K I M B E R L Y MC F E R R O N
Burn, Baby Burn. Kimberly is the Group Fitness Manager at Equinox 74th Street, and also the NYC lead for the EQX Barre Burn Signature program. #equinoxmademedoit
j first met Kimberly a few years ago when they were teaching barre at the same studio. Her energy mixed with her cueing, styling and innovation was an experience (makes sense that she's the Barre Burn lead at Equinox now!) With dancer roots, you could tell she just had it. Fast forward to her class today, and it's even more impressive, and just as effective. j sat down with Kimberly to dive a bit deeper into her class, her lovely little human + life in the BIG city.
I grew up in Salem, Oregon and started in dance which lead to summer musical theatre camps. My first role was as a lost boy in Peter Pan (strangely appropriate). From there, I developed a full blown love affair for performing and spent years running the gambit.
It was by a total fluke that I found barre.
I was taking a self prescribed time out from NYC and heading back to Portland for a short time. A performer friend from NYC told me about his friend in Portland who was teaching some sort of ballet exercise. So I looked her up and just popped into her class one night and said "Hi! Steven sent me!"
"After class, I had promised myself never to pick up another serving apron and I knew I needed to make money in a way that would keep me healthy and happy."
One thing led to another and before I knew it I was teaching barre!
I also got involved in Equinox through a friend. I was teaching for boutique studios outside the city and commuting on the daily and going crazy. I had a mom friend who had previously worked for Equinox (now has her own amazing Pilates business) and kept poking at me to pursue a job there. On a particularly bad commute day I finally snapped and told myself to get it together and get a job in the city. I followed up with the contacts at Equinox and they brought me right in!
I currently manage 47 instructors on the group fitness schedule at my club, and I manage 48 barre instructors throughout NYC. I also teach 10 classes a week.
That's a lot of instructors. There's so much competition in New York. What do you look for in an instructor?
It really is the “it” factor. There just has to be that something in your chemistry and your energy. The more open an instructor is in the way they connect to a room full of people, the more drawn in we will be.
"I also think brains are sexy as hell, so you have to know what you’re talking about. I love a good performer, but that’s why I go to the theatre. Talk anatomy to me in class, give me a mini-physiology lesson. That’s the kind of dirty talk that will keep me coming back for more."
(Our kind of girl!!!)
j took Kimberly's Barre Burn class and truly FELT IT. Everything that you'd expect from a traditional barre class was there- isometric holds, small range of motion and large, dynamic movements- but NO barre!? Add in a mat + equipment including weights, yoga block, and Body bar....
That's what I like to hear! I promised myself very early on that I would never teach the same class twice. When I get bored, my members will get bored. I am always playing around with fresh variations and cueing. I definitely have checkpoints as far as maintaining the flow of my class but within that I really work hard to make sure it is always a new experience. I love to keep my members on their toes-- literally and figuratively!
BARRE WITHOUT THE BARRE?
I love working without a barre. It's so much more of a balance challenge. Right now I'm loving single leg standing work on the block in tendu to the back. There are so many ways to play with the posture there and it KILLS on both sides. You can get some serious thigh work done while also working on hip rotation and adduction/abduction. It can also be really fun to finish a series in back attitude to seal the deal. I've also been having some fun lately with seated leg lifts and inner thigh work lying on your side. I try to always be finding new ways to target the same muscle groups. If something is successful in a standing posture, how can I take it onto the mat and make it work there? We always end up discovering new muscle groups when we get innovative with the same old postures.
The only choreography that gets repeated class to class is my warm up. Beyond that every class will be different. I have people that take me three and four days a week. I have people that travel the city just to take me on a regular basis. The last thing they need is repetition.
PLAY THAT FUNKY MUSIC.
Yes! Music is everything for an amazing class. I have been loving on Say Something (Karen Harding) and usually anything by Ellie Goulding. Spotify also has some really great playlists to pull from-- electroNOW and Fresh EDM are two of my go-to's. My UES members also love a good Top 40 playlist so we've been having some fun with Elle King and Clean Bandit.
BALANCE + MAMA LIFE.
just another fit mama making it happen. there's no other way. Is balance even possible?
Oh girl. Balance is a mirage. Sundays have become sacred in our house and we have a pact not to get on a train on Sundays. Sometimes we have to break that pact for ultra exciting plans, but most of the time we use it for a reset day. It's the only day we have the whole day together (Saturday mornings I have to drag her to my club which rarely goes well) so we map out our city plans for Saturday afternoons and Sundays are jammy days. Also known as 'Eggie Sundays.' We're big on breakfast foods in our house. Sometimes Sunday meals only consist of breakfast items.
We love to be outside and especially when the weather is nice we love a good hike. She's a bit of a lost boy as well, and would rather be climbing rocks than walking carved out trails. Then again there are also times where we spend all day in bed with movies and crafts and coloring books and games...
IN GOOD HEALTH.
When asked about staying healthy in New York..... Working full-time, commuting from club to club, running from school to work to meetings to clients to tap class to dinner to shows... Honestly, most of it is pre-planning my food. It's a huge game changer. I try to pack as much food as possible. There are so many amazing restaurants in the city but it's impossible to stay healthy when you're eating out all the time, unless you happen to work between Souen and Hu Kitchen (my two faves and NOWHERE near my club). I always have a bag of granola, and I usually get my booty at the Thursday farmers market in my neighborhood and use those veggies for the week. I try to do meal prep on Sunday nights to get my salads and quinoa bowls together for the days ahead. I have a mini fridge in my office where I stash piles of to-go containers. I'm not always at my club to eat, but if I'm off to a meeting I can always grab and go. I also try to stay on top of hydration by always having a water or tea next to me. I'm certainly not well rested enough for my adrenals and central nervous system to get their daily re-boot, but I think that's a foreign concept to anyone who lives and works in this city!
REMEDIES + PICK-ME-UPS.
It depends. I suppose on what's triggering the need for a pick-me-up. Silly as it sounds, WATER. Always. Yoga is great as well. Green tea. Pineapple. A quick steam. I've been known to power nap in the grass in Central Park on a busy work day... And most importantly: CHOCOLATE. Unless I'm hung over. In which case, the only pick me up is a burger and I'm not sorry.
Can we get an AMEN?!
Sign up for one of Kimberly's classes today. If you're not a member of Equinox, grab a guest pass and go. You won't be sorry!
j + e