The Fit Set

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We spent a day at Pro­pel Co:Labs work­ing out with top celeb fit­ness train­ers.

A day in the life of Team Ath­leisure Mag can be in the stu­dio for a ses­sion, on set for a shoot, and check­ing out new brands/prod­ucts com­ing to mar­ket. Ear­lier this month we spent the day at Pro­pel Co:Labs Fit­ness Fes­ti­val here in NYC at the Sea­port Dis­trict (the next stop is Chicago on Aug. 11th) for an en­tire day of work­outs, ses­sions and we took some time to chat with celebrity fit­ness train­ers and per­son­al­i­ties in be­tween work­outs. ATH­LEISURE MAG: We’ve en­joyed see­ing you over the past two sea­sons on E! Re­venge Body with Khloe Kar­dashian – how did you get in­volved in that show?

HARLEY PASTERNAK: I have been good friends with Kanye for about 15 years. So I’m in­her­ited into the fam­ily. I’m good friends with Kim and Kanye, and with Kris, Khloe and the whole fam­ily. So when they were do­ing the show, Khloe reached out – I said let’s go!

AM: How long have you been with Pro­pel and what was it that made you want to con­nect with the brand?

HP: That’s a good ques­tion. My back­ground was orig­i­nally in per­for­mance nutri­tion so I ran the per­for­mance lab/ nutri­tion lab for the mil­i­tary for a num­ber of years and most of the in­for­ma­tion on per­for­mance – a lot of it came from years ago from the Ga­torade Sports Sci­ence In­sti­tute. That was the go to place for us as sci­en­tists to get our in­for­ma­tion to use with the sol­diers. So the im­por­tance of func­tional foods and func­tional bev­er­ages has al­ways been a big part of what I do and I re­ally have had an is­sue with some­times the su­gar con­tent of some of these bev­er­ages, and I met the Pro­pel team through some mu­tual friends and I learned more about what Pro­pel was do­ing. It remided me so much of what Ga­torade did back in the day and es­tab­lish­ing it­self as the de­fin­i­tive sports per­for­mance in­for­ma­tion source. Pro­pel has re­ally done the same with fit­ness and it’s not about the bev­er­age, it’s about the life­style, the net­work­ing, the fit­ness com­mu­nity shar­ing with one an­other and cel­e­brat­ing to­gether. Then they started ex­plain­ing to me about Pro­pel Co:Labs and it was re­ally about the fu­ture and the present. I got so ex­cited that I be­came a ter­ri­ble ne­go­tia­tor be­cause I said, “I’m in”.

The Co:Labs have been re­ally great. As a fit­ness pro­fes­sional, it's of­ten very in­di­vid­ual and al­most a very lonely ex­peri-

ence. Ev­ery­one is so com­pet­i­tive with one an­other – so com­pet­i­tive but they have cre­ated these en­vi­ron­ments where peo­ple are shar­ing ideas and thoughts and cel­e­brat­ing mov­ing to­gether. They're bring­ing in pop stars and giv­ing the due and pro­fes­sional at­ten­tion to the fit­ness in­dus­try that most brands haven’t even come close to. ATH­LEISURE MAG: Gun­nar, can you tell us about your back­ground?

GUN­NAR PETER­SON: I’ve been a per­sonal trainer in Beverly Hills for 29 years. I started work­ing with the LA Lak­ers last year as the Di­rec­tor of Strength and En­durance and am repris­ing my role this year – should be a new chal­lenge and a lot of fun. And I’ve been work­ing with Pro­pel for a num­ber of years be­cause I think that they do it bet­ter than any­body in bring­ing fit­ness and sports to­gether by col­lab­o­rat­ing ver­sus all the peo­ple that kind of horde in­for­ma­tion and don’t share and feel that their way is bet­ter. I think that Pro­pel opens it up and makes it the way that it should be.

AM: What’s your method or the way that you like to work and train peo­ple?

GP: I do dif­fer­ent work­outs with peo­ple

be­cause ev­ery­one is dif­fer­ent as they have dif­fer­ent goals, per­cep­tions weak­nesses, in­jury his­to­ries, likes and dis­likes – although that doesn’t play that much of a part. I'm strength based and I do a lot of car­dio in­ter­vals to it, move­com­pre­ment, mo­bil­ity etc it’s pretty hen­sive. The one group that we don’t cater to or get asked to do some­thing is body builders or those that are look­ing to put mass on – that’s not what we do.

AM: A lot of our read­ers loved see­ing you in Khloe Kar­dashian’s Re­venge Body on E! and wanted to know how you got in­volved in that!

GP: Well I’ve known Kris and the clan – I’ve known those guys for 20 years. I worked with Kris and Kim so when Khloe came to me to make a big change in her life, we got af­ter it. She puts the work in like any ath­lete that I have worked with and she had her mo­ment. She made huge changes into her body and I wrote the pas­sage on fit­ness in her book and she cre­ated the show and asked me to be on it and there was no way that I was go­ing to miss out on that op­por­tu­nity to share a small part of what she did with other peo­ple and to put it out there for ev­ery­one to see. I mean I have had text mes­sages from a lot of peo­ple that have had huge takeaways from this.

AM: So how ex­cited are you to be here to­day for this event?

GP: This is ter­rific. I have done a num­ber of these with Pro­pel and they have ex­ceeded ex­pec­ta­tions and they keep go­ing above and be­yond. I mean, ev­ery venue is great and this one with the Brook­lyn Bridge in the back­ground and this gi­ant rooftop with no space con­straints – this is go­ing to be a great day to­day! ATH­LEISURE MAG: Rachel aka Yoga Girl, tell us about what you're do­ing at the Pro­pel Co:Labs Fit­ness Fes­ti­val.

YOGA GIRL: I just taught a class on a rooftop over­look­ing the Brook­lyn Bridge. It’s kind of in­sane. We have 300-400 peo­ple here, and it’s been su­per, su­per fun. I taught a class [at Pro­pel Co:Labs Fit­ness Fes­ti­val] in L.A. and then taught a class here, and it’s been so com­mu­nity build­ing and so great.

AM: What is the best way to get started in yoga prac­tice?

YG: I al­ways give the rec­om­men­da­tion to go find a stu­dio and go take an ac­tual class. There’s so many things you can do on­line. There’s YouTube and there’s on­line yoga. But, hav­ing a teacher who you can ask ques­tions to, es­pe­cially if you’re a be­gin­ner, is great so you can learn the poses cor­rectly and have some­one to align you if you need help. It’s good to start off with a teacher and then tran­si­tion a lit­tle bit more to home.

AM: What are sev­eral yoga pos­tures you would rec­om­mend for stress re­lief?

YG: Any­thing for­ward fold­ing or for­ward bend­ing, es­pe­cially seated, is re­ally nur­tur­ing. Legs up the wall pose is a su­per dis­tress­ing pose. A for­ward bend, legs up the wall, child’s pose and reclined bound an­gle are good poses.

AM: How do you main­tain bal­ance with your busy sched­ule?

YG: I try to find pock­ets of rest in my day. If I have a re­ally busy day full of meet­ings and things, I’ll make sure that I have a whole hour to eat lunch and not do mul­ti­ple things at the same time all day. I’ll take a bath with my baby in the morn­ing, al­ways. I keep that a su­per se­ri­ous thing, and I rest in be­tween all the hec­tic stuff. And then I find it’s easy to keep the en­ergy up all day. ATH­LEISURE MAG: Can you tell us what Akin’s Army is? AKIN AKMAN: Well Akin’s Army is a mind­set re­ally. I like to say that it’s a higher stan­dard with ev­ery­one that trains with me. The mind­set is con­stant process. It’s a work­out ob­vi­ously but in­tended ini­tially to tap into the ath­letes that didn’t have kind of train­ing any­more. But then even­tu­ally it be­came more of a mind­set.

AM: Can you tell us a lit­tle more about your fit­ness back­ground?

AA: I grew up play­ing ten­nis and I went to IMG Academy which was known as Bol­let­tieri when I went there at age 7. It was ev­ery­day ex­cept for Sun­days which I had off haha. But now I train all day ev­ery­day – 7 days a week. So I started there and I got hurt around 16/17 and I was al­ready coach­ing ten­nis at the time there too and was look­ing at play­ing pro and then when I got in­jured, I was out for a year and then in that time, I de­cided to go to col­lege in­stead of try­ing to play tour­na­ments. I thought that I would just go back to that when I fully healed. And then, it

was tough to heal and when I came back and I was coach­ing at IMG, at 18, but I got hurt on my right wrist with bruis­ing of the bone – so I moved on from play­ing ten­nis as much and started coach­ing. But it took me awhile be­fore I started mak­ing coach­ing my ev­ery­thing.

I started coach­ing at Crunch Fit­ness in South Beach first in 2009. I was al­ready teach­ing ten­nis at Flamingo Park in South Beach as well. Then I moved to NYC at the end of 2009/2010 and started teach­ing at Crunch here and then went onto SoulCy­cle in 2012 and then I re­ally made it my ev­ery­thing and started teach­ing 40 classes a week.

AM: We have a num­ber of friends who swear by your SoulCy­cle classes. How did you get con­nected with Pro­pel and how did you get con­nected to Pro­pel Co:Labs?

AA: Now you have to come! For Pro­pel, I did a boot­camp with them awhile back through my sis­ter who had a con­nec­tion. We did a roofdeck boot­camp around Chelsea – I don’t even re­mem­ber the build­ing! I met some of the head peo­ple that were putting this kind of a thing to­gether – it was amaz­ing and so much fun! Then we didn’t do any­thing un­til this year when they asked me to come back and we did LA and this – it’s been in­cred­i­ble!

AM: What are you do­ing to­day as we know you’re on the sched­ule of events?

AA: My class to­day is again, it’s a full body work­out. The way that I teach, it’s tough but you do as much as you can and it’s more about the per­spec­tive and the ap­proach that you come to with it. Stay­ing pos­i­tive and be­ing in that mind­set. I try to keep the peo­ple hyped up and just full of en­ergy and to do what­ever they can and to give ev­ery­thing that they have got! That’s the point of what to­day is about!

ATH­LEISURE MAG: You train a num­ber of celebs and have been on a num­ber of tours! Can you give us a quick run­down on your back­ground?

NI­COLE WINHOFFER: I stud­ied Ki­ne­si­ol­ogy, Alexan­der Tech­nique, col­lu­sive body, Eastern Phi­los­o­phy of well be­ing and af­ter that, I went on tour with Madonna and started train­ing her dancers. She had an au­di­tion af­ter I met her at that, she asked me to be her trainer full time and I worked with her for 5 years and I was the head trainer on her MDNA World Tour and her Sticky and Sweet World Tour, and then af­ter those tours, I started teach­ing un­der­ground classes in NY in the base­ment of my apart­ment build­ing in 2013 and we moved to the Stan­dard Ho­tel on the 3rd floor of the High­line and I started to train train­ers un­der me. I signed with Adi­das by Stella McCart­ney as the first Global Brand Am­bas­sador in 2014 and I part­nered with Pro­pel for the first time in 2016 when they did their first fes­ti­val. Now we’re on our 3rd year and it has been such a great part­ner­ship!

AM: We saw you on Re­venge Body with Khloe Kar­dashian – what was the process like for you be­ing on that show and what have you got­ten from be­ing a part of it?

NW: They found me on In­sta­gram! The cast­ing di­rec­tor told me that my moves were cool and dif­fer­ent and how I en­com­pass eastern move­ment and dance. So I flew to LA for the au­di­tion and got the job. I loved that the show took my mes­sage (which I train a lot of A-List ac­tors and ac­tresses, fash­ion de­sign­ers and wealthy/af­flu­ent men and women) to bring my knowl­edge to peo­ple across all de­mo­graph­ics across Amer­ica and to be able to give them re­sults and to in­still in them that they have the power in them to achieve what they want. I re­ally liked that process of be­ing able to work with peo­ple in that way with those that didn’t re­ally think that it was pos­si­ble and were never felt to be­lieve that way.

AM: How cool was it to be able to do your ses­sion at Pro­pel Co:Labs in LA with Lu­dacris per­form­ing on stage with you?

NW: It was amaz­ing! I call my­self a Fit­ness Artist be­cause I be­lieve in self ex­pres­sion and mu­sic and mov­ing your body as there is no cor­rect way. And when Pro­pel told me that the artist that I was go­ing to share the stage with was go­ing to be Lu­dacris, I thought – wow! It was so ex­cit­ing and amaz­ing. We worked with the Lu­dacris team for 6 weeks to fig­ure out the playlist, tim­ing, and they were so great and we had a sound­check and the Pro­pel team was so sup­port­ive. There were a lot of fun mo­ments – there was one mo­ment on stage where I grabbed the Pro­pel bot­tle and like landed on a split in the floor and Lu­dacris looked around like, “what is hap­pen­ing” and I was like “yeah that’s right – this is hap­pen­ing right now”. The crowd loved it be­cause they were all sweat­ing and they didn’t feel like a work out be­cause it was so much fun!

AM: So what is the NW method?

NW: The NW Method is a 55 minute ex­pe­ri­ence that I take you through in or­der to free your spirit and to move deeper into your body and ac­cen­tu­ate your curves. It’s a type of so­matic train­ing – there’s breath work, kun­dalini and it’s a bit more phys­i­cal ex­er­tion like phys­i­cal med­i­ta­tion – 20 songs that I match up the BPMs and I play songs that wake up your in­ter­nal or­gans. Then it moves peo­ple past their brains to their bod­ies

so they can feel them­selves and move into their per­sonal truth.

AM: Why do you like work­ing with Pro­pel?

NW: They are a col­lab­o­ra­tive brand, they lis­ten to my ideas, they sup­port my ideas and they are al­ways look­ing to stand be­hind my­self and the other artists that they have. Their in­no­va­tion and will­ing­ness to try some­thing new is amaz­ing. The first Pro­pel fes­ti­val was 3 years ago in LA and it was re­ally dif­fer­ent be­cause it was the first time that dif­fer­ent fit­ness peo­ple came to­gether and they pro­vided this great ex­pe­ri­ence. The last thing is mu­sic – they did a song with Jessie J. last year and the first year they did this song that in­cor­po­rated a mu­sic fes­ti­val and I built my brand around mu­sic. They just re­ally sup­port mu­sic in gen­eral and it makes it re­ally easy for me to work with them.

AM: We love the body­suits and the cool leg­wear that you have – what are your fa­vorite fit­ness items that you love wear­ing?

NW: Oooo I’m a dancer so I love wear­ing Capezio and Dan­skin. I have friends that are seam­stresses and they make me per­sonal out­fits so that’s al­ways fun. I love my uni­tards and wear­ing bathing suits and any­thing that’s just not too fit­nessy.

AM: You had this re­ally cool look on your In­sta­gram that was like chaps and a bikini bot­tom and em­bel­lished but it looked very cool!

NW: Yeah, yeah, yeah – that was from Pa­tri­cia Field for the Pro­pel fes­ti­val. My friend who is a stylist came over and he sent them over for me to try, but they were way too heavy for me to dance in them haha!

AM: How do you give of your time?

NW: I am part of Girls Inc. which sup­ports young girls in ur­ban mar­kets that don't have ac­cess to dance so I teach with them on tour and lo­cally. I work with this group called Core En­er­get­ics which is a type of cog­ni­tive ther­apy and I work with some men­tal pa­tients that don’t have things that healthy hu­mans have through dance and time. I also vol­un­teer once a week at an el­derly hos­pi­tal jut spend­ing time, de­liv­er­ing food and play­ing games.

AM: Since mu­sic is so im­por­tant to you and is so in­te­gral to your brand. What’s on your playlist right now?

NW: Well J Cole for sure – he’s my fa­vorite he has a song called, Kevin’s Heart, I just down­loaded the Carter’s al­bum and I went ape shit! I love Ri­hanna – Needed Me, Ciara – Over­dose, Dis­clo­sure's Latch fea­tur­ing Sam Smith, those are my faves right now! ATH­LEISURE MAG: We're fans of Iconapop as it's on a few of our playlists. You guys have a new al­bum that you are work­ing on – is there any­thing that you can tell us about that would be amaz­ing!

CARO­LINE HJELT: We’ve been writ­ing on this al­bum for quite a long time and we were just talk­ing about it the other day say­ing, “how could it have taken us this long?” It’s just be­cause we’re so bad at say­ing no to stuff! Like we love what we do and when we get fun things – we’re like, let’s squeeze it in and then we be­gin to go tour­ing again. So it’s been tak­ing a long time but we’re al­most there and it feels amaz­ing. I would say that I’m just as ex­cited about this al­bum as I am on the first one. It feels like when you're born. We've been work­ing

on it for so long and shar­ing sit­u­a­tions and we’re very proud of it.

AM: That’s so ex­cit­ing and your faces re­ally show how much you’re pumped for this. Is there a drop date.

AINO JAWO: We don’t have a date, but the al­bum will be done at the end of this year. It will be out ear­lier next year.

AM: So are you guys do­ing fes­ti­vals right now?

AJ: Yes we’re do­ing a lot of fes­ti­vals in Europe and a cou­ple of shows as well here in the states. I think this is the last one here right?

CH: Yeah and then we move onto Europe.

AM: Did the Cop­pen­hagen fes­ti­val al­ready hap­pen – Soleima who is also on Big Beat was telling us about it.

CH: Oh yes, you're talk­ing about Roskilde.

AM: Yes!

AJ: Yes Rosklide, we did that last year it was so AMAZ­ING! We have big shows all over the place.

CH: It’s a lot of trav­el­ing but we love that!

AJ: We also just got a house in LA where we will have our stu­dio in there as well.

AM: Do you guys also live to­gether?


AM: How cute is that?

AJ: It’s a big house so you get your space and we’re go­ing to build ev­ery­thing – from a fit­ness cen­ter to a stu­dio.

CH: So we’ll never have to leave and you’ll never see us again! But we’ll have ev­ery­thing that we’ll need haha.

AM: It’s like a glam com­pound – love it. So

what work­outs do you guys typ­i­cally do or what are you build­ing into your home to do?

CH: Well we bought our first thing – the As­sault Bike, the first one an all retro one! It’s great for us to have all of those things. I think we’re also plan­ning on putting in a mat so we can do dif­fer­ent kinds of work­outs.

AJ: Yeah like yoga and my boyfriend is our per­sonal trainer – so he is tak­ing care of all the lift­ing weights stuff there.

CH: We also love work­ing out­side so this gym will be out­side. We spend so much time in our studios so it’s great to get that fresh air and to hang out with your friends out­side. Mean­while, we’re work­ing out. We also love work­ing out to­gether and like some­times you have a longer time and other times your sched­ule is crazy so it’s im­por­tant to get it in when you can.

AJ: I like cir­cuit train­ing and that’s a good way to get strong with dif­fer­ent types. We al­ways say lift weights with car­dio as a lot of women don’t lift weights and that’s stupid.

CH: Yeah and also you re­al­ize that it’s a thing that you slowly and slowly get bet­ter and that’s when you feel your body start to change. Your pos­ture, you have so much more in your mus­cles.

AM: So how ex­cited are you guys to be here to­day with Pro­pel Co:Labs – how did that hap­pen?

CH: I think that they reached out to us and we got su­per ex­cited be­cause we do work out so much and that’s a huge part of who we are and for us it’s im­por­tant for us to jump on stage for 1.5 – 2 hours and not gasp for breath! We want to de­liver to our fans and be in re­ally good shape and that’s why we were so happy to be a part of this.

AJ: I think that a lot of times, we do a lot of par­ties and peo­ple see us do shots on stage, but that's just a por­tion of what we

do. There is an­other part!

CH: Yes, it’s just a part as we’re healthy and a lot of our fans say that they work out to our mu­sic. It lets them get over the hump and take their work­out to the next level.

AJ: When you’re at the gym it just gives you that en­ergy to say – yes! Some­times I’m at the gym and I’m like “oh my gosh” this is us and I get a lit­tle em­bar­rassed and then I sing along haha.

AM: What keeps you guys in­spired when you’re mak­ing your mu­sic?

CH: I think trav­el­ing, hang­ing out with our friends which is so im­por­tant to us but also what we’re try­ing to do right now is that ev­ery place we go to, we say what can we do here – what can we see? We re­ally want to work on what we can see and to en­joy, ex­pe­ri­enc­ing etc. You can travel all over the world and just see a ho­tel room. But when you can go and taste the food that is spe­cial to that place or to meet the peo­ple from that re­gion – that is re­ally in­spir­ing.

AJ: Then I feel like some­times you need to get bored to like let things sink in. So take a lit­tle pause, get bored and then say hmm this is what I want to write. It works very well for us.

AM: Love that, it’s kind of like our be­lief in dis­con­nect­ing to con­nect. So when you guys aren’t work­ing, how do you re­lax and take time for your­self.

AJ: Mmmm Na­ture

CH: Yeah! It’s one of those things that’s so easy and some­times you need a cou­ple of days to say ok I can now breath and I’m not think­ing about work too much. But when you come to na­ture, it hap­pens in­stantly. Be­cause you can look at wa­ter for hours and not feel stressed. You can look at the for­est and an­i­mals and not feel stressed. This way you can con­nect with your body im­me­di­ately as op­posed to wait­ing to 5 days

to come down.

AJ: I feel like a lot of times you don’t have that many days off. So we try to do mind­ful­ness – just a cou­ple of min­utes a day and that usu­ally helps a lot. It’s also about eat­ing good food.

CH: Yeah just en­joy­ing and ap­pre­ci­at­ing eat­ing re­ally good food with peo­ple that you like. That’s also a lux­ury for me.

AJ: And ex­er­cise again. I mean you get so much en­dor­phins from do­ing that. I don’t even see the work­out as work as it’s just part of my rou­tine. When I have a day off, I can do it longer and not be stressed about go­ing some­place else. The worst thing is to be stressed in the gym as it breaks my heart. AM: How do guys pre­pare be­fore you hit the stage?

AJ: We drink cof­fee and lis­ten to mu­sic.

CH: We usu­ally, put on great mu­sic and get ready to­gether as we have to be in sync. We talk about what we are go­ing to fo­cus on dur­ing the per­for­mance ….

AJ: And­who we’re go­ing to be on stage.

CH: Yeah like dif­fer­ent per­son­al­i­ties

AJ: Some­times it’s David Bowie, some­times it’s Prince, Michael Jack­son – you name it and some­times it’s just me haha!

PHO­TOS COUR­TESY | Katie June Burton + Stephanie Noritz

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