Tag Archive | "exercise"

Ring in the New Year Right – and at a Discount – During Hamptons Wellness Week

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Wellnessweek2

The organizers of Hamptons Wellness Week enjoy a healthy sunset. (Jenna Raynell photo).

By Tessa Raebeck

While many fitness regimes focus on getting a toned butt, a flat stomach or losing an inordinate amount of pounds in an impossible amount of weeks, Kiley Sabatino and Anastasia Gavalas don’t want to help you simply ‘get thin,’ they want to empower you to change your life.

With New Year’s resolutions still ripe in our minds, many East End residents are striving to be healthier. This Sunday, Hamptons Wellness Week, organized by Sabatino and Gavalas, is offering dozens of heavily discounted fitness classes, lectures and other events to kick start a year of good health.

“It’s touching upon all the important aspects that we want,” said Gavalas of the event. “It’s not just a get-on-a-diet plan, not just a crash course on getting thin. It’s not about that, it’s really a holistic approach to mind, body and soul.”

Gavalas, who lives in Bridgehampton, is a family life teacher and the founder of the Wing It Project, a social arts project that benefits children’s organizations worldwide. After meeting Sabatino, the founder of OneHealthyHamptons.com, they came up with the idea for a full week devoted to the local wellness community.

“We basically looked at each other and said, ‘What can we do?’” said Gavalas.

Anastasia Gavalas with a pupil and the wing she made through the Wing It Project. (Photo provided by Gavalas).

Anastasia Gavalas with a pupil and the wing she made through the Wing It Project. (Photo provided by Gavalas).

“I just think it’s so unique out here,” said Sabatino. “The health and wellness community out here is so amazing, so I wanted to empower it.”

Dozens of local businesses are participating in the event, which kicks off with a sign-up Sunday at Hampton Coffee Company’s Experience Store in Southampton. People who sign up will receive a gift bag (for the first 50) and a program outlining the variety of things they can do during the week.

Participants can pay $25 for three vouchers or $35 for seven. The vouchers are good for classes throughout the East End at a variety of studios, gyms and fitness centers.

From Pilates to CrossFit, there is something for everyone. Men and women, children and seniors, fitness experts or beginners can all find a suitable class, attend a relevant lecture or at the very least, enjoy the pizza party at the week’s end.

“It’s for people that want to try new classes but are hesitant to go in there,” said Sabatino. “They can go with friends, feel more comfortable. People don’t want to spend $40 [on a fitness class]…this allows them to try it for $5.”

Eighteen local fitness centers from Montauk to Hampton Bays are participating, including five yoga studios, Studio 89 in Sag Harbor, Exceed in East Hampton, BodyTech and the Ed & Phyllis Davis Wellness Institute at Southampton Hospital, to name a few.

Hamptons Wellness Week takes ‘health’ a few steps further than working out; it incorporates lectures from life coaches and other wellness experts, as well as fun promotions like facials from White’s Pharmacy in East Hampton and consultations with local nutritionist Tapp Francke.

“By healthy,” said Sabatino, “I really mean balanced. So a good life, not very strict, having fun and taking advantage of the awesome activities and events and parties and everything going on in the community and kind of intertwining it into a balanced, good life.”

Each night, a different local expert will lecture on a topic of their choice, ranging from stress management to life coaching.

“Basically,” said Sabatino, “it’s what experts would like to communicate to the community. They’re all doing it for free and they’re all really excited about it.”

Hamptons Wellness Week co-founder Kiley Sabatino.

Hamptons Wellness Week co-founder Kiley Sabatino. (Jenna Raynell photo).

Gavalas, who has five children ranging in age from seven to 15, will present “Rebalance your Family in 2014” on Tuesday.

The wrap-up party Friday is at Fresh Hamptons, where kids and families can make pizzas with chef Todd Jacobs and cloth wings with Gavalas, as part of the Wing It Project. Cocktails and food tastings follow.

In addition to empowering locals to get healthy, Hamptons Wellness Week aims to give energy to local businesses that are slower this time of year.

“The whole point,” said Sabatino, “is to celebrate health and wellness in this community, to make it available to people who are here all year round.”

“It’s about making really good change — and realistic change — that will guide them throughout the year,” added Gavalas.

Hamptons Wellness Week is January 12 to 17. For more information and a full schedule of offerings, visit hamptonswellnessweek.com.

Studio 89 Fitness in Sag Harbor Unveils New Group Classes, Free During Opening Promotion

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Ashley Farrell works out at Studio 89 in Sag Harbor.

Trainer Ashley Farrell works out at Studio 89 in Sag Harbor.

By Tessa Raebeck

At Studio 89 Fitness in Sag Harbor, you can duke it out boxing, suspend mid-air in gravity training or crawl through the sand in a military-style outdoor obstacle course. This weekend, Studio 89 will further its already extensive exercise line-up with the unveiling of Studio 89 GX, a group fitness program offering a wide variety of exercise classes.

“For an individual facility, we’re offering the largest amount of classes on the East End and we have the largest space,” said Studio 89 founder and trainer Rich Decker. “So really, we’re going after it pretty aggressively.”

For the past three years, Studio 89 has catered to a high-end clientele as a private training facility, with its focus on one-on-one training and measurable results within an exclusive atmosphere. Noticing the growth in popularity of group classes at other local fitness centers, Decker saw an opportunity to expand Studio 89 with “a more community-oriented part of the facility.”

A 2,000 square foot addition will provide the space for Studio 89 GX to offer unlimited Ball, Bootcamp, Sculpt, Spin, Step, TRX, Yoga, Zumba classes, as well as five fitness classes designed by the Les Mills Group, an international organization that supplies workout facilities with varied workout programs, such as BodyCombat, a workout that incorporates kickboxing and Tai Chi, and BodyVive, which is more reflective of Yoga and Pilates programs. As with Studio 89, the emphasis at GX is on hard-earned, verifiable results.

“It’s not like a regular gym where you go work out, socialize and hang out,” said Decker. “It’s very much a results-oriented facility. They actually come to get work done.”

Classes will be taught by Studio 89’s instructors and supported by its state-of-the-art facility. Outside, “The Pit” is a 20,000 square foot sand pit with over 20 exercise stations, including a rope wall, rope climb and agility tires. According to Studio 89, it is “the only outdoor obstacle course in the Hamptons designed with military style bootcamp precision.” Inside, the space is open and airy, with lots of natural light coming in through windows and doors. Half of the building is devoted to private, training, while the other half will be reserved for the new group classes.

Starting at $365 for a limited time, purchasing a one-year membership allows you unlimited group fitness in any class, excluding spin and TRX. Any existing gym membership terms will be honored when members sign up for fitness classes. All classes are free during the opening promotion, from November 16 through December 1. Studio 89 GX plans to offer 40 to 50 classes each week.

With the motto, “U R The Machine,” Studio 89 uses personal attention, minimal equipment and innovative exercises to engage every muscle of the body and show clients just how much they’re capable of. The extensive and varied class options are designed to keep clients from getting bored and diverse exercises prevent the body from plateauing at a fitness level. Workouts are designed to be both challenging and fun, and Studio 89 GX promises fast results, said Decker.

“Health shouldn’t be a luxury – it should be a way of life,” says Decker, who is eager to expand his clientele by offering more affordable class programs. In January, Decker plans to unveil another Studio 89 location in Southampton. He expects to be in East Hampton by summer 2014. The new studios’ exact locations are not yet determined.

Studio 89 Fitness is located at 89 Clay Pit Road in Sag Harbor. Studio 89 GX is opening November 16, with free classes through December 1. For more information, call (631) 899-4310, email Studio89fitness@gmail.com or visit Studio89Fitness.com.

Doug Mercer

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Doug Mercer

By Claire Walla

A Conversation with Doug Mercer the proponent of fostering healthier eating habits on the East End who founded the Wellness Foundation in East Hampton in 2005. The organization will hold its first benefit later this month.

The Wellness Challenge promotes eating an all vegan diet for six weeks, eliminating meat and dairy. What’s the biggest problem with animal products?

It’s the cholesterol and the fat. Meat just doesn’t have the phytonutrients you need.

We don’t have anything around here that says, “We’re trying to crank-out vegans.” We focus on empowering people so they can maximize their wellness potential, so incremental improvements are also extremely important. With meat, it’s a function of the volume you’re consuming. Dr. [Antinia Fermin, a Wellness Foundation consultant and author of the book “Food Is Elementary”] says if you’re consuming 90 percent natural plant food you’re in reasonable shape.

Are you yourself strictly vegan?

No, I have fish a couple times a week and egg whites maybe once a week.

How many people have participated in the program thus far?

We’re up to about 500 people since [the Wellness Challenge began in earnest] in 2009. The average total cholesterol drop is about 35 points and weight loss is about nine pounds. But, even more importantly, there are other factors related to how you feel and how much energy you have, like [reduced] joint pain, headaches and upper respiratory congestion.

Do you know how many people actually stick with the program?

We don’t have any hard numbers on that, but that’s what we’re working on getting going forward.



What was your reason for making lifestyle changes yourself?

It was to avoid the strokes that caused my Dad’s early death. He was 62 when he had his first stroke. He basically turned into a vegetable.

What was your diet like at that point?

It was a standard American diet. Good, but far too much dairy and far too much meat. One of the things I noticed immediately after cutting out the dairy [in 1999] was it eliminated upper respiratory congestion. Chronic bronchitis had been a problem for me throughout my life.

Why did you decide to create the Wellness Foundation and introduce these lifestyle changes to others?

In 2005, the kids at the middle school in East Hampton had been boycotting the unhealthy food in their cafeteria. I thought, here’s how I can do something for my immediate community.

The Wellness Foundation focuses on a plant-based diet, exercise and the reduction of stress. Why this specific lifestyle?

I guess I knew that scientifically it would work — it was working for me. My major question was what its reception would be like here. In 2005, that was very much at the beginning of the current trend [in healthier eating]. In all honesty, we were just lucky. At this point, we actually have doctors participating and even recommending their patients take the Challenge.

The Wellness Foundation will be holding its first Benefit on June 30. Do you have a specific goal for the money you hope to raise?

To reach more people with the programs we already have in place. The first six years it was all my plan; I funded all the operations at that point. A year ago we started a community-based fundraising initiative and this is the first year we’ve had a benefit.

I imagine it’s pretty difficult for people to make some of the lifestyle changes the Wellness Challenge promotes.

Yeah, but I think it used to be more awkward. I used to feel more self-conscious about it, particularly around the guys. But, the options are better now. Our Wellness Challenge ‘W’ is on the menu in 22 local restaurants. And you can always eat from the side dishes, ask not to have white bread, order a salad with oil and vinegar on the side…

We’re really addressing the causes of degenerative diseases through lifestyle. This is a lifestyle change that really has to come from your gut. You have to do it yourself, which is really the American Way.


The first annual Wellness Foundation Summer Benefit will be June 30 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Mercer’s residence at 65 Dunemere Lane, overlooking Hook Pond in East Hampton Village. Tickets are $150 each and can be ordered at www.wfeh.org or by calling 329-2590. RSVP by June 16.