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Kari Saitowitz - Week of 10.27.13

Kari Saitowitz

Founder

The Fhitting Room

BCM - How did your life change when you became a mom?

Kari - How didn’t it change!?! For 30 years I was either a student or working at a Fortune 100 company and I was used to an environment where working hard led to success. I was independent, social and had the flexibility to be spontaneous. When I became a mom, all of a sudden, I found myself mostly at home feeding, washing, rocking, bathing and barely sleeping. When I wasn’t home, I was either pushing a baby stroller, running errands or completely exhausted at what was supposed to be a fun night out. Motherhood is hard work around the clock; spontaneity and independence pretty much flew out the door the day I became a mother. That being said, hearing one of my kids say “I love you” is the best reward and sure beats the pants off any performance bonus I ever earned!

BCM - What has/have been your most memorable moment(s) as a mom?

Kari -The first moment each of my sons was handed to me in the delivery room for the first time were the two most memorable moments of my life. I remember how my whole body just filled with overwhelming love and pride so immediately and powerfully. I have so many other memorable moments…

- The first time my older son got a stomach virus stands out; I picked him up out of his crib, and he projectile vomited across his bedroom. I was scared and overwhelmed and had no idea what to do first: care for him, clean the carpet, call the doctor, etc. I just froze and called my mother.

- We have special “family sleepover” nights occasionally that are just so delicious; vacations are a great time for the whole family to sleep together in one room; my husband and I also let the boys crash in our room at home if the other is out of town, and once or twice a year, we crash all four of us in one bed after a late night outing, usually to an evening sporting event. We come home, watch highlights of the game together and then fall asleep in a big sleep pile like the Croods.

- One of my (almost) daily favorite moments is the first eye contact exchange I make with my kids either from across a room, at school pick-up or from the sidelines of a playing field. Their faces beam with joy when they lock eyes with me, and I just love it.

- Last one…I just love watching my kids figure something out for themselves, whether it’s how to buckle their own seatbelt, write their name, tie a knot, read a new word, etc. Discovery is such an awesome thing to observe.

BCM - What has been the biggest challenge for you in motherhood. Any advice for new moms?

Kari - Self doubt and guilt are just endless. Letting go of feeling guilt, no matter how much or how little time I spend with my sons is a daily challenge, as is second-guessing my actions and decisions as a mother. My advice to new moms is to know that there are no right and wrong answers when it comes to motherhood. You need to make the decisions that optimize your happiness as long as your children are loved, safe and well cared for. A happy mother = a happy baby, but that may look different for every mother/child you meet. Now I just

need to keep telling myself the same thing. I need to forgive myself when I do something that makes me happy, even if sometimes that means I have to leave my children at dinner time and bedtime or if I’m not able to pick them up from school, it’s a work in progress.

BCM – Congratulations on the success of The Fhitting Room! What was your inspiration behind launching a boutique space dedicated to high-intensity workout training in a small class environment?

Kari - Thank you. I had been doing high intensity workouts with a

personal trainer since giving birth to my older son and my results were amazing. I was at my personal best physically and emotionally, I felt strong, resilient and empowered. At the same time, fitness boutiques were springing up all over and people were excited to go take “best-of” workouts at specialized studios. These studios offered great classes, entertaining instructors, beautiful and clean spaces and an opportunity to work out while having fun and socializing with friends and fellow exercisers. I saw friends drop big-box gym memberships to embrace fitness boutiques where they compared notes on daily workouts, instructors and fitness fashions. I couldn’t shake the feeling that there was an opportunity to deliver the awesome cross-training workouts I was doing in a boutique setting that would provide a more personalized experience and fantastic results. There were so many options for spin, yoga, pilates and barre classes, but yet a total dearth of boutique options for cross-training that embraces strength training. Strength training plays an essential role in boosting metabolism, reducing body fat and building muscle tone. When it comes to heart health and torching calories, the science behind the efficacy of high intensity intervals is significant.

At The Fhitting Room, class sizes are relatively small and our client-toinstructor

ratios are low because loaded strength exercises are part of every class and keeping people safe and providing personalized coaching are priorities. Our space is intimate not intimidating, the instructors and guest relations managers are friendly and approachable and put our clients first.

BCM– You only work out twice a week? Tell us about the days that you are NOT getting your "FHIX." What do you do to stay inspired and keep a healthy lifestyle every day?

Kari - First, I need to come clean…for 5+ years I worked out only twice a week, but now that I’m at The Fhitting Room and/or shopping NYC for instructor talent, I workout three times a week. On the other days, my muscles recover, and I get an extra hour to work or spend time with my kids. I try to walk places vs. taking taxis or public transportation. In fact, the ability to walk my kids to school and then walk to work is one of my favorite things about NYC. I try to take stairs vs. elevators and I play actively with my boys. Baseball, basketball and dance parties are regular living room activities in our house. Most of our picture frames no longer have glass in them, but we love living in NYC so I’m totally okay with it.

BCM –You have two young children, own The Fhitting Room and are opening up other locations. How do you manage your work/life balance?

Kari - I have dedicated time that I give to my kids and dedicated time I give to my business each day and then there’s lots of times when I’m multitasking (i.e., pitching baseballs to my kids while reading an email). I always try to take my kids to school in the morning and watch all (or close to all) of their after school / weekend activities. I try to make special coffee/milk dates a couple mornings a week with

my younger son and special ice cream dates a couple afternoons a week with my older son. At least one time a week we eat dinner as a family, including my husband, and I try not to miss bedtime more than a couple nights a week. The truth is, there are days when I am an awesome business woman and brand builder, and days when I’m an awesome mom. However, most days I don’t feel like I’m doing either as well as I’d like to, which brings me back to the guilt I mentioned above.

BCM - What are your favorite mommy and me activities? Any fun family “must do” New York City activities you can recommend to other moms?

Kari - When my kids were younger we did a ton of mommy and me classes together. Now that they’re older, I still love taking them to different activities and thoroughly enjoy my role as a cheerleader/spectator. The Baseball Center on the Upper West Side is one of my favorites. Bowling is a great family activity, although I prefer Lucky Strike (they have remarkably good sangria), my older son prefers Bowlmor Lanes in Times Square where there’s a Ben & Jerry’s on the same block. There’s a fun miniature golf course on Pier 25 in Tribeca. The Transit Museum is a great spot to hit in Brooklyn and it’s never too crowded. Victoria Gardens is a lot of fun in the summer time. Often times I find the best mommy-and-me activity is stopping for a fun snack so that we have a chance to talk to each other.

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FUN FACTS:

I’m totally obsessed with…

Kari -Talking sports stats and facts with my kids and finding fun new fitness wear.

My biggest influence is…

Kari - My gut and my Fhitting Room team.

Other influences: Julie Rice’s & Elizabeth Cutler’s masterminding of SoulCycle; my grandmother’s and mother’s strength and tenacity as matriarchs; my husband’s drive and business acumen.

My favorite drugstore buy is…

Kari -Johnson’s spray oil with aloe.

My guilty pleasure is...

Kari -Margaritas with lunch and ice cream - full fat, full sugar. Unlike my other vices, dark chocolate covered graham crackers from Starbucks are a daily guilty pleasure.

Favorite NYC activity …

Kari - Going to a Yankee game.

Favorite color?

Kari - Green, which is quite apparent at The Fhitting Room.

Favorite NYC Restaurant…

Kari - Too many to choose just one, but some of my favorites are Peter Luger, J.G Melon, Tipsy Parson, and Strip House.... A vegetarian, I am not.