- Published: Thursday, 10 July 2014 09:00
- Written by Lusan Chua
When the rooftop bars are packed, it’s time for the ultimate city escape: summer season in the Hamptons. For the uninitiated, it might seem as though Hamptonites arrive for the weekend bikini-ready. But if you intend to transition from renter to regular, it’s best to know how to keep in shape in between martinis at the Surf Lodge and late-night libations at Ruschmeyer’s.
Since this Long Island enclave attracts discerning clientele and A-list talent from NYC and LA it’s no wonder the Hamptons takes the term “boutique fitness” to another level. Whether you need a start-of-the-season bikini boost or you’re simply looking to maintain your flawless fitness regime while on a weekend getaway, the Hamptons has a workout for you.
SLT is taking New York’s tri-state area by storm, and the Hamptons studio—with its uplifting turquoise-colored walls and sparkling-clean equipment—is all geared up to transform bodies for its second summer season. “Slow is sexy!” SLT instructor Jessica Lynn yells enthusiastically above the latest Justin Timberlake track pulsating from the stereo speakers. SLT stands for Strengthen, Lengthen, and Tone, and that’s exactly the effect that this challenging Pilates Megaformer workout promises for your body. You’ll use slow, precise muscle movements (rather than relying on momentum) to whip off those diet-bending calories consumed at LT Burger. A typical class includes lunges, kicks, ab crunches, bicep curls, burpees, and planks—all using the resistance of the Pilates Megaformer and your own body. Your thighs will shake, your stomach muscles will ache, your triceps will burn, and your glutes will be on fire; it’s definitely a full-body, Pilates-cardio fusion workout, described by SLT CEO Amanda Freeman as “Pilates on crack.”
Hamptonites get their workout done before allowing themselves to dive into their roster of social activities for the day, because in the Hamptons, “exercise is a serious priority,” Amanda says. SLT tends to attract the hardcore (pardon the pun) who are serious about getting their abs ready for bare midriffs, but this studio can also be a great fit for new Pilates enthusiasts because it’s a mean workout without the “mean girls” attitude. The instructors are helpful and supportive; in my second SLT class, Aryn Lapenta, a seasoned instructor, made a point of giving words of positive affirmation: “only 10 seconds left, you can do it!” or “last exercise on this butt cheek, really work your glutes!”
Even Harvard MBA grad Amanda is approachable, despite her entrepreneurial credentials and hectic schedule. With SLT “Devotee” as part of her official corporate title, Amanda says her favorite SLT sculpting move is the “mermaid crunch” because this exercise highlights the unique ability of the Pilates Megaformer to effectively target the side obliques. Her go-to travel workout outfit? A pair of Nike pants, a sports bra from 15Love, and a James Perse plain T-shirt.
If you get hooked on SLT while in the Hamptons (like I did), you can soon feed your SLT habit in eight other locations—most recently, the elite commuter suburb Scarsdale. Amanda says SLT may also open a new studio in Philadelphia and hints at an additional “Southeastern” location; workout road warriors should stay tuned.
Insider’s tip: Classes fill up fast. For the weekend, reserve online at least 48 hours in advance to guarantee a spot. For a free trial class, try an SLT instructor trainee session; instructors go through a rigorous training that can last up to four months.
With high-profile bodies such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Madonna, and Jennifer Lopez on her client roster, celebrity trainer Tracy Anderson has gained a cult-like following as a multi-platform fitness/wellness entrepreneur and author. Membership at her studios in New York and Los Angeles caters to jet set elite who seek continuity in their fitness regime while flying from coast-to-coast. The Hamptons studio is the only location that offers one-time weekenders an opportunity to participate in this fitness phenomenon while on a getaway. I was invited as a Tracy Anderson Method-newbie to attend the multiTAsk band class: 30 minutes of mat-based band work and 30 minutes of band-based cardio to “soften impact and minimize bounce” and “tone and shed pounds at once.”
Tracy’s studio in Watermill, New York, is spacious, light-filled, and rustic beach cottage-chic. Her unique methodology involves large bands across the ceiling—red, blue and green, representing different levels of resistance for each color—designed to engage your accessory muscles and to “creat[e] balance where there is imbalance in the body.” For the mat-based portion of the workout, we did an intense, on-all-fours calf, hamstring, and glute workout with the resistance bands tied around one foot at a time. For the cardio segment, we did a dance workout while grasping the bands—alternating between one hand or two hands depending on the choreography—in various positions to target different muscle groups. Need some arm-sculpting sessions before rocking a strapless dress for this summer’s benefit galas? This is the workout for you.
The class is deliberately conducted with minimal verbal cues, according to Tracy’s philosophy. The music was up-beat hip-hop and pop current hits, and the instructor was bubbly, smiling, and motivating by example. By the end of the hour-long class, my arm muscles were quivering and I was drenched in sweat, but I’d had as much fun as going to a dance party.
Insider’s tip: The studio is heated so bringing plenty of water is recommended. Private sessions are available, and those devotees interested in taking it to the next level can attend the Hamptons-based ViTAlity Weeks for two-hour daily workouts, lectures, and Q&A sessions with the fitness guru herself.
For a core-ripping workout with the sun, sand, and water, head over to Three Mile Harbor in East Hampton and join the group of ladies (ranging from bikini-baring teens to LuLu Lemon-clad moms) who are gathered at the Shagwong Marina for Paddle Diva SUP and yoga lessons. From the dockside paddleboard racks, carry your specially-crafted-for-women SUP board into the shallow part of the harbor and begin by kneeling on the center of your board for balance. Once you venture into the deeper water, you’ll be paddling past speedboats and yachts, white-sand beaches, stately houses, and beautiful oak trees arching over the water. Enjoy the clear sky and serene calmness of the water and admire the herons gracefully regarding the scene like peaceful sentinels.
Besides the natural beauty of the harbor, part of the charm of a Paddle Diva day is hanging out with owner Gina Bradley, who is so friendly she should be called the “Anti-Diva.” Her fun, down-to-earth personality makes learning SUP non-intimidating and women-friendly. While she demonstrates a standard paddleboard move—dragging your paddle in the water backwards toward your fin—she cheekily refers to it as “The Diva 180,” transforming a routine turn-around into a fun girlie move.
Equally as inspiring is Hamptons yogi Jessica Bellofatto, founder and director of KamaDeva Yoga, who leads the SUP yoga class that is a beautiful blend of Jivamukti, Ashtanga, and Iyengar elements—all on the water. With your paddleboard moored in a circle with the rest of the group, you’ll start out in a seated meditation with the lapping of the water making a soothing sound like the ujjayi, or ocean, breath. You’ll warm up your body with some cat-cow poses, simple lunges, and planks to gain grounding and centeredness before moving into basic sun salutations. You may find Virabhadrasana (Warrior) II surprisingly difficult; it caused more than one yogi to fall with a good-natured splash into the water due to the need to have perfectly equal weight on the front and back of your board. In a true mind-body moment, you’ll also tackle some more balance-intensive asanas such as Vrksasana (Tree Pose) and even headstand.
There may also be the challenge of waves—ripples going through the water caused by a passing speedboat. Jessica may incorporate this movement into the practice by having you grip the sides of your board in Balasana (Child’s Pose); a great Paddle Diva metaphor for life’s challenges: Sometimes you need to take a break and hold on tight.
Insider’s tip: Wear light, non-cotton (quick-drying) clothing (such as workout pants/shorts and a light windbreaker), sunglasses, a hat, and plenty of sunscreen. To take home the Paddle Diva experience, order one of its custom-made paddleboards for women, which come in three different lengths and weigh only 18 to 19 pounds (versus the standard 20 to 29 pounds).
After Saturday night’s revelry in Montauk, you may have trouble making those Sunday 9 a.m. workout classes in Watermill. Skip the headache and the traffic; call Hamptons Health Concierge to bring fitness and wellness to your doorstep. Imagine being able to order an on-demand private training session, yoga class, or massage delivered directly to your Hamptons house or boutique hotel. You might schedule Hamptons Health Concierge-affiliated Marissa McNaughton to lead you in a dynamic yoga practice right on your terrace. Or if you’re looking for an intense one-on-one training session in your gym or your pool, Hamptons Health Concierge promises to deliver trainers that will offer a diverse mix of get-in-shape activities, such as TRX and cardio barre.
And after an intense weekend of fitness and fun, indulge in a relaxing deep tissue massage without the hassle of making a spa appointment. Hamptons Health Concierge founder Kim Brenon (or one of her team of masseuses) will transform your Hamptons spare room or hotel room into a mini-spa with a heated massage table and relaxing ambient music. You’ll be calmed by the scent of organic shea butter mixed with different essential oil blends depending on your needs (such as a combination of ginger, cayenne, and arnica for its warming effect on the muscles). Your overworked muscles will literally melt onto the table under Kim’s expert touch.
The qualities that make Kim a world-class masseuse are her no-nonsense professionalism combined with sheer strength and skill. And these are the very characteristics she seeks in all her wellness providers for Hamptons Health Concierge. Looking for a tennis pro? Need a nutrition consultation? After nearly a decade working in the local wellness industry, Kim has a broad base of knowledge, contacts, and resources at your disposal. That’s the beauty of Hamptons Health Concierge; it’s a one-stop-shop for holistic wellness brought directly to you.
Insider’s tip: Hamptons Heath Concierge could be the perfect resource for a girls’ getaway weekend or a bachelorette party—much easier than Uber-ing all the girls to a day spa.
Special thanks to four dynamic and interesting women entrepreneurs—Amanda Freeman, Tracy Anderson, Gina Bradley, and Kim Brenon—for inviting me to experience their unique Hamptons businesses.