You can hide tons of veggies from the kids and the clean up is fast compared to other meals.  Frozen veggies and fruits work great! Keep frozen produce stocked in your freezer for easy access on busy days.

4. Batch cooking is helpful. Set aside an hour or two one day out of the week and make several things such as frittatas, soups, hard boiled eggs, sautéed veggies, etc. These things can be easily reheated later or added to tops of mixed greens for easy salads. I recruit my husband to help me. We finish batch cooking in no time!

5. Exercise for only 5 minutes. Too busy to make it to the gym? No problem, try doing interval training for only 5-10 minutes every day. Intervals can be a great alternative to a long 45 minute workouts. Intervals have been proven to be more effective than long, steady-state cardio and you can squeeze them into your schedule much easier.

6. Play games. No need to carve out hours of time for workouts. Just be active with your family. Playing games with the kiddos like tag, hide and seek, duck duck goose, football, baseball, catch, etc. ensure that you are running around while they are. This is a great way to squeeze in exercise.

7. Consider doing a meal swap. Doing a meal swap with several other families that also want to eat healthy can save time. For example, you can coordinate with two other moms for a once a week meal exchange. Each mom will cook only one meal but with enough portions for all the families in the swap. This ensures that three dinners are taken care of during the week but each mom only cooked once. This is great to do with other families whose kids go to the same school as your kids because there is a convenient time to exchange meals during drop off and pick up.

By Allison Vernon-Thompson

What Is Functional Fitness Training?

More and more people are signing up to gyms these days, but worryingly a lot of those people seem to believe that the quality of the gym they join depends more on the definition of the TV screens in the treadmills than any definition their torso might see from training correctly. It seems that in the Fitness and Leisure industry, far too much emphasis is being placed on the leisure rather than the fitness… but fortunately there is another option for those who truly want to improve, and more and more people are realising this: enter Functional Fitness Training.

Now there are many Internet articles and threads that simply debate the definition of functional fitness training… this is not one of them. I understand that any training can be classed as functional depending on what you’re training for. For example if you’re job description includes a need to have to largest biceps in the world then yes, 2 hours of bicep curls a day could be classed as functional training.

The goal here is not to argue the vagueness of the term, but to highlight the benefits, so for the purpose of this article functional fitness training will refer to an exercise or group of exercises that mimic, adapt and allow the improved performance of life’s daily tasks for the majority of people, with a reserve left for individual goals.

Here a goal could be, and usually is, to improve quality of life outside the gym; that is to have an increased capacity for recreation and play, whether this be a grandmother having fun with her grandchildren, or a teenager playing football.

Life’s daily tasks include movement in the 6 degrees of freedom, namely back/forward, up/down, left/right, roll, pitch, and yaw. Or more specifically to human movement, push/pull, jump/squat, step, twist, and bend. So functional training is training that seeks to improve as many of these movements as possible through one or a series of exercises. So consider functional fitness training defined… for this article at least!

So, if there exists functional fitness training, does this mean some training is un-functional? The answer to this is a definite yes…

Much of what goes on in gyms today is impossible to recreate outside of that environment. Functional fitness training allows you to develop strength in a controlled environment and then apply it to everyday life outside of that controlled environment.

Many favorable improvements gained from functional fitness training are down to the amount of ‘fitness bases’ covered in any one session. Indeed in one movement you could be improving strength, coordination, balance, agility, accuracy, flexibility, endurance and stamina. There are very few activities that can produce an improvement in both neurological fitness (balance, coordination, agility, accuracy) and physical skills (strength, flexibility, endurance, stamina). This is achieved by using a large number of the body’s joints and muscles at once, training your body as one unit… (Your body was designed to be used like this!)

Training your muscles to work together this way means more focus is on training movements rather than isolating individual muscles. Anytime you’re body is moving rather than remaining stationary you rely on dynamic balance as opposed to static balance, and dynamic balance requires a great deal of core stability amongst other things. Functional fitness training will only seek to further improve core stability and strength, which has the knock-on effect of improving most aspects of your moving life, in particular, improved intra-abdominal pressure, posture, and injury prevention. So, functional fitness training boasts numerous physiological benefits, but there is more to it than this…

One of the most important aspects of functional fitness training is that it can be scaled to suit anybody’s level of ability. Intensity, duration, and resistance can be altered on all of the movements trained to match the individual levels of fitness and allow everyone, and anyone to get the most out of their training. On top of this, functional fitness training is constantly varied and is very often different every session, a trait that should be absolutely necessary in any fitness plan or schedule. The ability to not get bored with your training is a luxury that very few people training in conventional gyms have.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, is the return from your exercise investment that you get from functional fitness training. Your exercise investment includes the money you spend (on your gym membership, kit, nutrition, and travel) and the time/effort you put into your training. As alluded to earlier, for most people using conventional gyms the value is more in the luxuries and less in the fitness aspects, where as, when it comes to functional fitness training, the return you get is the increase in your capacity to enjoy your recreations and play having reached your goals. In short, it gives you an increased work capacity over all fitness domains, which means in any given time period you can do more of whatever it is you want to do. Essentially, functional fitness training is real fitness training!

Article Source:

Allison Vernon-Thompson

Allison Vernon-Thompson of is a New York State Board certified Health Coach, Certified Personal Trainer, accredited Pilates Mat instructor, and a graduate of Institute of Integrative Nutrition. Allison, as a WNBF Figure Pro, has appeared on the cover of Natural Body Building and Fitness magazine. She can also be seen in the pages of other national magazines and websites including Racked NYC, Fitness, NBC, and Best Body Magazine. She has had the honor of appearing as a fitness instructor on CNN Live, Good Morning America, and at Whole Foods’ Immersion Retreats around the country. She graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Dance Performance from Columbia College, South Carolina with an emphasis in kinesiology.
Cheers to your health and happiness!

Allison Vernon-Thompson, HHC, AADP


Frederick Thompson

Frederick Thompson has been helping others to optimize their health, appearance, and performance since 1996. His interest in the discipline burgeoned as a teen after he earned a Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do. Throughout college, Frederick furthered his fitness regimen as a gymnast, and into his early 40s as a competitive bodybuilder.

Today, at 54, his dedication to health, fitness, nutrition and optimum human performance is as passionate as ever, inspiring him to continue to study and research for personal growth. He is an active member of such organizations as the American Association of Clinical Chemist, the Institute for Functional Medicine and the New York Academy of Science.

Frederick uses his wealth of experience and varied education to provide clients with the most scientifically sound training available. His mandate: to develop fitness solutions for customers that provide unparalleled results in the areas of health, appearance, and performance—based on a foundation of proven training, nutrition, and recovery strategies.

Born and raised in New York City, Frederick graduated from the Bronx High School of Science and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Syracuse University. His relevant experience includes working as a Clinical Chemist at Wilford Hall Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas, as well as a Food/Special Projects Chemist for Pace Foods, Inc. (a division of the Campbell Soup Co.).

After spending much of his professional career in the laboratories of hospitals, research facilities, and corporations, he decided 18 years ago to leave the sterility of the labs and pursue his passion in Health & Fitness; obtaining his personal training certification from the International Sports Science Association.
Contact him at :


Zach Yurcisin

Zach Yurcisin has been a Certified Personal Trainer for 10 years. Starting his career at Equinox in New York City, Zach has developed his craft of servicing all types of clients with different needs. He enjoys helping others build strength and confidence by creating specific exercise programs. His knowledge base of exercise science and attention to detail allows Zach to ensure his clients’ goals are achieved properly and safely. His wide range of experience in fitness spans a broad spectrum from running multiple half marathons to using a variety of tools to build strength. In addition, Zach loves helping his clients better manage other important aspects of their health. His value-added coaching on improving diet, recovery and stress management helps Zach stand out in a fast-growing industry. Zach is certified by the National Strength and Conditioning Association. When he is not training, Zach spends his time with his wife and two young daughters.


Tribeca Health & Fitness is 14,000 sq. feet of no nonsense space. We have some of the best strength equipment in the city and plenty of it. That is why we attract some of the best independent trainers in the city. Our policy is pretty simple too, all independent trainers need their certification and current insurance. It’s as simple as that. Our rate is $27 for non-member clients and $22 for clients who decide to join. We also have a 1,200 sq foot studio that can be used when there are no classes scheduled. Stop by and take a look at a great space that would definitely enhance your clients results.  212-732-9466